A Professional Deputy is a representative appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the property and financial affairs of a person who lacks capacity to do this themselves. In most instances, the professional deputy is a Solicitor, however Accountants and other professionals can be appointed.
The role of a professional deputy is complex and their relationship with the client is critical to the successful management of the person’s affairs. In most cases the deputy also needs to have a good working relationship with numerous people involved in the client’s day to day life, such as family members and other professionals involved with care arrangements or ongoing therapies.
So can you change your deputy? Yes, you can… It is a common misconception that once appointed by the Court it is not possible to change a professional deputy but that is not correct. A professional deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection and must adhere to the principles outlined in the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The authority for the professional deputy to act on behalf of the incapacitated person derives from the court order appointing them and the Court of Protection has the power to discharge or remove a professional deputy. There are many reasons why a change in deputy may be appropriate including the following examples:
- The deputy has chosen to retire.
- The relationship between the deputy and client has broken down.
- The client or deputy has moved to a different location.
- Unsatisfactory conduct by the deputy.
- Wanting to change to a professional deputy who might have particular skills relevant to the client.
- Choosing a deputy with lower fees.
Whatever the reason for the proposed change the central issue that the court must consider, is whether or not the change is in the client’s best interests. This will often include a number of issues and a common justification for seeking a change is because the relationship between the client and deputy has broken down. Without this positive relationship it can become impossible to communicate information effectively in order to ensure that the client’s best interests remain central to decision making. This can cause strained relations between the deputy and client which can ultimately lead to a breakdown in the relationship.
The application to transfer a deputy in cases where the relationship has broken down is relatively straight forward. Although it can be contested by the existing deputy, this should only happen where there are good reasons why it is in the client’s best interests for them to remain as deputy. The court should not be concerned with the interests of the professional deputy or any reasons that relate to the deputy rather than the client.
At Price Slater Gawne we are happy to assist with this type of application and in many cases are prepared to draft the court application without charging legal fees. We believe that the client’s wishes and feelings should be central to decision making and that the fees of an application to the court should not stand in the way of choosing to make a change. We are a forward thinking firm and have developed systems to ensure that our lawyers are easy to contact in order to ensure that clients and their families are actively involved in decision making. If you would like to discuss an application to change professional deputy or to learn more about our professional deputy services then please contact us for a free initial discussion. Change can be a positive thing and as Albert Einstein famously said “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”