Solicitors in Essex & London
To become a Deputy, it is necessary to make an application to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order. This process involves sending detailed information about the circumstances and finances of the person who lacks the mental capacity to the court. Unless anyone objects to the application, there is no need to attend the court as the entire process can be dealt with through the post. Our solicitors in Essex and London have significant experience in assisting in applications to become a Deputy.
The initial application and all subsequent communication with the court must be made in the required format using the prescribed court forms.
The starting point when preparing the court application is to obtain a written report from a doctor or other suitably qualified person confirming that the person to whom the application relates is unable to independently manage their property and financial affairs. The court will not consider a deputyship application without this. The medical report must be prepared in accordance with the court’s strict requirements.
In addition to sending a medical report, the applicant also needs to prepare a detailed financial summary about the person to whom the application relates. This will need to include details of income, asset valuations, liabilities and ongoing costs of living.
The applicant will need to explain to the court why it is in the best interests of the person to whom the application relates to have a deputy appointed. In addition, the applicant will need to formally declare to the court their suitability to act as a deputy and undertake to carry out their duties strictly in accordance with the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Once the application has been filed with the court, it will be issued. In practice, this means that the court acknowledges receipt of the application and then sets out further directions that the deputy must carry out before the application can move to the next stage of receiving judicial attention. At the stage of the application being issued by the court, the applicant will be required to serve a copy of the application on any respondents named in the application (or named by the court). In virtually all cases, the applicant will also be required to personally serve notice of the application on the person to whom the application relates notwithstanding that the person in question may not understand what is being explained to them. It may also be necessary to notify other people. The applicant will then be required to notify the court in the required format that those directions have been complied with. This process is subject to strict time deadlines laid down by the court.
Once the court has received notification by the applicant that the directions have been complied with, the application will be referred to a Judge or Court Officer for further consideration. Subject to any further questions the court may have, the deputyship order will be made and sent to the Deputy.
Typically, the court will take three months to process a deputyship application. Once the deputyship order has been made, the newly appointed Deputy acts with immediate effect under the supervision of the Office of the Public Guardian.
A court fee of £400 is payable by the applicant when sending the initial application to the court. The applicant is able to recover this expense once the deputyship order has been made and access has been gained to money belonging to the person to whom the application relates. If the person to whom the application relates is in receipt of certain state benefits, the court may accept a reduced fee or waive the fee altogether. The applicant will need to provide the court with documentary evidence of receipt of those state benefits.
Prior to the deputyship order being released by the court, the applicant is required to put a security bond in place with a specialist insurance company. This is a mandatory requirement for all deputies and is renewable each year on the annual anniversary of the deputyship order. The purpose of the security bond is to provide insurance cover against any future financial loss as a result of the deputy’s negligence or fraud. The initial premium must be paid by the applicant and again is recoverable by the deputy. The level of premium payable is calculated based on the value and nature of the assets that are managed by the deputy.
Once the newly appointed Deputy has received the deputyship order, a one-off appointment fee of £100 and a further annual administration fee up to a maximum of £320 is payable to the Office of the Public Guardian. The administration fee is payable in arrears on the 31 March each year. For the first year of a deputyship, the annual administration fee is calculated on a pro-rata basis.