The UK Court of Protection enables 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 have a family member, friend, a neighbor or any individual 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.
Someone sometimes 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 situ 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.
Within the Mental Capacity Act it is stated 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.
Occasionally, 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 feel they lack the capacity to make that decision, then you should assess their capacity.
The person’s family GP or a 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.
On occasions, 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 care for someone or know 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 that are made can have a major impact on the person who lacks capacity. Therefore, you should always:-
We have experts within the firm who can 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.
How do I make an application to the Court of Protection?
If someone close to you has not made an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney and is not mentally capable you will need to apply to the Court of Protection if you need to manage their financial affairs on their behalf or make certain welfare decisions. There are various forms and paperwork that need to be completed, which contain comprehensive details of the person concerned, including their personal background and all their financial information and it will also ask you for information about yourself. Their doctor will also need to complete a specific form of medical report.
What is the average time that an application to the Court of Protection takes?
Generally this is not a quick process and if you do need to apply it is best to do so as soon as possible.
Who will I need to notify that I am making the application?
This is usually based on what the doctor says in their report, and you will generally need to advise the person whose finances you will be managing know what is going on through a formal letter that you hand to them, although they may not understand it. It is also necessaryd to notify anyone with a relationship equal to or closer to the patient than you and anyone else you feel should be notified. There are formal letters that you send to all these people.
How much will it cost me?
The fees for applying to the Court of Protection are expensive, however the fees are eventually taken from the person concerned’s money rather than your own. Due to the complex paperwork most people feel they need help from a solicitor, which the person concerned will need to pay for and there are also Court of Protection fees, a fee paid to the doctor for the medical report and a fee to be paid for what is known as a security bond. Even in the simplest cases, the fees are usually over £1,000 in total and in a lot of cases they will be more than that.
Why should I make an application to the Court of Protection?
If you need to be able to access the patient’s money in order to maintain them and there is no Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney, then unless the money is all held in joint bank accounts you probably have no choice but to make the application.
For further information about making an application to the Court of Protection or on Wills and Probate please either Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone: Fulham/Chelsea office: 020 7228 2020 or Knightsbridge Office: 020 7095 0930