The best way to make provision for this is to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, appointing the person or persons whom you would prefer to manage matters on your behalf if the need arose.
However, if you have not put anything in place then it will be necessary for someone to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your Deputy. A Deputy would be given the authority to manage either your property and financial affairs, or your health and welfare matters including decisions about medical treatment, or both depending on the circumstances. The number of Court orders made in relation to health and welfare matters is significantly lower than for property and financial affairs, as usually the Court will only issue an order appointing a Deputy for health and welfare matters is a specific decision needs to be made, for example about whether a person should have an operation.
A Deputy can be either a relative or perhaps a very close friend of the person who cannot manage his or her affairs, or if there is no one else appropriate who could apply, then a professional Deputy, such as Solicitor or Accountant could be appointed. We can advise a proposed Deputy on the procedure for making an application to the Court of Protection and prepare the necessary application forms, which have to be very detailed and can be time consuming to complete. Hilary Buckle, the Head of the Private Client Department, has extensive experience of acting as a professional Deputy.
Often a person who cannot manage his or her affairs owns a property and specific authority would have to be sought from the Court to deal with the property; often a Trustee would have to be appointed by the Court in order for the property to be sold. We can deal with all aspects of such applications and our Property Conveyancing Department can then assist where the sale of the property is required.
The appointment of a Deputy is an ongoing role, usually until the death of the person who cannot manage his or her affairs. A Deputy is required to keep detailed accounts, submit an annual report to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and meet with an OPG Visitor if required. We can advise Deputies on all aspects of their ongoing duties and assist with the day-to-day management of a person’s financial affairs.
For further information please contact our Private Client team by telephone on 0118 958 9711 or email to [email protected] who will arrange an appointment for you to meet with one of our solicitors at our Reading Berkshire office.