We are experiencing delays of over 7-8 months in Deputyship applications to the Court of Protection, compared to 7-8 weeks to register a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”). Another great reason why all clients should consider preparing an LPA if they have the mental capacity to do so.
Here at Clarion, we frequently prepare applications to the Court of Protection for one or more persons to be appointed as Deputy for another individual who lacks mental capacity. A Deputyship, in simple terms, is authority from the Court of Protection to manage that person’s financial affairs, or make specific decisions regarding their health and welfare.
Applying for a Deputyship
Typically, a Deputyship application is required when an individual has not prepared a valid and useable power of attorney whilst they had the mental capacity to do so. As documents such as LPAs (or Enduring Powers of Attorney pre-October 2007) can only be created when an individual has mental capacity to sign such a document, if they’re no longer capable, a Deputyship is often the only way someone can then manage their property and financial affairs. This may be required if someone needs to sell their house, manage their bank accounts and investments and pay their bills.
A Deputyship application is generally more time consuming, and therefore more costly, compared to the preparation of an LPA. The initial Court application fee alone is currently £385, compared to £82 for an LPA. Depending on the complexity of the Deputyship application, the legal fees can also be often more than two or three times that of an LPA.
Furthermore, with a Deputyship, there are ongoing annual fees payable to the Court, as well as insurance and annual reporting requirements, neither of which are typically required with an LPA.
Why an LPA is always a good idea
For years, we at Clarion have therefore advocated that everyone, at whatever age, puts an LPA in place if they have the mental capacity to do so. We see it as a form of insurance policy: it may never be required, you may have the capacity and ability to manage your financial affairs for the duration of your life, but if you sadly do not, having an LPA in place means someone you choose and trust can take over the responsibility for you.
Recent statistics show that the Court of Protection received 23,403 applications under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 during the first three quarters of 2018, of which over 15,000 were applications for property and affairs deputies. This equates to hundreds every week. When the Court has a manageable amount of applications, a Deputyship application can take around 12 weeks to obtain from when the paperwork is submitted to Court. This is compared to usually around 6 to 8 weeks for an LPA. The Court is currently so busy that we are now experiencing delays of 7-8 months to get the Deputyship order. We have had applications with the Court since May/June 2018 and we are still awaiting the final order. During this time, no one has legal authority to manage the incapacitated person’s affairs. We are often successful in obtaining interim Court orders for specific urgent issues; however, these are also not being issued as quickly as was previously the case.
As a result, we wish to highlight once again, the importance and benefit of having an LPA in place whilst a client has capacity to do so. It can avoid the need to go through the Deputyship application process and any unnecessary delays in managing your affairs.
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