Managing the property and affairs of the protected party is an extremely important role for the deputy.
The deputy must always be conscious that they are looking after “other people’s money” and should spend those funds wisely.
Many times, I have heard family members say, “the deputy is very good because they provide funds when we request it”. On other occasions family members will say “this deputy never provides funds when we request, although the money does not belong to the deputy”.
It is a dilemma and one that needs to be looked at every time funds are being requested. Is the request for money reasonable? Will it benefit the protected party, or is it for the benefit of the family?
Underpinning this is budget planning of the funds the deputy holds. It is important that budgets are reviewed annually. This will ensure that the funds are not being spent too fast or indeed the opposite.
In the absence of budget planning, this could embarrass the deputy in the long run – vast overspending of the money could lead to long term problems. This is particularly evident in personal injury cases where a compensation award would have been made. The award is usually to last for life.
It is therefore crucial for the deputy to budget and to review on a regular basis throughout the year.
Sensible dialogue with the family throughout the year is important. If on occasions the deputy declines to release funds and explains why, the family would have a better understanding behind this and would hopefully appreciate why in the long run we are protecting the assets of the protected party.
Budget planning is extremely important and more so for lay deputies who may not have a full grasp of this enormous role. Seeking the views of an Independent Financial Adviser is one that should also be considered.