How to apply to become a deputy for a person with dementia
If someone with dementia becomes too ill to make informed decisions, you can take on the role of decision-maker by becoming their deputy.
Unfortunately, there may come a time when a person diagnosed with dementia cannot make significant life decisions for themselves. Normally, the person in question and their family can plan for this and enter into a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), who can then make decisions on their behalf.
However, if their health deteriorates before an LPA is made and a carer feels they need to make their decisions, they will need to apply to become their deputy. Below, we detail all of the questions surrounding becoming a deputy for someone with dementia.
What is a deputyship order?
There are two types of deputyship order – one covers property and financial affairs, and the other health and welfare.
A deputyship order gives a carer the ability to make decisions on behalf of someone who has lost the capacity to care for and make decisions for themselves. These decisions might relate to:
- The person’s finances
- Their property
- Their medical treatment
- Their personal welfare – i.e. the clothes they wear, and anything related to general care and wellbeing
A deputyship order is only needed when there is no LPA in place.
The types of deputyship order
There are two types of deputy:
1. Property and financial affairs deputy
A property and financial affairs deputy is the most common form of deputyship. As the name suggests, it relates to managing someone’s financial affairs when they no longer have capacity.
If the person in question has no property or savings and their only income is social security benefits, there will usually be no need for a deputy to be appointed.
Those making an application for this type of deputyship will need to sign a declaration that outlines their own circumstances and includes details of the tasks and duties a deputy must carry out.
2. Personal welfare deputy
Appointing a personal welfare deputy is more uncommon. Here, the person appointed will make decisions about medical treatment and how someone is looked after.
This sort of deputy is appointed in extreme circumstances where no resolution can be reached in relation to what the best interests of the person are. The court will also only appoint deputies to make continuous decisions about someone’s health over a longer period of time –a younger person with an ongoing illness, for example.
These decisions will always be made in the person’s best interest by those providing care and/or treatment.
Who can file a deputyship application?
To apply to become a deputy, you have to be aged 18 years or older. Deputies are usually close relatives or friends of the person who is ill, although anyone can apply to the court to be appointed.
If you wish to be appointed a property and financial affairs deputy, you will need to prove in the application that you have the ability to make financial decisions for someone else.
The court can appoint two or more deputies for the same person. You can also apply to become one type of deputy, or both. Once appointed, you will receive a court order telling you what you can and cannot do.
It is also worth informing various organisations that you are now acting on the person’s behalf. The organisations you must inform include:
- The Department for Work and Pensions
- The local authority for housing benefit
- The person’s accountant, if applicable
- Any banks or building societies
- Any private pension companies
- The solicitor who holds the person’s wills and/or property deeds
- The residential or nursing home where the person resides
Which court do I go to when applying for deputyship?
The court that can grant deputyship is the Court of Protection. The Court of Protection will appoint deputies and make decisions about the person’s personal health, finance and welfare.
The Court of Protection will assess the suitability of each deputy from the information provided on the application forms. Only the court can appoint deputies.
How do I apply to become a deputy?
To apply, you will need to submit an application form to the Court of Protection. This application involves providing the court with detailed information surrounding the person’s dementia/health, their finances and your own situation.
How long does it take to become a deputy?
Once you have sent off your application to the Court of Protection, it can take up to six months. There can, however, sometimes be delays in relation to the medical evidence. This is due to medical practitioners being in high demand, which often creates a backlog of cases.
Do I have to pay an application for becoming a deputy?
Unfortunately, there are some fees involved. There is a £365 application fee that must be sent with the application form; this fee needs to be paid twice if you are applying to become both types of deputy.
If the court decides your case needs a hearing, there is a £485 fee. The court will inform you if you need to pay this.
There is also an ongoing deputyship fee which will need to be paid. The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) charges an annual supervision fee. The amount will be related to how much supervision is needed.
How can Percy Hughes & Roberts help?
If you are concerned a loved one lacks the mental capacity to manage their own affairs and want to know more about the processes involved in taking legal responsibility for them, our Court of Protection solicitors can help you.
At Percy Hughes & Roberts, we can not only advise you on the necessary steps required to take responsibility for someone's affairs, but also on how to be an effective and dependable deputy for that person.
Contact Percy Hughes & Roberts
To speak to a wills and probate solicitor for advice, contact Percy Hughes & Roberts for a no-obligation phone consultation today. We provide ourselves on offering expert advice that's easy to understand, and we will be with you through every step of the legal process.