Carers Rights

Court of Protection

You can apply to become someone’s deputy if they ‘lack mental capacity’. This means they can’t make a decision for themselves at the time it needs to be made. They may still be able to make decisions for themselves at certain times.

People may lack mental capacity because, for example:

  • they’ve had a serious brain injury or illness
  • they have dementia
  • they have severe learning disabilities

As a deputy, you’ll be authorised by the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf.

There are 2 types of deputy:

  • property and financial affairs, for example paying bills, organising a pension
  • personal welfare, for example making decisions about medical treatment and how someone is looked after

You can apply to be just one type of deputy or both. If you’re appointed, you’ll get a court order saying what you can and can’t do.

How to apply

Check you meet the requirements to be a deputy.

Send the application forms to the Court of Protection and pay the application fee.

You don’t need to be a deputy if you’re just looking after someone’s benefits. Apply to become an appointee instead.

Checks on your application

The Court of Protection will check:

If you’re appointed, the Office of the Public Guardian will help you carry out your responsibilities. You may have to complete an annual report.

You’ll continue to be a deputy until your court order is changed, cancelled or expires.

Other ways to make decisions for someone

If you want to make a single important decision, you can apply to the Court of Protection for a one-off order.

If the person already has a lasting power of attorney (LPA) or enduring power of attorney (EPA), they don’t usually need a deputy. Check if they have an LPA or EPA before you apply.

Who can apply to be a deputy

You can apply to be a deputy if you’re 18 or over. Deputies are usually close relatives or friends of the person who needs help making decisions.

If you want to become a property and affairs deputy, you need to have the skills to make financial decisions for someone else.

The court can appoint 2 or more deputies for the same person.

When there’s more than one deputy

The court will tell you how to make decisions if you’re not the only deputy. It will be either:

  • together (usually called ‘jointly’), which means all the deputies have to agree on the decision
  • separately or together (usually called ‘jointly and severally’), which means deputies can make decisions on their own or with other deputies

Other types of deputy

Some people are paid to act as deputies, for example accountants, solicitors or representatives of the local authority.

The Court of Protection can appoint a specialist deputy (called a ‘panel deputy’) from a list of approved law firms and charities if no one else is available.

Responsibilities

As a deputy, you’re responsible for helping someone make decisions or making decisions on their behalf.

You must consider someone’s level of mental capacity every time you make a decision for them – you can’t assume it’s the same at all times and for all kinds of things.

You’ll get a court order from the Court of Protection which says what you can and can’t do. There are also general rules and examples in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice.

Guidance for all deputies

When you’re making a decision, you must:

  • make sure it’s in the other person’s best interests
  • consider what they’ve done in the past
  • apply a high standard of care – this might mean involving other people, for example getting advice from relatives and professionals like doctors
  • do everything you can to help the other person understand the decision, for example explain what’s going to happen with the help of pictures or sign language

You must not:

  • restrain the person, unless it’s to stop them coming to harm
  • stop life-sustaining medical treatment
  • take advantage of the person’s situation, for example abuse them or profit from a decision you’ve taken on their behalf
  • make a will for the person, or change their existing will
  • make gifts unless the court order says you can
  • hold any money or property in your own name on the person’s behalf

Property and affairs deputies

You must make sure:

  • your own property and money is separate from the other person’s
  • you keep records of the finances you manage on their behalf

You may need to manage a Court Funds Office account on the other person’s behalf.

You could be fined or sent to prison for up to 5 years (or both) if you mistreat or neglect the person on purpose.

Apply to be a deputy

You need to download and fill in:

If you can’t get a completed assessment of capacity form, download and fill in a witness statement (COP24) explaining why you:

  • haven’t been able to get one
  • think the person you want to be a deputy for lacks capacity

You should keep a copy of every form you fill in.

Where to send your forms

Send the originals to the Court of Protection with:

  • 2 copies of your application form
  • 1 copy of the other forms
  • a cheque for the application fee

Court of Protection
PO Box 70185
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
London
WC1A 9JA

Tell people named in your application

The court will aim to send you a stamped copy of your application within a week of receiving it. This means your application is being considered (it has been ‘issued’). You’ll be sent a letter explaining what to do next.

Within 14 days of the application being issued, you must tell (sometimes called ‘serving’) the following people :

  • the person you’re applying to be a deputy for
  • anyone named in your application as having an interest, for example the person’s relatives

Tell the person you’re applying to be a deputy for

You or your representative must visit the person and tell them:

  • who’s applying to be their deputy
  • that their ability to make decisions is being questioned
  • what having a deputy would mean for them
  • where to get advice if they want to discuss the application

During the visit give them:

Tell people connected to your application

You must tell people named on your application that it has been issued.

Send them:

You can tell them:

  • by post to their home address
  • by fax or email
  • in person

Confirming that you’ve told people (‘served notice’)

Within 7 days of serving the documents, you must download and fill in the relevant forms (sometimes called ‘certificates of service’) confirming you’ve told:

Send them all together to the Court of Protection – the address is on the forms.

Fees

You must pay a fee to apply to be a deputy. You must also pay a supervision fee every year after you’ve been appointed.

When you apply

You must pay a £400 application fee. Send this with your application form.

You need to pay the application fee twice if you’re applying to become both types of deputy.

You’ll also need to pay £500 if the court decides your case needs a hearing. The court will tell you when you need to pay this.

Make all cheques payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’.

After you’ve been appointed

You must pay an annual supervision fee depending on what level of supervision your deputyship needs. You’ll pay:

  • £320 for general supervision
  • £35 for minimal supervision (if you’re a property and affairs deputy managing less than £21,000)

Your annual supervision fee is due on 31 March for the previous year.

You’ll also need to pay a £100 assessment fee if you’re a new deputy.

The Office of the Public Guardian will tell you how and when to pay your assessment and supervision fees.

You may be able to claim a refund of your fees in certain situations.

Getting help with your application fee

You may not have to pay an application fee depending on:

  • what type of deputy you’re applying to be
  • how much money you or the person you’re applying to be deputy for has
Type of deputy Whose finances will be assessed
Property and financial affairs Theirs
Personal welfare Yours

The guidance has information about getting help with your fees.

You can claim back the fee from the funds of the person you want to be a deputy for if you’re applying to be a property and affairs deputy.

The fee will be refunded if the person dies within 5 days of the Court of Protection receiving the application.

Getting help with your supervision fees

You can apply for an exemption or reduction of the fee if the person you’re a deputy for gets certain benefits or has an income below £12,000. Read the guidance that comes with the form and apply if the person meets the requirements. The address is on the form.

If the person you’re deputy for dies, you pay the supervision fee for the part of the year when you acted as deputy. For example, you’ll have to pay £17.50 if your minimal supervision deputyship comes to an end after 6 months.

Security bond

You must pay a bond to protect the finances of the person you’re a deputy for before you can start acting as property and affairs deputy.

After you’ve applied

The Court of Protection will review your application and make a decision 14 days after you told the other people involved that you’d applied – provided your application was complete and no one objected.

The court will tell you if:

  • your application’s been approved or rejected
  • you have to provide more information to support your application, for example a report from social services
  • it’s going to hold a hearing to get more information

Tell the person you want to be a deputy for about the hearing

You’ll get a notice with the date of the hearing if the court decides to hold one. You must visit the person you want to be deputy for and tell them about it:

  • within 14 days of getting the notice
  • at least 14 days before the date of the hearing

Give them a completed notice about proceedings (COP14). Use the guidance notes to fill it in.

You must explain that they can contact Court of Protection staff for advice and assistance.

Court of Protection courtofprotectionenquiries@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0300 456 4600
Find out about call charges

When you’ve told them, send a certificate of service (COP20A) to the Court of Protection within 7 days.

You’ll have to pay a fee if the court makes a final decision at the hearing.

The guidance explains what to expect from a Court of Protection hearing.

When you’re appointed

You’ll be sent a ‘court order’ telling you what you can and can’t do as a deputy. You can start acting on behalf of the person:

  • as soon as you’re appointed if you’re a personal welfare deputy
  • when you pay a ‘security bond’ – a type of insurance to protect the person’s money – if you’re a property and affairs deputy

Check the court order. If there are any mistakes, download and fill in form COP9 with the details and send it to the court within 21 days of receiving the court order. There is no fee.

You need a separate court order to sell a property that’s jointly owned if you’re a property and affairs deputy.

Security bonds for property and affairs deputies

You must pay a bond to a security bond provider to protect the finances of the person you’re a deputy for. You’ll get a letter from the court telling you how to do this.

You may be prosecuted if you misuse the person’s money.

Tell people and organisations you’re a deputy

You’ll get official copies of the court order to send to banks and building societies, for example. These prove you’re acting on behalf of the other person. When you send out an official copy, ask for it to be returned.

Order extra copies of the court order by writing to the Court of Protection. They cost £5 each.

Court of Protection
PO Box 70185
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
London
WC1A 9JA

Start managing a bank account

Before you can manage an account, you must show the bank:

  • the original court order, or an official copy of it
  • proof of your name, for example your passport or driving licence
  • proof of your address, for example a gas, electricity or council tax bill, or letter from a government department
  • proof of the donor’s name or address if they’re not the same as on the bank account

Court Funds Office accounts

If the person you’re deputy for has money in a Court Funds Office account, you’ll be sent information about how to access it.

You can also apply to open an account with the Court Funds Office if you’re a property and affairs deputy and it’s in the person’s best interests.

Supervision, support and visits

As a deputy, you’ll be supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). They’re authorised to contact you or visit you to check you’re being an effective deputy. They can also give you advice and support.

How you’ll be supervised

New deputies get a ‘general’ level of supervision for their first year.

After that, if you’re a property and affairs deputy who manages less than £21,000, you’ll move to ‘minimal’ supervision. You’ll pay a lower fee and have to write a shorter report each year than deputies with general supervision.

Supervision visits

You may be visited by a Court of Protection visitor to check if you:

  • understand your duties
  • have the right level of support from OPG
  • are carrying out your duties properly
  • are being investigated because of a complaint

The visitor will call you to arrange the visit and explain why they’re visiting.

Contact OPG

Tell OPG if you’re planning to make an important decision, for example you want to sell the property of the person you’re deputy for so they can move into a care home.

Office of the Public Guardian
Telephone: 0300 456 0300
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9am to 5pm
Wednesday, 10am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

Office of the Public Guardian
PO Box 16185
Birmingham
B2 2WH

Accounts, gifts and expenses

You must keep accounts and follow the rules for gifts and expenses if you’re acting as deputy for someone else.

Accounts

As a property and affairs deputy, you must keep copies of:

  • bank statements
  • contracts for services or tradespeople
  • receipts
  • letters and emails about your activities as a deputy

You must include details of how you’ve managed the other person’s money in your annual report.

Gifts

Your court order will say if you can buy gifts or give gifts of money on behalf of the other person, including donations to charities. It will also say if there’s an annual limit on how much money you can use for gifts.

Gifts must be reasonable. You need to make sure any gifts don’t reduce the level of care the person you’re deputy for can afford.

You must apply to the Court of Protection if you want to make a one-off large gift for Inheritance Tax purposes, for example.

Expenses

You can claim expenses for things you must do to carry out your role as deputy, for example phone calls, postage and travel costs. You can’t claim:

  • travel costs for social visits
  • for the time spent carrying out your duties (unless you’re a professional deputy, for example a solicitor)

You may be asked to give a detailed report of what you spent. You’ll have to pay the money back if the Office of the Public Guardian finds your expenses are unreasonable. They may ask the court to stop you being a deputy if they think you’ve been dishonest.

Annual reports

You must write a report each year explaining the decisions you’ve made as a deputy.

Your report must include:

  • the reasons for your decisions and why they were in the best interests of the person you’re deputy for
  • who else you spoke to and what they said was in the person’s best interests

You can complete your annual deputy report online. The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will tell you when it’s time to send it.

If you don’t send the report, OPG might:

  • increase your level of supervision
  • ask the court to replace you with a different deputy

Change your deputyship or make a one-off decision

You must apply to the Court of Protection if you have to:

  • renew your deputyship
  • change your deputyship, for example make decisions that aren’t in the original order
  • make a one-off decision on something not covered by your court order

How to apply

Download and fill in both:

Your witness statement should include:

  • the total annual income of the person you’re a deputy for including pensions
  • a summary of their assets, for example bank balances, savings, investments
  • details of property they own
  • the annual cost of their care and other regular items of major expenditure
  • the value of the security bond set by the court
  • a description of the circumstances that have led to the application being made

Send the Court of Protection:

  • the completed forms
  • a cheque for the application fee – £400 – payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’

You can apply for help paying the fee if you’re getting certain benefits or on a low income.

Court of Protection
PO Box 70185
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
London
WC1A 9JA

If you need help with changing your deputyship, call the Court of Protection.

Court of Protection
Telephone: 0300 456 4600
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

What happens next

You may have to notify other people about the change to the court order if the court tells you to. They can object or ask the court to reconsider any proposed changes they don’t agree with.

They have 21 days from when the order is issued to make their request.

End your deputyship

If you no longer want or need to be a deputy, download and fill in the application notice (COP1) and send it to the Court of Protection. The address is on the form.

If the person has recovered mental capacity, download and fill in form COP 9. Send it to the Court of Protection with any supporting evidence, for example a doctor’s letter.

You can’t stop being a deputy until you’ve got the relevant court order.

If the person you’re deputy for dies

Contact the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and the Court of Protection to tell them that the person has died.

Office of the Public Guardian
Telephone: 0300 456 0300
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9am to 5pm
Wednesday, 10am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

Court of Protection courtofprotectionenquiries@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0300 456 4600
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

You’ll also have to send evidence to OPG that the person has died, for example a death certificate. Check the full list of evidence that OPG accepts.

Office of the Public Guardian
PO Box 16185
Birmingham
B2 2WH

Your security bond will remain in force for 7 years after the death of the person you’re a deputy for unless there’s a court order cancelling it.

Contact the Court Funds Office if the person you were deputy for had an account with them.

Find us

Southwark Carers
3rd Floor, Walworth Methodist Church,
54 Camberwell Road, London, SE5 0EN
View map and directions

Contact us

020 7708 4497

Find us

Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).

Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle

Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45