The appointment of a professional Deputy to manage your property and financial affairs can be daunting. You might not know what to expect or how they work. For most people it is common to feel defensive as our finances are one of the most private matters in all of our lives.
What is the role of a professional Deputy?
A professional Deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection to manage a person’s property and financial affairs when they lack capacity to manage their own finances. This could be due to a number of factors such as a personal injury they have suffered or due to illness. A professional Deputy acting for a person lacking mental capacity are under a legal duty under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) to act in their best interests and take all practical steps to assist them in making decision for themselves.
Once a Deputy has been appointed they should seek to arrange a meeting with you to discuss your life, what support you may require and a draft budget for managing your finances. If the funds involved are substantial they should also discuss how they intend to invest the funds on your behalf. The Deputy should take your views into consideration whenever possible and the views of those closest to you such as family members when considering any requests for funds you may have.
After your initial meeting, you should expect to have a meeting with your Deputy once a year in order to review your finances and to ensure you are happy with how the Deputy is managing your finances. The Deputy will review any care plan you may have in place and discuss any benefits you are receiving or may have become entitled to. They will discuss any goals you may have and how these could be funded.
Your Deputy should not seek to restrict any of your goals simply because they think they are unwise or because they personally do not agree with them.
Common queries regarding the appointment of a professional Deputy
Below are some common questions which you may think of when a professional Deputy is first appointed on your behalf:
Can a Deputy decide where I live?
A property and financial affairs Deputy cannot decide where you live as this relates to your health and welfare not your personal finances.
Can I still manage my own bank account with a professional Deputy?
If the Deputy is happy that you have the capacity to manage a bank account they should allow you to do so. The Deputy should try and promote your financial independence as much as possible given your circumstances.
Can I still make gifts to family members or close friends?
A Deputy only has limited authority to make gifts on your behalf on customary occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. Such gifts have to be affordable compared to the value of your assets. Any other gifts will need to be authorised by the Court of Protection.
Can I still buy a property with a professional Deputy?
You can still buy a property with a deputy appointed on your behalf, but they will need to be involved in the process. A restriction will also need to be entered to prevent the sale of the property without the Deputies consent.
How Nelsons can help
At Nelsons, we have extensive experience in challenging decisions made by a Deputy and carrying out applications to have a Deputy removed and replaced. If you are unhappy with how your Deputy is managing your finances we can provide advice and solutions.