Roles and responsibilities of a deputy
If someone lacks the capacity to manage their own financial affairs then a deputy will be appointed by the Court of Protection. The role of a deputy is to make necessary financial decisions in the best interests of that individual.
The deputy can either be a friend or family member (known as a lay deputy) or a professional, such as a solicitor. Whether the individual has capacity to deal with their own financial affairs is determined by a medical expert.
An individual’s ability to make decisions can vary and it is the deputy’s responsibility to support that person to make decisions themselves when they are able or do so, or to work with them to make those decisions on their behalf.
Deputies are appointed by an Order of the Court of Protection and are closely supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian. Every deputy must act in accordance with the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
A deputy will collaborate with clients and their family members to obtain all the different viewpoints, ensuring each decision is made in the best interests of the individual who lacks capacity.
The Order appointing the deputy will give them the authority to make a range of decisions, however there are certain decisions which will require a further application to the Court of Protection. These can include provision to:
- buy or sell property
- buy property jointly with family members
- proceed with non-standard investments (buy-to-let / holiday properties, ethical investments etc.)
- make statutory Wills
- make gifts.