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What is the Court of Protection?
When a person lacks mental capacity and is no longer able to make decisions for themselves with regard to their own finances and property, someone can apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their Deputy to have legal authority to manage their affairs. This application is necessary where the person who lacks capacity has not previously put in place a valid Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney.
If you have concerns for a family member or close friend, and feel they are unable to continue managing their own affairs, then please call for a down to earth and friendly chat. Our experienced Court of Protection team act sensitively because they understand how distressing this can be for family members. Please call our Stafford office on 01785 252377 and our Stoke on Trent office on 01782 813315.
Who can apply to be appointed as a Deputy?
As the person who lacks capacity is not able to make their own decisions, it is up to a family member, friend, Solicitor or social services to make an application to manage their finances. There is a strict procedure in place by the Court before anyone is authorised and appointed to act as someone’s Deputy and the experienced team at Nowell Meller Solicitors can guide applicants through the maze of paperwork and procedure.
For more information about who can make an application to the Court of Protection or to discuss the procedure please contact our experienced Court of Protection team at either our Stafford office on 01785 252377 or our Stoke on Trent office on 01782 813315 for a friendly initial telephone discussion or to make an appointment.
What can a Deputy do?
If the Court is in agreement, the applicant will be appointed as the person’s Deputy. This will give the Deputy the legal authority to manage bank accounts, investments, pay bills and even sell property. For a sale of a property, in certain circumstances, a separate Court Order may be required.
A Deputy is, quite rightly, closely monitored by the Court and is required to keep full accounts and provide a yearly report showing all monies handled throughout the year.
In specific circumstances, a Deputy can also make one off decisions or gifts on behalf of the person who lacks mental capacity and this usually requires the consent of the Court. Separate applications have to be made to the Court and we recommend to all our clients acting as Deputy, that independent legal advice is obtained before any decisions are made that are above and beyond their day to day duties as Deputy. If a Deputy makes a decision without the Consent of the Court, they may be asked to reverse the gift or make an application for retrospective consent which may be refused.
Can a Deputy make decisions about health and welfare?
If a decision needs to be made about a person’s health and welfare then a further Order may be sought from the Court. However, these are only granted in limited circumstances.
Sometimes a Deputy simply does not know which way to turn and what they can and cannot agree to. We always tell our Deputy clients that they can contact us to talk through specific issues relating to their loved one’s health and welfare.
Legal costs and application fees for Court of Protection Application
The legal fees are fixed by the Court and for a standard Court of Protection Application for finances only it is currently set at £950 plus VAT. In addition to legal fees, a doctor’s fee for completion of a medical form is also payable. This is to confirm to the Court that the person the application relates to no longer has mental capacity to manage their own finances and affairs. This fee does vary from £50 to £250.
There is also a Court application fee which is payable at the time the application is submitted to the Court. Follow this link for the current Court of Protection fees payable.
What other fees might a Deputy expect?
Further fees for legal costs, application fees and medical expenses may be incurred for any additional applications such as gifting or the sale of a property, if a further Order is required and for decisions for health applications.
How long does the application take?
Unfortunately, a Court of Protection application is a very long process and can take anything between 6 and 12 months depending on the complexity of the case. However, applications which are more involved, such as an application for gifting, can be complex and it can be a lengthy process depending on the requirements of the Court for each specific case.
Our Nowell Meller specialist team offer an initial telephone conversation or appointment so do not hesitate to contact either our Stafford office on 01785 252377 or our Stoke on Trent office on 01782 813315.