A Deputyship Order is very similar to a Lasting Power of Attorney in that it allows an appointed person (a Deputy) to act on your behalf if your are unable to make your own decisions, for example, if you have a serious brain injury or dementia. This is called losing capacity.
If you lose capacity and you do not have a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney then the only way a loved one can act and make decisions on your behalf is to obtain a Deputyship Order from the Court of Protection.
Types of Deputy
There are two different types of deputy, one person can be both if necessary:
1. A Property and Affairs Deputy: A property affairs deputy is the most common form of deputy and deals with the person’s financial affairs. They do things like pay the person’s bills or organise their pension.
2. Personal Welfare Deputy:, The Personal Welfare Deputy is for when a person lacks the capacity to make decisions regarding their care and treatment. They will make decisions about medical treatment and how someone is looked after.
How does your Deputy apply?
The first thing your deputy needs to do is to obtain verification that you have lost capacity. This can either be obtained through your doctor or a social worker.
Your deputy will then need to submit an application to the Court of Protection. The application process involves providing the court with detailed information about the circumstances and finances of the person who has lost capacity.
Your deputy will need complete the following forms:
· main application form (COP1)
· Annex A: supporting information for property and affairs (COP1A)
· Annex B: supporting information for personal welfare applications (COP1B)
· Assessment of Capacity (COP3)
· Deputy’s Declaration (COP4). This will outline your circumstances. You must be able to assure the court that you have the skills, knowledge and commitment to carry them out.
This is a minimum of 44 pages of forms to complete in just the initial application. It will be more if your deputy is applying to become a deputy for both property and welfare.
How much does it cost to apply?
Obtaining a deputyship order is costly and can be very time consuming and stressful for your family.
A professional may need to be appointed to carry out a mental capacity assessment. The average cost is around £300 but can be upwards of £600.
An application fee of £365 is payable to the Court of Protection. This doubles if your deputy wants to be appointed as both a property and welfare deputy.
If the court decides your case needs a hearing, a fee of £485 per hearing will be payable.
After your deputy has been appointed they must pay an annual supervision fee of £320.
New deputies will also need to pay an assessment fee of £100.
Your deputy will also need to pay a security bond to the court. The bond is there to safeguard the assets of the individual who lacks capacity. It is an insurance policy, just in case your deputy does something wrong. The bond amount varies depending on the size of the estate but the average cost is around £500. This must be paid each year.
So lets do the maths…
The total cost in the first year for your deputy is around £2,070.
And each year thereafter is around £820
This is assuming they have not appointed a legal representative to help them. Legal fees for a deputyship order are likely to be well over £1,000!
How long does it take?
The timescale of the application varies greatly from person to person however, the usual timescale would be 3 months. This is from the day that the application is received by the Court.
Remember, whilst an application is being processed your deputy has no authority to deal with your affairs meaning that they may have to pay any of your expenses such as your weekly shop or care fees out of pocket until they are able to access your bank accounts.
How do I prevent my family needing to go through all of this?
You can make and register your Lasting Powers of Attorney as long as you have capacity. Once they are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian they are ready to be used straight away. So, if the worst should happen the Lasting Powers of Attorney are ready to be used straight away.
To have your Lasting Power of Attorney professionally drafted by Alvechurch Legal Services costs as little as £420 for both the Property and Finance and Health and Welfare . This includes an appointment with a legal specialist who will discuss your circumstances in detail, explain your options and professionally draft an LPA that is tailored to your needs. This will also include all correspondence to register the LPA.
To activate your LPA it needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. A registration fee of £82 will be charged for this. If you are putting both types of LPA in place this fee will need to be paid twice. The fee may be reduced if your annual income is less than £12,000.
There are no on going fees with Lasting Powers of Attorney, once they are registered, that is it!
To read more about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please click here.
Deputyship Orders are costly and stressful for your family. The only way to prevent a Deputyship Order being necessary if capacity is lost is to make sure you have Lasting Powers of Attorney.
You never know what is round the corner. Is it worth spending a few hundred pounds now to potentially save thousands in the future and more importantly have the peace of mind knowing that everything is on order.
The real cost of Lasting Powers of Attorney- Priceless.