lasting power of attorney

Court of Protection application for Deputyship – Case Study

Court of Protection application for Deputyship – Case Study

Introduction

The following case study shows how an application to the Court of Protection for an order appointing a relative as Deputy for Property and Financial Affairs works in practice and how this can benefit both the person lacking capacity and their family.

 

Background

James and Diane had been married for 40 years and during that time James always took the lead on managing the couple’s finances. Most of their money that was considered by them to be joint money was in fact in James’ name. Unfortunately James started to experience problems with his memory and a diagnosis of a form of dementia was made. James and Diane had not previously considered making Lasting Powers of Attorney and unfortunately when John’s condition worsened and he was no longer able to recall sufficient information to manage the household finances, this was no longer an option.

 

How Did Humphries Kirk Help?

Diane and her daughter Kate came to see Chris at Humphries Kirk for advice and guidance.

Diane and Kate explained that James had short term memory issues as a result of his condition and that in their opinion there were good days and bad days. James would sometimes seem his old self and at other times struggled to recall recent events. Diane was finding it difficult to take over the household finances and had been told by their bank that they were unable to assist her as James was the sole account holder and no Lasting Power of Attorney was in place. In addition, it was possible that James’ long term care needs would have to be considered and Diane did not know how this would be paid for.

Chris explained the nature and purpose of the Court of Protection and assured Diane and Kate that although a Lasting Power of Attorney was not in place, an application to the Court of Protection for either of Diane or Kate (or both) remained an option to be able to access James’ finances. He explained that the Deputyship route was the most appropriate and explained to them the need to prove to the Court that they would act in the best interests of James. Chris explained that there was a £400 Court fee payable and that this could be claimed from James’ finances

Chris advised Kate and Diane on the procedure for applying to the Court of Protection and the likely timescales to lead to an order. He advised them to consider whether Diane should apply to become James’ Deputy, or whether both Diane and Kate should apply. Chris advised that the timescales to obtain a Deputyship order can extend to 6 months, and therefore if anything should happen to Diane after the order was granted, then Kate would also have to repeat the application procedure.

He further explained that there are practical steps that would need to be taken with regard to utility providers and other creditors where bills were usually paid from James’ own account.

Diane and Kate were advised that unlike a Lasting Power of Attorney where James would have been able to appoint them directly, it would be a Judge at the Court of Protection that would review the application and consider whether Diane and/or Kate were suitable people to be appointed to manage James’ affairs. This would be decided based on the accuracy of the information provided and statements that would need to be disclosed to the Court from either or both of them proving to the Court that they would act in James’ best interests.

It was therefore very important to ensure that detailed information relating to James’ finances and property was submitted to the Court to maximise the chances of an appointment being granted.

 

What Happened Next

Diane and Kate instructed Chris to assist them in applying to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order in respect of James’ Property and Financial Affairs.

Chris liaised with James’ GP and asked for a report on James’ medical condition to provide medical evidence to the Court that James was unable to manage his own financial affairs. The GP felt unable to assist but Chris was able to source a Consultant Psychiatrist who was happy to prepare a report for the Court.

Kate and Diane considered whether they should both apply for Deputyship and it was agreed that they would apply to be appointed on a joint and several basis so that if Diane was ever unable to manage James’ affairs then Kate would be able to assist without the need for a further order.

Chris worked with Kate and Diane to build up a file of information in relation to James’ financial affairs, pointing out where insufficient information was supplied and where further detail would be needed.

He then drafted the papers required and met with Kate and Diane to ensure that the paperwork gave them the best chance of being appointed as James’ Deputies. On approval of the application, Chris issued the application with the Court of Protection.

The Court acknowledged the application and Chris then provided required notice to close family members and gave further advice for Kate and Diane to provide notice to James.

The Court of Protection were satisfied with the quality of the application and an Authorised Officer made an order appointing Kate and Diane to be James’ Deputies with authority to manage his property and financial affairs.

Chris then liaised with the Office of the Public Guardian on behalf of Kate and Diane with regard to the level of supervision that the Court had decided should be set for Kate and Diane, and further arranged for the issue of the security bond required.

Finally, Chris arranged for registration of the Court order with the various companies and banks holding James’ assets and ensured that Diane and Kate were named as the appointed persons with access to finances and investments.

Unfortunately it was felt as a later stage that James was unable to manage at home and he went to live in a residential care home. Although this presented other issues, Diane and Kate were able to use the Deputyship order to ensure that a suitable package of funding was agreed and funds made available to enable James to receive the best possible standard of care.

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