In previous articles, I have discussed the types of situation when it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order. In many cases, even when proceedings are finished, Court involvement may be required when the subject of the deputyship order (known as P) dies and an understanding of what to do in this situation can help reduce the stress felt by all parties at what can be an extremely difficult time.
The Court of Protection is clear that its jurisdiction applies only during P’s lifetime or while P lacks capacity to deal with their own affairs. Therefore once P dies, any application or order will cease, but there are practical steps that need to be taken in order to bring the Court’s involvement to an end. The Court’s involvement can also come to an end if P regains capacity (although this is not part of this article).
Where there is an existing order in place at the time of death, such as a Deputyship order, the Court will make an order discharging the Deputyship. Before doing so the Deputy may be required to produce a final report; or the Public Guardian may decide a report is not necessary. In addition, the security bond paid by the Deputy to the court when the order was made will remain in force for 2 years from the date of death, unless the Court decides otherwise.
It is important to remember that any orders made by the Court, and the obligations that come with them, remain in force until the Court orders otherwise, or when the time is limited, the time period elapses. The death of P does not automatically bring the orders to an end.
A final point to consider is that Court of Protection proceedings are generally held in private with no one present except the parties, their representatives and the judge. Therefore, when the Court has, during the proceedings, made orders regarding the reporting of information about the case, part of the Court’s role is to decide whether these orders should continue. These restrictions are generally only put in place in high profile cases involving the media and the Court will have made clear at an earlier stage whether these orders may apply.