A deputy is someone appointed by the Court of Protection to deal with the affairs of a person who lacks the ability to do so themselves. We are often asked whether it is possible to change the deputy appointed by the Court of Protection. The simple answer is: yes, there is a formal process through which the Court of Protection can be asked to appoint a different deputy. From our experience of working with clients on applications to change deputy, there are a number of reasons why people consider changing deputy including:
- A decision to change to a specialist professional deputy with experience in this role
- A breakdown in the relationship with the deputy
- Concerns around financial abuse / unsatisfactory conduct of the deputy
- The fees charged by the deputy are too high
Whilst all deputies are required to adhere to the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, there is much more to consider about the suitability of a deputy. Here, we discuss why you might want to change deputy and the process for making the change.
What is the Role of a Court of Protection Appointed Deputy?
The role of a deputy is centred around making decisions in the best interests of the protected party. This involves ensuring that a great deal of care and consideration i
s given to decision making, taking into account various influencing factors. These include: needs, care arrangements, lifestyle and guidance from relevant parties involved in day to day care and treatment. All deputies need to be 18 years of age or over. The deputy will generally be allowed to:
- Deal with any income arrangements, this includes paying any bills and debts.
- Manage or sell property.
- Make gifts on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.
Who Can be Appointed as a Deputy?
In most cases a relative usually acts as a deputy, but it could also be a friend or another close connection. If you do not want a lay deputy (someone close to you) to make decisions on your behalf, you can request to appoint a professional deputy, these are typically solicitors but can include accountants and members of the local authorities. Professional deputies also tend to be appointed in complex cases such as those involving litigation claims or where there have been safeguarding issues.
Having a professional deputy is often important because they are used to dealing with issues that tend to affect people who are unable to manage their own financial affairs. Often, they are able to resolve those issues through their own experience and expertise or through access to appropriate specialists who can help.
People who are not specialist deputies, whether solicitors or family members, will do their best but without specialist knowledge they can struggle to ensure that the protected party’s needs are met. It may be a good idea to consider a joint deputyship, that way the client benefits from the expertise of a Court of Protection professional, as well as the familiarity of their family member or close friend.
Irrespective of the working dynamic, communication between deputy and client is vital. Not only between the deputy and individual, but also with those involved in the day to day lifestyle, care and assistance of the individual. Where a breakdown in communication occurs, it can be extremely difficult to effectively support and offer appropriate guidance in relation to their needs. This is when the desire to change deputy becomes even more likely.
The Process for Changing Deputy
The process to change a deputy is relatively straightforward. Once agreement from the current deputy has been confirmed, an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection. The application will then be processed and the current deputy will remain active until the process is complete.
Although the application can be challenged by the existing deputy, this should only occur when there are good reasons and where it is in the individual’s best interest for them to remain as deputy. We usually find that the existing deputy is well aware that the relationship has broken down or that they are struggling to meet the protected person’s needs and they agree that it is appropriate for a new deputy to be appointed.
If you are still not sure, have a look at our Court of Protection section of the website where you will be able to learn more about the process and how we can help you.
Get Help Changing Deputy with Price Slater Gawne
We hope you have found this guide on the reasons for changing a deputy and the process for doing so useful. If you would like to discuss making an application to change deputy or would like further information regarding Price Slater Gawne acting as professional deputy, our Court of Protection team would be happy to arrange a no-obligation, free of charge consultation with you. Please contact Tom Young on 07507 875558 or Jade Price on 07930 519947 or by email to email@example.com.