The first step is to establish whether your Aunt has made an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney. An Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney will appoint attorneys who will be able to deal with your Aunt’s financial affairs. (It is no longer possible to make a new Enduring Power of Attorney but if your Aunt has one then this would still be valid). If your Aunt has not made an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney then it needs to be established if she has mental capacity to make one now. If there is any doubt then a medical practitioner will be asked for their opinion. If your Aunt does not have capacity then you will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed the Property and Affairs Deputy for your Aunt.
A Deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the property and financial affairs or the personal welfare of another person who is unable to manage their own affairs due to mental incapacity.
The Deputy should be a suitable person to take on the responsibility. Usually the Deputy will be a family member or close friend. The Deputy can be a professional person such as a Solicitor or Accountant.
A Deputy will be appointed if the Court decides that a person lacks mental capacity and has financial assets, which need to be administered, or requires a Personal Welfare Deputy to make decisions for him or her of a welfare nature.
The duties of the Deputy are set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and this Act lays down the principles, which a Deputy must follow. The Court order sets out the responsibilities and powers of the Deputy.
A Property and Affairs Deputy looks after someone’s finances, which will include managing bank accounts, paying bills, claiming benefits and even selling property. Some decisions will require the Court’s approval. The Deputy must prepare a report for the Court each year setting out decisions made by the Deputy and showing the financial transactions throughout the year. A Personal Welfare Deputy will make decisions relating to someone’s welfare such as relating to medical treatment decisions or long-term care.
We can help in advising further on these matters and with preparing applications to the Court of Protection. We can also help deputies in managing a person’s financial affairs and preparing the Deputyship report.
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