February 1, 2019
We participated in Solicitors Chat yesterday on Twitter answering questions about Court of Protection. Our Chartered Legal Executive, Janine Guthrie, was on hand to provide some much needed guidance. We’ve set out our answers out below.
What is the Court of Protection and who does it help?
The Court of Protection exists to safeguard vulnerable people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. These decisions may related to the person’s finances or their health and welfare.
What circumstances might lead to someone being considered as a ‘lacking mental capacity’?
Lack of mental capacity can cover many situations but a common would be Dementia. A medical professional should always certify that a person lacks mental capacity before someone else can fully manage their affairs for them.
What is the Office of the Public Guardian?
The Office of the Public Guardian is a government body that protects the private assets and supervises the financial affairs of people who lack mental capacity for making decisions.
What does a Solicitor who specialises in Court of Protection do and when should you speak to one?
A Court of Protection Solicitor advises and guides you through the process of applying to become a deputy for those who have lost capacity but have not made Lasting Powers of Attorney. We would advise you to speak to a Solicitor if you need to make an application. A Court of Protection Solicitor can also advise on other applications to the Court including statutory Wills and sales of property. You should also speak to a Court of Protection Solicitor if you have any concerns about an on going application made in the Court of Protection.
What is a Deputy?
A Deputy is someone appointed by the Court of Protection to become legally responsible for the affairs of someone who has lost capacity. There are 2 types of Deputy – Property & Financial Affairs and Health Welfare. The Deputy must report annually to the Office of the Public Guardian.
Who can become a Deputy? Are there any rules surrounding this?
You have to be 18 or over to apply to become a Deputy. Deputies are usually close relatives or friends of the person who needs help making decisions or a professional deputy can be appointed by the Court. The Court can appoint 2 or more Deputies for the same person.
What are some examples of decisions made in the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection can make a wide range of decisions, including whether someone has mental capacity to make a particular decision for themselves; whether a Deputy should be appointed to make on going decisions for someone who lack mental capacity. The Court can also make one off decisions such as where a person lives.
What is the process of making a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you, the person making the LPA, appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorney’s) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. Lasting Powers of Attorney are documents that are extremely powerful and it is recommended that you seek legal advice in making them.
If you would like some more information about Court of Protection or some guidance about how you can help a family member or friend who has lost capacity, contact Janine Guthrie on 0800 158 4147 and book an initial consultation today.