Deputies are appointed by the Court of Protection to look after the financial affairs of a person who is mentally incapacitated. This covers adults with a brain injury, learning difficulties and mental health problems.
You’ll need to consider appointing a deputy if you are acting for:
- A child who is unlikely to have capacity at the age of 18 or
- An adult who lacks capacity
An adult may have a close family member or friend who can be trusted to act as deputy and manage their finances. However, where close family members are dependent on the injured client for their accommodation and/or income, it’s usually advisable to appoint a professional deputy instead of a family member. The deputy must keep their own finances separate from that of the injured client and must not benefit personally from deputyship funds.
In the case of a brain injured child who lives with their parents, it’s likely that the deputyship funds may well be used to contribute towards accommodation costs and household bills and maybe also to compensate the parents for the additional care they provide. This results in a conflict of interest between the child and their parents which means that it is usually not appropriate for the parents to act as deputies without the involvement of a professional deputy.
Deputies are supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian and must file annual reports and accounts. Deputies must take out a security bond so that there is insurance cover if the deputy is negligent or fraudulent.
If there’s no professional deputy, the OPG will set a higher level of supervision and the cost of the security bond will also be higher.
The legal fees charged by a professional deputy must be assessed by the court.