Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection
The role of the court of protection
The Court of Protection is a specialist court for all issues relating to people who lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves. As the population ages, the function of the Court will become more relevant and familiar to the average family.
The role of the Court is to help, protect and empower people who lack capacity for reasons such as dementia, stroke disability, mental illness, learning disability, or brain injuries caused by accidents or medical negligence.
What type of decisions can the court make?
- Appoint a Deputy to make ongoing decisions on behalf of a person who lacks capacity in relation to their property and affairs or personal welfare
- Authorise the Deputy to sell a property or to purchase or rent suitable alternative accommodation
- Authorise the Deputy to invest capital savings and the net proceeds of sale of any property
- Sanction the making of gifts or tax planning on behalf of the person lacking capacity
- Authorise payment of care fees and make general provision for a person’s wellbeing
- Where a person has no capacity to make or amend a Will, the Court may make a statutory Will on their behalf
- Make decisions in serious medical treatment cases which relate to the provision of, or withdrawal or withholding of treatment from a person who lacks capacity
What types of decision can the Court make?
When is an application to the Court of Protection necessary?
If one of your relatives is diagnosed with dementia, or suffers a stroke and has been assessed as being unable to live independently after leaving hospital, it is likely they will need help with decision making, or will need decisions made on their behalf unless they have appropriate Powers of Attorney in place , then an application to the Court of Protection may be required .
The Court will act on the behalf of a person who lacks capacity and can appoint a deputy (usually a family member, close friend or solicitor) to deal with their property and financial affairs. If particular decisions need to be made on health or welfare matters, the family can ask the Court to decide the issue. The Court also has the power to appoint a health and welfare Deputy, though such appointments are relatively rare.
How is the Court of Protection related to the Office of the Public Guardian?
- Supervising deputies
- Keeping registers of deputies, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Attorney
- Investigating any complaints about attorneys or deputies
The Public Guardian (supported by the Office of the Public Guardian) is responsible under the Mental Capacity Act for:
How do I make a court application?
You may wish to appoint a solicitor to assist you with any application to the Court of Protection and if so, we will be able to assist you. Alternatively you may consider making the application to the court yourself in which case further information can be found on the website www.direct.gov.uk or www.justice.gov.uk