First things first
There are a number of matters that need to be addressed on receipt of the Deputyship Order. Firstly, the Protected Party must be personally notified on Form COP14 within 14 days of receipt of the Order. If the Protected Party resides in a care home, then they should also be provided with the copy of the Deputy order and informed that any future financial queries should be directed to the Deputy. The Protected Party’s relatives should also be informed that the Deputy Order has been made and the appointed social worker if one is appointed.
All banks with whom the Protected Party holds accounts with should be informed of the appointment of a Deputy to ensure that the Deputy has access to the Protected Party’s funds. If it is unclear where the Protected Party holds funds, a general letter can be sent to various banks providing the Protected Party’s name, address and date of birth to ascertain the Protected Party’s financial position. If necessary, a Deputyship account can be opened to ensure all the Protected Party’s funds are kept separate from the Deputy’s funds. Also, if the Protected Party holds a lot of funds, it may be necessary to transfer some funds into a savings account, such as NS&I, to ensure the funds accrue a better rate of interest. Independent financial advice may have to be sought to ascertain where best to place the funds.
A Deputy is required to ensure that the Protected Party is in receipt of any benefits that the Protected Party is eligible for, whether that be attendance allowance, when over the age of 65, or Disability Living Allowance for example. A benefits assessment may be required to confirm what benefits a Protected Party is entitled to. The Protected Party’s local council can also confirm whether they would be entitled to any direct payments for their care. The Deputy must inform any Pension Providers of the appointment of a Deputy also.
If the Protected Party holds any property, a Court of Protection restriction should be added to the register of title to protect the property. This is done by submitting Form RX1 to the Land Registry enclosing the Deputy Order and fee of £90.00 if sent by post and £45.00 if submitted online per restriction entered. The Deputy should inform all utility providers of the appointment of a Deputy and possibly amend the correspondence address if required. Also, a redirection of the post, in general, may be necessary. An application can be made to The Royal Mail to put this into place for 6 months or a year. Where the Protected Party’s property is unoccupied, unoccupied property insurance or contents insurance may be required, otherwise, all insurance policies should be checked to ensure full cover. A review of any property and an assessment as to any action needed to secure or maintain the value is required.
If the Protected Party resides at their home, their care plan may need to be reviewed to ensure they are receiving the right level of care. Assessments may be required to establish the level of care required, either through the council or privately. Also, adaptations may need to be made to the property so that the Protected Party can move around the property at ease. An occupational therapist could assist with this.
The Protected Party’s Will should be obtained and the contents should be reviewed. A separate capacity assessment may be required to make any amendments to the Protected Party’s Will.
A Deputy should normally ensure that a Protected Party’s family is kept informed of any decisions regarding their care or well-being and ensure those decisions are made having taken the Protected Party’s wishes into account. Ideally, they should be kept aware of all expenditure, but that does depend on the circumstances.
A deputy has to act in the persons best interests in terms of expenditure. This includes balancing the budget so as expenditure is sustainable while delivering the maximum benefit.
Deputies had a duty to consider regularly whether there has been and changes to capacity and if a transfer to family members is desirable.
There are also some annual requirements which a Deputy is required to follow. The Court of Protection rules states that Deputy Costs should be assessed on an annual basis. A letter to the costs draftsmen should be prepared to detail all the work carried out throughout the given year to enable them to prepare a provisional bill of costs. Also, an annual report must be filed with the Office of the Public Guardian, unless the matter has been allocated a low level of supervision. The annual report accounts to the Court for all other expenditure within the given Deputy year. An annual fee in respect of the Deputy surety bond will need to be paid and also, an annual Deputy supervision fee will need to be paid to the OPG.