Lack of Capacity?
What happens if a friend or family member lacks the capacity to manage their own financial affairs? Your loved one may have signed an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney, in which case it is their chosen attorneys who will have the legal authority to make financial decisions on their behalf, but what happens if they haven’t made a valid Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney? In these circumstances a deputyship application should be made to the Court of Protection.
What is a deputyship application?
A deputyship application is usually made by a family member, friend or professional person such as a solicitor, asking the Court of Protection to make an order appointing them as a property and affairs deputy enabling them to make financial decisions on behalf of someone who lacks the capacity to manage their own finances.
How long does it take?
It can be a lengthy process and largely depends on the time it takes to gather the information required to complete the application. Once the application has been submitted to the Court of Protection the deputyship order is usually issued within four months, however the process can take longer if circumstances are not straightforward and/or if a case hearing is required.
How much does it cost?
For straightforward deputyship applications, a solicitor’s fee is fixed by the Court at £850 plus VAT. However, in more complex cases, these fees increase and will usually be assessed by the Senior Courts Costs Office. In addition, the following fees will also be payable:-
- assessment of capacity fee charged by the doctor or psychiatrist (anything from £50 to £450);
- £400 Court of Protection application fee;
- annual security bond (a type of insurance policy to protect the finances of the person who lacks capacity) which is set by the Court, but usually a minimum of £200;
- £100 appointment of new deputy fee;
- supervision fee payable to the Office of the Public Guardian. The fee payable depends on the level of supervision required but for general supervision is £320 per annum.
Compare the above costs with the cost of preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney, for which Walker Foster Solicitors currently charge £350 (plus VAT and registration fee of £110), and it’s clear to see that with a little forward planning, significant time and money can be saved.
For help and advice with this matter, please contact Rachel Hanson via [email protected] or 01943 609969.