A Deputy Is Not Just in The Wild West
14 May 2014 by Diane Rudd
What is a Deputy?
Many people are aware that they can name a person or people of their choice as their attorney to deal with their finances and/or health and welfare, but what happens if a person needs to have finances and/or welfare decisions made for them but does not have the mental capacity to name such a person?
In such circumstances a Deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection. The Court is a distinct court with High Court Judges some circuit Judges and district Judges. It’s role is to protect the vulnerable. Unlike Magistrates, County and Criminal Courts the Court of Protection is not open to the general public and cases are often dealt with through correspondence.
If a person (“P”) lacks mental capacity an individual can apply to be a Deputy. There can sometimes be joint Deputies but these are rare. Financial Deputy applications are the most common, as the Court prefers to deal with welfare decisions on a case by case basis.
The Court has various powers and can:-
make a decision as to whether “P” has capacity to make a decision
make a declaration that a particular act done in relation to “P” is lawful
make a decision on behalf of “P”
appoint a Deputy to make decisions on behalf of “P”
A Deputy can be authorised to:-
control and manage the assets of “P” including buying and selling property
carry on behalf of “P” any profession trade or business including dissolving a business partnership and carrying out any contracts entered into by “P”
discharge the debts of “P”
completing a Will for “P” (under the specific instructions of the Court)
carry on litigation on behalf of “P”
The Court can delegate powers to the Deputy in the Court Order that it issues although some decisions have to be referred back to it. The “best interests” of “P” should be kept in mind at all times.