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Appointing a Deputy

 

Appointing a Deputy 

A deputy is appointed when a vulnerable adult is unable to make decisions for themselves owing to their incapacity. 

If someone lacks sufficient mental capacity to make a lasting power of attorney and they have finances or financial decisions to make an application should be made to the court of protection to appoint a deputy.

From the courts perspective the person lacking capacity is often known as P which stands for patient. 

The courts take the view that family members may be the best people to choose as deputies if they are available and suitable. In the case of Re P [2010] EWHC 1592 (Fam) the judge said -

“…the court ought to start from the position that, where family members offer themselves as deputies, then, in the absence of family dispute or other evidence that raises queries as to their willingness or capacity to carry out those functions, the court ought to approach such an application with considerable openness and sympathy.”

If there is no one available or suitable one of our partners at Craybeck Law, Ron Hiller who is a professional deputy can be appointed. Ron has considerable experience as a professional deputy and is very much a hands-on deputy.

When to appoint a Deputy 

Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice at 8.34 it is recognised there are certain times when a deputy should be appointed on behalf of a vulnerable adult to make specific decisions for them. It will however depend on:

  • the individual circumstances of the person concerned 
  • whether future or ongoing decisions are likely to be necessary, and 
  • whether the appointment is for decisions about property and affairs or personal welfare.

Cannot make a Lasting Power of Attorney 

Sometimes it arises there is a need to have someone appointed to look after and make decisions on behalf of someone who now lacks mental capacity.

Many people get to a point in their lives when I think about making a will. At the same time they really should think about making a lasting power of attorney. A lasting power of attorney appoints someone who knows them well and they trust to make decisions for them. The starting point for making a lasting power of attorney is that the maker must have sufficient understanding of mental capacity.

There are many reasons why someone may lack mental capacity. What is often seen is that as someone becomes more unable to make decisions for themselves their understanding appears to fluctuate. Ideally if there are concerns the person should have considered making a lasting power of attorney before they get to this point. In real terms this does not always happen. If someone does like mental capacity and they cannot make a lasting power of attorney and they have financial decisions to be made a deputy should be appointed.

One of the partners at Craybeck Law, Craig Ward wrote the Law Society's textbook on Lasting Powers of Attorney now in its 4th edition. If you would like to speak to Craig about making a Lasting Power of Attorney please call him on 0800 254 5262.

Being a Deputy 

When someone becomes a deputy, that person must act and make decisions in the vulnerable adult’s best interests. They must have regard for the Mental Capacity Act’s Code of Practice. They are also obliged to act with reasonable care when making decisions for a vulnerable adult.

Contact Craybeck Law now on 0800 254 5262 to find out about making a deputy application.

 

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