Power of Attorney Deputies and the Court of Protection
If someone who needs help with their financial affairs or personal welfare lacks capacity and has not appointed an attorney, a deputy can be appointed by the Court of Protection. We explain how this works.
Acting without Power of Attorney
To set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), a donor must have sufficient mental capacity to understand and direct their financial affairs.
If they suffer from a progressive condition such as Alzheimer’s and have left it too late to complete and register an LPA application, one of their relatives needs to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their deputy.
There are two types of deputyship:
• Property and financial affairs
• Personal welfare (for making decisions about medical treatment and how someone is looked after)
Being a deputy
You can apply to be just one type of deputy or both. If you’re appointed, you’ll get a court order defining the scope of your powers. This then needs to be registered with each bank or financial institution, in the same way that an attorney registers a Power of Attorney.
When you send out an official copy of the Court order, ask for it to be returned. You can order extra copies for £5 each by writing to the Court of Protection.
If no relative is available to act as a deputy, the Court of Protection may appoint a professional, such as a solicitor or accountant. Professionals who act in this capacity are entitled to claim a fee.
Court fees and expenses
Applying to be a deputy is more expensive than applying for an LPA. The court fee is £400 and you may have other fees, including the cost of a solicitor if you use one to help prepare your application, plus an annual charge. The process takes much longer than applying for Power of Attorney and a medical report may be required.
As well as an application fee, deputies are obliged to pay an annual supervision fee to the Court. This can be £35 (if you are a financial deputy managing less than £21,000) or £320 if you are responsible for a larger amount.
You will also have to pay a £100 assessment fee.
If you are a deputy appointed by the Court of Protection you may be obliged to give an annual account of your actions. You must pay a bond to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to protect the finances of the person you’re a deputy for, in case you or someone else mismanages them. The cost of the bond varies according to the size of the estate concerned.
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