A deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions in the best interest of someone who has lost the mental capacity to make those decisions and has not made a Lasting Power of Attorney appointment.
To apply to be a deputy, you need to be over 18 years of age. You also need to be of demonstrably good character which means that you might not be able to be a deputy if you have a criminal record or have been declared bankrupt.
If you are going to act as someone’s deputy, it is also important that you know the person well. The Court of Protection is likely to ask you what your relationship is with the person you want to be a deputy for. This will include how often you see them and how involved you are in their life. The most important quality that you must have as a deputy is that you must always have the best interests of the individual in mind.
You will have to complete an annual deputyship report and submit this to the Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”). It is the OPG’s role to supervise you and ensure that you are acting in the person’s best interests in all the decisions you make.
A deputy can be a family member or a friend and this is known as a ‘lay deputy.’ In more complex cases, it might be more appropriate to appoint a professional deputy, and there are some solicitors that are able to take on this role.