The Court of Protection makes decisions in relation to the finance, property, affairs, healthcare and personal welfare of adults who lack the capacity to make their own decisions.
If you know a family member, friend, neighbour or anyone whom you think is having difficulties in making decisions about their own affairs, they may need someone to be appointed to make these decisions on their behalf.
If someone has already had drawn up a Lasting Power of Attorney (or possibly an Enduring Power of Attorney) to deal with their Property & Financial Affairs, or to deal with their Health & Welfare issues, then their appointed attorney or attorney will usually be able to continue to manage their affairs.
However, if there are no Lasting Powers of Attorney in place someone will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as the Deputy for the person who has lost their mental capacity.
The Mental Capacity Act states that every adult should be assumed to have capacity to make a particular decision unless it is established that they lack capacity to do so.
Sometimes, even if a person is finding it difficult to make a decision, with the appropriate help and support they may have the capacity to make it.
If you reasonably believe they lack the capacity to make that decision, then you should assess their capacity.
The person’s family doctor would probably be able to assist you in determining this, as you would not be expected to be an expert in making such an assessment.
An application to the Court may be necessary for particularly difficult decisions, disagreements that cannot be resolved, or possibly situations where ongoing personal welfare decisions must be made about someone who lacks capacity.
If you know or care for someone who is having difficulties making decisions about their personal health, finance or welfare, you may need to apply to the Court of Protection so that you (or someone else) can be appointed their Deputy to make decisions for them.
The Deputy, who can be a family member or friend, will deal with the affairs of the person who has lost capacity under the supervision of the Court of Protection. The Deputy order from the Court of Protection will set out the extents of the Deputy’s powers. It may relate to finances, personal welfare, or both.
When acting as their Deputy, the decisions you make can have a major impact on the person who lacks capacity. Therefore, you should always:-
- Make decisions in the best interests of the person concerned
- Only make decisions you are authorised to make by the order of the Court
- Liaise with the person concerned as much as is possible
- Keep accounts and report at regular intervals to the Court of Protection
We have a dedicated team to deal with applications to the Court of Protection for Deputyship orders and other matters. If you need to take over the affairs of a family member or close friend, contact us for assistance.