One of the most common health issues of the ageing population in the UK is dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society 2014 updated report advised that;The total number of people with dementia in the UK will be 850,000 by 2015 and forecast to increase to over 1 million by 2025 and over 2 million by 2051.
With the first wave of baby-boomers reaching their 70s in 2015 more and more people will have relatives or friends that may suffer from health conditions, such as dementia, that could affect their ability to make significant decisions about their money or property.
When will you need the Court of Protection
Some people may have made plans for their future and arranged a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) for when they are unable to make their own decisions. However, when a person with dementia or any other incapacitating illness has not already made provisions for their personal affairs or medical treatment a relative or friend will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy to make decisions on their behalf.
Who can request permission to be a deputy?
A deputy must be at least 18 years old to be appointed by the Court of Protection and is usually a relative or friend of the person who lacks the mental or physical ability to manage their own affairs or medical treatment. However, there are circumstances where a professional such as a solicitor, accountant or other professional individual is appointed by the court. The fee for a professional deputy is usually paid for by the the incapacitated person or from their estate.
To avoid a conflict of interest, paid carers are usually not permitted to act as a deputy, unless there are unavoidable circumstances, such as the carer is a close relative or friend of the person who lacks the capacity.
Although there are two types of deputyship; property and affairs, and personal welfare, the most common application to the court is for property and affairs deputyship.
Property and affairs deputyship.
The court will only appoint a deputy when the person who lacks the capacity to manage their financial affairs has not appointed an attorney.
If you need to make an application to become a property and affairs deputy you will need to sign a declaration and show the court you are competent and can manage the duties and tasks required of a deputy. You will also need to demonstrate to the court that you do not have any financial issues or health problems that may compromise your appointment.
Personal welfare deputyship.
Less common is the personal welfare deputyship, which the Court of Protection only appoints in extreme circumstances when decisions about regular treatment or supervision is required for a person’s welfare and health.
How to apply for a deputyship.
To apply for a deputyship you will be required to complete various forms and provide a doctors certificate that certifies the person cannot make decisions for themselves or is unable to practically manage their own affairs or health. Furthermore it will be important you understand which powers you are applying for; e.g. to manage their finances or to manage their medical treatment or to manage other aspects of their personal affairs.