The Court of Protection is an institution in London. It helps to look after individuals who lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves.
What is the Office of The Public Guardian – is it different to the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection and Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) are essentially the same institution. The difference between them is, the Court of Protection makes all the decisions and makes the orders on behalf of the person who lacks capacity and the Office of the Public Guardian handles administrative tasks. They work together, but have separate purposes.
When would the Court appoint a Deputy?
A Deputy is appointed when an individual’s affairs (financial or welfare) need to be looked after because that individual is no longer capable of making decisions for themselves.
How can you tell if someone has lost capacity?
Someone can lose their mental capacity in a variety of ways. The most common is dementia, although this can be at moderate or advanced stages. A person can also lack capacity if they have perhaps suffered a serious brain injury, they have severe cerebral palsy or they could suffer from severe post traumatic stress disorder.
In order for a Deputy to be appointed, it must be established that a client lacks the capacity to appoint an attorney for themselves under a Lasting Power of Attorney, this can be for either property and financial affairs or personal welfare decisions.
Ultimately, it is the Court of Protection who decide. A Solicitor will have to have a report on capacity prepared by a suitable GP or Consultant, following this, if the medical evidence states that person lacks capacity the Court of Protection will allow the application to proceed for the appointment of a Deputy for the person involved.
Who can be a Deputy?
Anyone over 18 can be someone’s Deputy. However, the Court want to ensure that the person being appointed is suitable and will act in that person’s best interests. An application may not succeed if the proposed Deputy has been declared bankrupt or has a criminal offence. However, every application is taken on a case to case basis and this won’t affect the application in all circumstances, he Court will have to consider the nature of the offence or the extent of the financial problems of the proposed Deputy.
Usually the Deputy will have a connection to the person who lacks capacity. It is usually a family member or close friend who is appointed as Deputy, or a professional such as a solicitor or local authority.
What does a Deputy do?
A Property and Affairs Deputy looks after someone’s financial affairs. This includes paying bills and taking over bank accounts. A Deputy can also apply to the Court of Protection to get permission to deal with big matters such as selling that person’s house. However, the Court of Protection at all times will consider what is in the person’s best interests.
Every year a Deputy has to provide a ‘Deputyship Report’ to the Court. This gives the Court information on decisions that the Deputy has made on that person’s behalf and also provides summary accounts for the Court to approve, showing all income and expenditures made on that person’s behalf.
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