The Advantages Of Instructing a Professional DeputyPosted: 5th November 2016

EMG Solicitors — offer specialist legal advice regarding Court of Protection matters. The Court of Protection makes decisions for people who cannot make decisions at the time they need to be made (they lack ‘mental capacity’ to make the decision in question) -. We can make an application to the Court of Protection to request the appointment of a ‘deputy’ who is then authorised to- make decisions regarding a person’s property and financial affairs and/or health and welfare, if they are unable to make those decisions themselves.

The Role of a Deputy

A deputy is responsible for helping a person make decisions or making decisions on their behalf until either the person they are assisting – dies, is able to make decisions on their own again, or until someone else takes over as a deputy. A deputy must always act in the other person’s best interests and is accountable to the Court of Protection and the Office of the Public Guardian for the decisions they make as a deputy.

A deputy is given a sufficient amount of authority by the Court of Protection so they can make decisions without the need to defer to the Court each and every time a decision needs to made. However, it is important that a deputy understands what they can and cannot do on the person’s behalf- this information can be found in the court order appointing them as the person’s deputy.

 Who can be a Deputy?

A deputy can be anyone over the age 18 who the Court believes is suitable to act on the person’s behalf. A close friend or family member is often appointed (sometimes referred to as a ‘lay deputy’). At EMG Solicitors we provide help and support to many lay deputies who need assistance to carry out their duties correctly. However, in some circumstances it may be preferable for a professional deputy to be appointed. A professional deputy is someone who is paid to act as a person’s deputy and is an expert in this area of law.

Advantages of Instructing a Professional Deputy

Emma Gaudern and Jemma Morland, supported by the team at EMG Solicitors, are often appointed as a  professional deputies for people who lack mental capacity to make decisions regarding their property and financial affairs. The advantages of instructing a professional deputy are as follows:

We ensure the protection of our client’s assets and property from outside influences which can often be friends, other family members or even neighbours;

We are fully supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and are required to meet their professional deputy standards;

  1. We are highly experienced in completing any paperwork concerning clients and making any necessary court applications;
  2. We are able to create long lasting relationships with our clients, their family, carers and case managers and we offer a tailored approach to meet each client’s individual needs;
  3. We have the ability to say ‘no’ to clients when something is not appropriate. This can often be more difficult for a family member and can sometimes lead to a breakdown in the relationship between the family member and the protected person;
  4. We are experienced in liaising with personal injury solicitors during the course of a client’s claim and can prepare any financial information that the personal injury solicitor may require;
  5. We have the ability and financial knowledge to manage large sums of money such as multi million pound settlements following the conclusion of a client’s personal injury claim;
  6. We understand the need to manage funds for the long-term benefit of our clients and are very experienced in doing so;
  7. We can retain our client’s entitlement to state benefits by protecting any settlement monies they have received;
  8. Maintaining a deputyship requires a lot of paperwork, careful recording and preparation of detailed reports to the Office of the Public Guardian. We remove the burden of administrative tasks from family members to enable them to focus on their primary role as the person’s mother, father, husband, wife, brother or sister as the case may be;
  9. We reduce the risk of mutual dependency whereby a family member can be reluctant to allow the client to lead the most independent lifestyle possible. We also reduce any potential financial conflict between the client and the family member that may arise over the best use of funds

If you would like to discuss the appointment of a professional deputy for a loved one or if you are a lay deputy and require advice or assistance, then do not hesitate to contact me or the specialist Court of Protection team at EMG Solicitors .