The Court of Protection is a specialist Court which deals with issues regarding people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
If a person can no longer make decisions for themselves regarding their property and financial affairs due to the loss of mental capacity, then an application can be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a 'Deputy' who, following an Order from the Court will be able to make decisions on that person's behalf. By the time a person has lost mental capacity, it is unfortunately too late to put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney.
The Court of Protection Deputy is usually a family member or close friend. Sometimes, it is appropriate to have a professional Deputy in place, such as a solicitor or an accountant. Holdens are happy to act as professional Deputies and currently act in this role for numerous clients.
Any Court of Protection Deputy must be over the age of eighteen.
As part of the process, medical evidence usually from a GP will need to be obtained to support the fact that the person no longer has mental capacity to be able to make decisions themselves.
It is also a requirement of the Court of Protection that certain family members are notified of the proceedings and given an opportunity to object if they wish. Any objections must be based on the list of potential legal objections prescribed by the Court.
Once the Court has considered and processed the application forms, and once an appropriate insurance bond has been put in place (in order to protect the person's assets from abuse), it will send out a formal Court Order legally appointing the Deputy and setting out their powers and duties. The Deputy must act in accordance with the Court Order and always act in the person's best interests.
Some of the tasks that a Deputy might undertake are:
- Managing bank accounts
- Paying bills
- Paying care fees
- Claiming benefits
- Filing tax returns
- Arranging investments
- Ensuring that the person has enough money for their day to day needs
- Selling property
Making an application to the Court of Protection can be a lengthy and time consuming process. Our specialist team can help you through the process from beginning to end.
For a consultation with a specialist Wills, Probate, Tax or Trusts Lawyer please call Holdens on 01524 32484 or contact us online.