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A guide to Deputyship

View profile for Kelly Knight
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What to expect if you take on the role of a Court of Protection Deputy for property and affairs.

If a member of your family has been affected by a brain injury, they may not be able to make important decisions about the way they live their life. They will need someone to manage their finances and treatment plans and will need help with a host of everyday challenges.

A Deputy is appointed by the Court to make decisions for anyone who is unable to make those decisions themselves. Deputies play an important role in the care of people whose lives have been affected by brain injury.

Known as Property and Affairs Deputies, they deal primarily with financial matters but their support can be more wide-ranging than that.

Deputies work closely with healthcare professionals, solicitors, case managers, family members and friends to ensure that the needs of the person they are responsible for are fully met. They can also liaise with social services and local authorities.

Deputies support the work that families and their case managers do — ensuring that people affected by brain injury get the best and most cost-effective rehabilitation and receive tailor-made support so they can have the best possible quality of life.

A deputy can be a relative or friend (sometimes called a ‘lay deputy’) or someone professionally appointed, like a solicitor.

 

Where does my authority to act as a Deputy come from?

It comes from the Court of Protection – a specialist Court that deals with the affairs of people who lack capacity to make some or all of their own decisions.

The Court makes the Order appointing the Deputy; the Order is personal to you and the person you represent. Your authority also comes from the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (the Act). The Act has a Code of Practice (the Code). The Act and the Code underpin everything you will do as Deputy.

 

When I am Deputy, do I make all of the decisions which are needed in relation to a person’s property and affairs?

Not necessarily. These are the benchmarks for decision making as set out in the Act:

  • Every adult has the right to make their own decisions and you must start by assuming that the person you represent is capable of making a decision unless it can be shown otherwise.
  • The person you represent must be given all the appropriate help available to make their own decision before they are considered unable to make that decision for themselves.
  • The person you represent has the right to make an unwise decision, including decisions that others may consider eccentric.
  • If the person you represent is unable to make a decision and you have to make it for them, the decision must be in their best interests.
  • If you have to take a decision or action, you must do so in a way which is the least restrictive.

You will also need to:

  • Take account of the guidance in the Code that is relevant to the situation.
  • Fulfil your duties towards the person concerned, in particular the duty of care that the Court has placed upon you.

 

Are there any decisions I should not or cannot make?

Yes. You cannot make a decision that is:

  • Outside the authority given in your Court Order. If your Deputy Order does not permit you to make the sort of decision you need to make, you can apply to the Court for variation of the Order.
  • A refusal of the provision or continuation of life sustaining treatment.
  • A consent to marriage, civil partnership or divorce.

And as you will have read earlier you must not make a decision if you believe the person has capacity to make that particular decision for themselves.

 

Do I have to make any commitments or promises to the Court?

Yes - you will have to sign a Declaration (form COP4) giving details of your circumstances and your ability to manage financial matters. We suggest you read through this Declaration as it will give you a good indication of the skillsand commitment you will need to have.

 

What sort of things will I have to do to manage the person’s property and affairs?

It will depend upon the assets to be managed but most

Deputies will need to:

  • Keep accounts of all their dealings and transactions and submit these to the Public Guardian every year.
  • Keep the money and property of the person they represent separate from their own or anyone else’s finances.
  • Ensure that the person’s tax affairs are kept up-todate and that the tax is paid on time.
  • Claim the appropriate state benefits and other statutory funding.
  • Arrange to take regular advice on the investment of funds and act on that advice.
  • Devise and follow a budget which is appropriate, taking account of the person’s needs and the value of their funds.
  • Pay bills and monitor cash flow.
  • Purchase or rent appropriate accommodation and/or equipment.
  • Arrange all necessary insurance to an adequate level and deal with any claims.
  • Arrange any necessary property alterations/ adaptations and ensure that any property is adequately maintained and repaired.
  • Appoint a case manager and recruit a care team if appropriate.
  • Deal with employment issues arising out of direct employment.
  • Liaise with others including family, friends and professionals.

 

Are there any safety measures in place to make sure I do my job properly?

Yes. The Court may require:

  • A Deputy to provide some form of security, for example, a guarantee bond. This would cover any loss as a result of your behaviour. The Court determines the level of security.
  • A Deputy to provide regular reports and accounts to the Public Guardian who supervise Deputies Supervision can also include providing ongoing support and a Court Visitor checking how the Deputyship is being managed

 

 

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