I often see clients who find themselves in the difficult situation of having to manage the affairs of a loved one or those of somebody else, but without the means to do so, namely a Lasting Power of Attorney.
In this situation there are two choices. You can apply to become a Deputy or an appointee.
A Deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection to look after either a person’s property and financial affairs or their health and welfare.
The Deputy or Deputies are supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian. A Deputy takes full responsibility for managing all an individuals finances, including savings, pensions, benefits and managing other assets.
The other option, to become an Appointee, is more straightforward. They too are appointed to assist someone who cannot manage their own affairs because they are mentally incapable, severely disabled or ill. However, an Appointee has very limited powers. They cannot really help anybody make decisions. Their role, having effectively been appointed by the Department for Work & Pensions, is to manage a person’s State Benefits by making or maintaining benefit claims, and to pay bills.
So which is the best option? The powers of an Appointee are limited but if someone’s sole income is derived from State Benefits then this may be enough, and is a much less costly option than having to seek Deputyship. It is worth considering though that if you are applying to be a Deputy for someone in receipt of certain benefits, you may receive a considerable discount on the fees.
Further information on becoming an Appointee can be obtained here
As always, it is best to seek professional advice from an experienced legal advisor. If you have any questions about making decisions on behalf of someone else, or you need to seek appointment as a Deputy please contact Associate Solicitor James Trescothick-Martin who has experience of this and related matters in the Court of Protection.
Image by Tim Samoff under a Creative Commons Licence