The court has some restrictions on who it appoints as deputies. Check the key responsibilities of a deputy and the penalties for mistreatment or neglect.
You must be at least 18 years old to apply to become a deputy for another person.
In most cases, deputies will be relatives or close friends of the person needing help to make decisions.
There are extra responsibilities for property and affairs deputies. You must have the skills for making financial decisions on behalf of someone else.
There can be circumstances when there is more than one deputy. That is because a court may decide to appoint two or more deputies responsible the same person.
When you are not the only deputy you must inform the court, at the time you apply, how you will make decisions. As a rule, decision making for deputies will be (either):
Certain 'court-approved professionals' get paid to act as people's deputies. Typical examples include accountants, representatives of the local authority, and solicitors.
The Court of Protection may decide to appoint a panel deputy if no one else is willing or available. It would be a specialist chosen from a list of approved law firms and charity organisations.
Anyone acting as a deputy is responsible for someone who is lacking mental capacity. That means you must help them to make decisions or, in some cases, make decisions on their behalf.
Note: You cannot assume that the person's mental capacity will be the same at all times (or for everything). So, you must consider their level of mental capacity each time you make a decision on their behalf.
The Court of Protection will send you a court order which states what you can and what you must not do. You can read more on the general rules (with examples) in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice.
As a deputy making a decision for someone who lacks mental capacity, you must:
All deputies must not:
If you are acting as someone's property and affairs deputy you will need to make sure:
In some cases, you will also need to manage a Court Funds Office account on behalf of the other person.
Note: Mistreating or neglecting the person on purpose can result in a fine or a prison sentence for up to 5 years (or both).
Responsibilities of Being Someone's Deputy in the United Kingdom