Should I choose a professional or a family member as a deputy?
- AuthorJac Staddon
There are a number of factors to think about when considering the type of deputy that is most suitable for your loved one’s circumstances. Jac Staddon, a Director in the Court of Protection team at JCP Solicitors explains more:
If a loved one, of any age, has suffered a brain injury or defect due to a disability, accident, disease or illness, the Court of Protection may be required to assist with decisions regarding their property, financial affairs and personal welfare.
The Court of Protection is a specialist court responsible for safeguarding the rights of those who are deemed to lack the mental capacity to make a particular decision for themselves. It is important to remember that the existence of a condition or illness does not automatically mean that a person may lack capacity and a professional assessment is required to determine this. The law around whether a person has capacity in relation to specific issues is complex and it is always best to seek legal advice to determine the best course of action.
If your loved one has not already put a Power of Attorney in place, The Court of Protection is able to allocate its powers and the person(s) it allocates these powers to is called a ‘Deputy’. Deputies can be Professional or Lay. A Lay Deputy would usually be a family member or close friend. A Professional Deputy would be a solicitor or other qualified professional with experience in managing the affairs of vulnerable adults and with extensive knowledge of the area.
All Deputies have a duty to act in the best interests of the person they represent and there are strict rules, obligations and detailed guidelines set out by the Court of Protection and the Office of the Public Guardian which must be adhered to. At JCP Solicitors we believe that there are many benefits to instructing a Professional Deputy. These include:
- Professional Deputies can assist when family members are unwilling or unable to help, or where there are complex family dynamics and issues to manage
- Professional Deputies will have an in-depth knowledge of the Mental Capacity Act (2005), the OPG Deputy Standards and extensive experience in preparing and submitting annual reports
- Professional Deputies have experience in working alongside litigation solicitors to claim compensation in respect of personal injury and will ensure that any award is managed as efficiently as possible
- Professional Deputies will usually have experience in dealing with large compensation awards, investment and property portfolios, benefits, tax and complicated financial affairs
- Professional Deputies can be impartial if there is family conflict and can objectively make decisions in the best interest of the individual whose affairs are being managed.
- In the case of instructing a solicitor as a professional Deputy, they would also be governed by strict rules and regulations set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
- Professional Deputies will have vast networks of professionals working in the brain injury field who can assist with case management, physiotherapy, rehabilitation and the like
- Professional Deputies have a wealth of knowledge and often have decades of experience and teams on hand to support what they do
The Office of the Public Guardian has recently published a refreshed set of Deputy Standards in February 2023 which applies to both lay and professional deputies. It is imperative that the standards are adhered to in order to successfully fulfil the role.
We have had a number of clients over the years who have regained the capacity to manage their own affairs and we are so proud of each individual and their huge successes.
At JCP Solicitors our core aim is to ensure our clients live as full a life as possible after their accident or illness. For more information you can contact me, Jac Staddon, on 03333 208644 or email email@example.com