You’ve gone through the application process and have been successfully appointed by the Court of Protection as a Deputy for your mentally incapacitated loved one. So you can now legally make decisions on their behalf. But what happens now?
When you become a Court of Protection Deputy you will receive a Deputy Order which will clearly set out the extent of your powers for making decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person in question. Your right to make decisions will differ depending on what aspects of the individual’s life you have been granted decision-making power over. Deputyships are most often granted to handle someone’s property and financial affairs but may also deal with day-to-day care, as well as medical treatment and social care interventions.
Once the Court order has been made, you will receive numerous certified copies. Make sure to check for any errors including spelling mistakes. If you come across any you should return the copies immediately with mistakes clearly indicated. If you are working with a Court of Protection solicitor, they will be able to make sure the document is correct on your behalf.
The Court sends out a number of certified copies of the order so that you will always have enough copies to prove to relevant people or organisations that you are the authorised decision maker for the person who lacks capacity. You may even want to provide relevant parties with a copy of the order before any decisions are required, so that they know to come to you when the time comes.
It’s important to always bear in mind that your decisions may be pivotal to your loved one’s overall welfare. So it’s vital to thoroughly consider all your options prior to making the final decision on any aspect of your jurisdiction, and to make sure you carry out your duties sensibly, responsibly and pro-actively at all times. You also need to ensure that:
- Your decisions are those authorised by your Court order.
- You adhere to the Mental Capacity Act’s Code of Practice guidelines.
- You follow the Mental Capacity Act’s five statutory principles.
- All your decisions are carefully made in your loved one’s best interests.
- You keep the Court updated with your personal contact details.
If all this seems a little too much to deal with, there is help available - either to support you in better understanding your role and responsibilities as a Deputy or instead, to provide a Deputyship service, so that you have more time to take care of your loved one’s and your own personal needs.
One of the responsibilities of the Public Guardian (Office of the Public Guardian - OPG) is to supervise and support Court appointed deputies, especially lay Deputies. To contact the OPG for assistance or for more information on your new role go to the Ministry of Justice website here.
In addition it may be helpful to consult with a solicitor who specialises in Court of Protection matters. Court of Protection solicitors will work with you to ensure that your loved one’s ‘best interests’ are always protected and that you are in full compliance with all the statutory requirements. They will help you with the practical and financial aspects in managing someone else’s affairs. And, where you find yourself wrestling with a disagreement or dispute with other family members or a Local Authority over what’s in your loved one’s best interests, there are a few Court of Protection specialist who can help you navigate and resolve the conflict through a process of mediation.
To find a solicitor with the requisite experience try the Law Society website, search for a Court of Protection solicitor on Google or contact the team here at Gillhams Solicitors – specialists in Court of Protection matters - for a free and confidential chat.