Following on from our article on the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorneys (LPAs), this tells you what happens if you do not have LPAs.
Once you have lost capacity an attorney cannot be appointed. An application has to be made to the Court of Protection, usually by close relatives or friends, to appoint a deputy, or deputies, to act for you.
A property and finance deputy must have skills to make financial decisions for someone else. An application must be made detailing everyone applying for deputyship, why they are needed, and why those named should be selected. A list of interested parties must also be supplied (other relatives, friends, healthcare workers) and a notice sent to each, allowing them to object. A separate court order to sell a property that’s jointly owned may be needed.
Finance deputies must ensure all property and money is held separately from their own, may be required to manage a Court Funds Office account in addition and submit annual accounts.
Personal welfare deputies must also get permission. This involves completing various forms, one of which must be signed by the person’s doctor or healthcare worker.
A deputy cannot make the decision to stop life-sustaining treatments (unlike an attorney in an LPA if given this power).
Some professionals are paid to act as deputies (accountants, solicitors, the local authority). The Court can appoint a specialist deputy from an approved list if they reject the people who have applied, which often happens.
Initial costs include £400 application fee plus £500 if the Court requests a hearing. An annual supervision fee – usually £320 – and a £100 fee for the assessment of a new deputy also applies. There is an annual insurance “bond” set by the Court that can be anywhere between £100 and £500. Fixed rates apply if the Court appoints a professional which are £1,500 plus VAT for the first year and £1,185 plus VAT for each year thereafter.
Where the assets are below £16,000, a professional finance deputy may take an annual fee up to 4.5%. Where the court appoints a professional welfare deputy (social services), they may take an annual fee up to 2.5% capped at £500. Annual charges for the report, accounts and HMRC tax return also apply.
The only way to ensure the people you choose can make decisions for you is to draw up Lasting Powers of Attorneys. They must be registered before they can be used which takes weeks and therefore we never recommend not registering them immediately. If in doubt please contact Good Wills and / or speak to your GP.