When a person becomes mentally incapable of handling his own affairs, he is usually incapable of delegating responsibility to someone else. Consequently, unless provision has been made for such a situation (please see our note relating to lasting powers of attorney), the usual way to deal with the matter is to appoint another person to act, by way of an Order of the Court of Protection.
In what circumstances should an application be made?
An application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a deputy should be made when a person:
- Is mentally incapable
- Has not made an enduring power of attorney or a lasting power of attorney (and is mentally incapable of doing so)
- Has assets which need to be used or dealt with for his benefit, or need otherwise to be administered
Who may act as a deputy?
Any person may be considered by the Court. This may be a relative or friend or may be a professional person, such as a solicitor.
Where medical evidence has been provided (and there appear to be sufficient assets to warrant the appointment of a deputy) but there is no-one willing or able to apply, the Court may direct the Public Trustee to make an application.
Who may apply?
An application for the appointment of a deputy, although usually made by a close relative, may be made by anyone who is concerned about the finances of a mentally incapable person. The person making the application may apply to be appointed himself or for someone else to be appointed.
Costs and procedure
Solicitors’ costs in dealing with such an application will usually be met from the incapacitated person’s funds. Most applications are dealt with by post.