If you lack capacity and need the support of a professional deputy to manage your personal and financial affairs, it is essential that you are working with the best person to make important decisions for you.
Sometimes, due to a vast range of reasons and changes of circumstances, it may be necessary to change professional deputy. Someone with more experience in Court of Protection may be needed or the relationship between deputy and client may have become strained. Here, we discuss why you might need to change professional deputy and the process for doing so.
What is a Court of Protection Professional Deputy?
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 cases, 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 for the management of the individual’s affairs. Communication is crucial when acting as a deputy to ensure key people are up to date and understand why decisions have been made on the clients behalf. In some cases, the deputy may act as a joint deputy or will 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.
Can I change Professional Deputy?
Yes, you are able to change a professional deputy. 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. It will be necessary to consult the existing deputy and seek their views regarding the proposed change and if appropriate to proceed to, an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection. When the application is being processed, the current deputy will remain active.
Reasons to Change a Professional Deputy
There are many reasons why a change in deputy may be the best option, there may be a change of circumstance or the deputy may have chosen to retire. Other potential reasons may include:
- 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.
What is the Process for Changing a Professional Deputy?
The application to transfer a professional deputy in cases where the relationship has broken down is generally straightforward. 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 and should only be concerned with the interests of the client.
Once the professional deputy has been changed, the previous deputy will be required to provide details of all ongoing matters that the new deputy should be aware of. This will allow all parties to understand what is happening.
Changing Professional Deputy with Price Slater Gawne
At Price Slater Gawne we are happy to assist with this type of application. 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.