Supporting you through a deputy application
It’s easy to assume that if you’re married, living together or have a joint bank account, you’ll be able to look after the finances if anything happens to your spouse or partner. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
You could find yourself unable to pay the bills because the family bank account has been frozen. The easiest way to avoid this is to create a Lasting Power of Attorney (or LPA). You’re never too young and it means that everything will be taken care of if you become seriously ill, are injured or are unable to manage your own affairs.
The alternative is making a deputy application to the Court. Here’s a bit about what the process involves.
Starting the process
A deputy order is needed when you’ve already lost the ability to make your own decisions and there is no LPA in place. There are four forms to complete. This includes a capacity assessment where a professional examines you and writes a report to show the court that the order is needed. The application process takes about 6-9 months, which is a long time when there are bills to pay.
A family member or someone close to you will volunteer themselves to be appointed as a deputy. They then need to be approved by the court to manage your affairs. This might not be the person you’d have chosen. The courts are usually reluctant to appoint a full healthcare deputy. They tend to prefer applications relate to specific health and welfare issues, usually when the family, medical team or social care team can’t agree. This could be people who don’t know what you’d choose for yourself.
If you’ve created an LPA chosen your representatives (your attorneys) don’t have to submit annual reports. When the court appoints a deputy on your behalf, they want to keep an eye on things. It means that your deputy must file annual reports to the Office of the Public Guardian to show that they’re looking after your affairs properly.
You won’t be surprised to hear that all the reports and form filling makes a deputy application quite costly and 4 to 6 times the cost of an LPA. Your deputy may need to go through the whole application process again in the future if your deputy needs Court of Protection approval for a decision. Court approval will always be required to sell a property. If you own your house or another property jointly with someone, you’ll also need a separate co-trustee appointment. Which will incur another set of application costs.
Here’s what you can expect to pay for a deputy application:
- Court fee: £371
- Assessment fee for new deputies: £100
- Legal fees: £800 -£1,500 per application.
- Capacity assessment: £250 up to a couple of thousand.
- Ongoing deputy fee: approximately £320 per year.
Rosie has worked in financial services for 18 years and is a chartered financial planner. Training with the Institute of Professional Will Writers has taken her back to her legal routes of 20 years ago. She graduated with a LLB (Hons) law degree and has previously worked in a legal practice.
She works directly with private clients and professionals ensuring that their personal and business estate planning is fit for purpose and that it is reviewed on a regular basis. Taking account of the ever-changing circumstances that are inevitable in life.