Unfortunately, with an ageing population, people are finding it increasingly difficult to sort out their own financial affairs. If you still have mental capacity, you can create a Lasting Power of Attorney to enable you to appoint someone to help you with your finances and/or make decisions about your health and welfare.
Not everyone has planned for a change in their circumstances. An unforeseen event, such as a stroke, or being diagnosed with dementia, could leave them with lack of capacity, but they are no longer able to create a Lasting Power of Attorney, nor are they able to sort their finances out or make decisions about their health.
In these circumstances, an application can be made by someone who has an interest in your affairs, to the Court of Protection to enable them to be appointed as a deputy for you. This then authorises them to look after your financial affairs on your behalf.
It may also enable them to make an application with regard to a specific issue about your health and welfare, such as where you live or what medical treatment you have. They will not however be able to make an application for a general health and welfare deputyship order.
The application can be cumbersome and lengthy and requires the completion of various application forms, including a medical form (COP3) which has to be completed by a medical professional. We would always recommend that you obtain legal advice before completing applications; in particular with regard to the order you are applying for.
The application can be made by one person, but we would generally recommend that it is made by two people, to act on a joint and several basis. This should ensure that there is always someone available to make necessary decisions.
When you act as a deputy, it is under the supervision of the Court of Protection and therefore annual accounts will need to be sent, an insurance policy taken out each year, and accurate records kept of how you are dealing with the financial affairs of the person to whom the order relates.
There are also strict rules about making gifts of money/property belonging to the person to whom the order relates, necessitating further applications to the Court of Protection for their permission to do this.
Very often, in these situations, the person to whom the order relates has not made a Will, meaning that when they pass away, any money or property that they have, will pass to relatives, as set out in the Rules of Intestacy. This may not be what they had wanted.
The Court of Protection can also order that a Will (called a Statutory Will), is put in place for the person. Again this involves an application to the Court of Protection, with detailed statements in support, completion of a COP3, and full information with regard to the person’s finances and family background/relatives.
Court of Protection
PO Box 70185
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
London WC1A 9JA
Enquiries 0300 456 4600
How we can help
We can advise you fully regarding all the different types of applications, guide you through the process and complete the relevant application forms for you, ensuring that the correct type of order is applied for. Once the order has been obtained, we can advise you about your duties and responsibilities in acting under the terms of the orders.
Whatever the circumstances we can help you plan for the future, with dignity and respect. For your extra peace of mind, we are fully regulated by the Law Society and we can guarantee that your affairs will be handled by a highly experienced and fully qualified solicitor.
If you would like more details or you would just like a chat about your options, please contact our friendly team today.