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What is The Court of Protection?

30 May 2024
Sign of Court of Protection

What is The Court of Protection?

The Court of Protection, in England and Wales, exists to protect the interests of people who lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs. A person may lack capacity because of an illness or injury affecting the brain or because of the presence of mental, cognitive or learning conditions. The Court of Protection is responsible both for determining whether an individual lacks capacity and for making decisions on that individual’s behalf. Usually, the decisions will be about finances and property or health and wellbeing. The Court can also appoint attorneys or deputies to make decisions for an individual on an on-going basis, so that every decision doesn’t have to be heard by the court. Whether an individual is supported by an Attorney or a Deputy, The Court of Protection is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the needs of that person (the ‘protected party’) are being met and any decisions made are in their best interests. The court makes checks on the activities of attorneys and deputies (although much more so on deputies) and has the power to revoke Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyships. 

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

An attorney is chosen by an individual while they have capacity, to manage their affairs in the event they lose capacity. For example, a person may wish for a sibling to look after their health and property should they have an accident that means they can no longer do this for themselves. To do this, a person will apply to register a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) with the Court of Protection and nominate someone they trust to make decisions for them if they can’t. There are two different types of LPA; one that allows someone to look after another person’s money and assets (Property and Financial Affairs Attorney) and one that allows someone to make decisions about another person’s welfare (Health and Welfare Attorney). When and if the person nominating the attorney loses the ability to make decisions for themselves, their attorneys can use their Lasting Power of Attorney documents to do things on their behalf. This could be things like arranging for care staff, changing energy provider or renewing a mortgage.

What is a Deputy?

A deputy is appointed by The Court of Protection when the person whose affairs need looking after already lacks the capacity to make decisions for themselves. This can happen if a person has an accident or gets ill and they lose the ability to manage their own affairs, but they haven’t applied for a Power of Attorney to act on their behalf. Like Powers of Attorney, Deputyships can be appointed for either for Finance and Property or for Health and Welfare, but the great majority are for financial matters only, as the Court will only appoint Health and Welfare deputyships in very particular circumstances. 

A Deputy can be a relative or friend of the person requiring support, or it can be a professional Deputy. A person may call on the expertise of a professional deputy because they don’t feel comfortable managing another person’s finances, because there are significant assets involved that mean professional involvement is more appropriate or because they are already heavily involved in the health and welfare of the individual, and don’t want the added responsibility of managing their finances. 

The Court of Protection Team at Dean Wilson

At Dean Wilson, our dedicated Court of Protection Team offer a wealth of professional experience dealing with matters related to the work of the Court of Protection. We have professional deputies, managing the finances of our clients with compassion, pragmatism and integrity. We assist lay deputies to support their loved ones, be that during the deputyship application process or offering bespoke advice at challenging turning points. We can help secure a Lasting Power of Attorney with the assurance that the documentation will perform as it is needed to, when and if the time comes. With our comprehensive Court of Protection services, you can have peace of mind knowing your loved one's affairs are being properly managed with the utmost care and expertise.

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