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An older person smiling into the camera and holding a cup of tea; our Deputyship Solicitors in Preston discuss Deputyship Orders, what they are, and when they can be needed.
When your loved one has lost capacity and they are no longer able to make decisions themselves, attempting to navigate the complexities of managing their affairs can be a daunting and stressful task. In situations where your loved one has not put in place valid Lasting Powers of Attorney, and they become unable to make their own decisions, a Deputyship Order will usually be required to give you the legal authority to act on their behalf. In this article, Naomi, expert Deputyship Solicitor in Preston and over 35 years’ qualified, explains what a Deputyship Order is, the importance of one, and the process involved with obtaining an Order from the Court of Protection. 

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What are Deputyship Orders? 

A Deputyship Order is a Court Order, giving legal authority to the appointed person or people, known as a “deputy” or “deputies” to make decisions on behalf of someone who lacks the mental capacity to make those decisions themselves. This lack of capacity could be due to conditions such as dementia, severe brain injury, or other medical conditions, whether permanent or potentially temporary. The Deputyship Order is issued by the Court of Protection in England and Wales. 

What types of Deputyship Orders are available? 

There are two main types of Deputyship Orders, reflecting the different areas of decision-making they cover: 

Property and Financial Affairs 

This type of order allows the deputy to manage the financial affairs of the person who lacks capacity. Tasks can include paying bills, managing bank accounts, and, with specific permission, handling property transactions. 

Personal Welfare 

This order covers decisions about the person’s healthcare and personal welfare, such as medical treatment and living arrangements. However, such orders are less commonly granted, as the Court of Protection prefers to make decisions on welfare matters only as they arise, rather than giving a blanket authority for a person to make such decisions. 

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What is the Importance of a Deputyship Order? 

Without a Deputyship Order or a valid Lasting Power of Attorney, there is no legal authority for someone to act on behalf of a person who lacks capacity. This can make it challenging to manage their financial affairs, ensure their bills are paid, or make necessary healthcare decisions. Our Deputyship Solicitors in Preston would explain that a Deputyship Order provides a clear legal authority, in the form of a Court Order, ensuring that the person’s needs are met and that decisions are made in their best interest. 

How to apply for a Deputyship Order 

The process of obtaining a Deputyship Order involves several steps: 

Assessment of Capacity 

The first step our Deputyship Solicitors in Preston would recommend is having the capacity of the person assessed, to obtain evidence as to their lack of ability to make decisions before proceeding any further with the application. Not only is this a requirement of the Court, but if the person indeed still has capacity, they may be able to make Lasting Powers of Attorney instead, which is usually a much cheaper process. 

Notifications 

As part of the Court process, certain family members and interested parties must be notified of the application, giving them an opportunity to raise any issues, object, or provide their input. The people notified should return their completed form, with comments, to be sent to the Court with the application. In addition, even though they lack capacity, the person the application relates to must be notified of the application, and be given the chance to respond. 

Application 

The Deputyship Solicitor can then submit the application to the Court. The application includes detailed information about the person’s condition, the proposed deputy’s suitability, and the reasons why the order is necessary. As of 2024, professionals, such as our Deputyship Solicitors in Preston, make applications using an online portal, with paper applications expected to be phased out shortly. This is said to be quicker than the traditional paper route, with the Court estimating these applications could be dealt with in as quickly as 6 weeks, compared to the 6 to 12 months our Deputyship Solicitors experience with paper applications. 

Court Decision 

The Court of Protection will review the application, and if satisfied, will issue the Deputyship Order, granting the applicant the authority to act as a deputy. The Court will usually require payment of a bond (like an insurance policy), before the Order can be granted. 

What are the responsibilities of a Deputy? 

Being appointed as a deputy carries significant responsibilities. Deputies must always act in the best interest of the person they are representing, make decisions within the scope of their authority, and manage finances and property carefully and responsibly. They are also required to keep detailed records and report to the Court of Protection, usually via the Office of the Public Guardian, regularly, accounting to the Court for any discrepancies. 
A Deputyship Order plays a critical role in ensuring that individuals who lack mental capacity have their affairs managed by a trusted individual or individuals. The process of obtaining a Deputyship Order can be complex and requires a thorough understanding of legal obligations. For those considering applying to become a deputy, seeking legal advice from Deputyship Solicitors in Preston can help to proceed with the application process effectively. Ultimately, the deputyship framework exists to protect the most vulnerable in society, ensuring their interests are safeguarded, when they have not taken the opportunity themselves of appointing trusted people under their Lasting Powers of Attorney. 
 
To speak with our Deputyship Solicitors in Preston about applying to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your loved one’s Deputy, contact our team on 01772 783314, or use the contact us form above for a call back within one working hour. Don’t take a chance with your loved one’s finances, seek expert legal advice from Deputyship Solicitors, and ensure your loved one’s affairs are in the best hands. 

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Or give us a call on 01772 783314. 

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