Can I change deputy?

We are often asked whether it is possible to change the deputy appointed by the Court of Protection. The 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.

Having a specialist deputy is important because they are used to dealing with issues that tend to affect people who are unable to manage their own financial affairs. They are therefore better 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 and this in turn can cause problems in the relationship between the protected party or his or her family and the 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 is given to decision making, taking into account various influencing factors such as needs, care arrangements, lifestyle and guidance from relevant parties / professionals involved in day to day care and treatment.

Communication is also 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.

The process to change a deputy is relatively straightforward. 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 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 by email to Tom.Young@psg-law.co.uk