What is a Lay Deputy?
Charlene Hughes, Boyes Turner
When someone lacks the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves, an application can be made to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a deputy. It is possible for someone to have a professional deputy or a lay deputy.
A lay deputy is usually a friend or family member of the person who lacks the capacity to make decisions for themselves.
Anyone acting as a deputy must:
- Make sure that they only make decisions that they are authorised to make by the order of the Court.
- Make sure they follow the five statutory principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
- Always make decisions in the person’s best interests.
- Have regard to guidance in the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice that is relevant to the situation.
- Fulfil their duties towards the person concerned.
Duties of a deputy:
These may include:
- Completing an annual report for the Office of the Public Guardian.
- Completing tax returns.
- Ensuring the appropriate state benefits are received.
- Arranging investment of funds.
- Arranging the purchase of a suitable property and or specialist equipment.
- Appointing a case manager and recruiting a care team.
The Court of Protection team at Boyes Turner can assist and advise a lay deputy as required with the above. We can also assist you with completing the deputyship application to the Court including obtaining the necessary medical evidence.
When not to make a decision
If a decision you wish to make is not included in the order of the Court, you may apply to the Court to either make the decision required or to change your powers so that you can make the decision required.
There are a number of restrictions on deputy powers. For example, a deputy cannot refuse the provision or continuation of life-sustaining treatment or consent to a person’s marriage, civil partnership or divorce.
Can I get paid as lay deputy?
A lay deputy cannot charge for the time they spend performing their duties as a deputy unless it is explicitly stated in the order of the Court. However, a lay deputy can be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred acting as deputy. This may include telephone calls, travel and postage. The expenses you can claim and what is considered reasonable will vary in each case.
How can we help?
If you have any queries or questions about being a lay deputy then please contact our specialist Court of Protection team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlene Hughes is an Associate Solicitor at Boyes Turner LLP in the Court of Protection team. Charlene specialises in property and affairs Deputyships for clients, adults and children, who have an acquired brain injury due to an accident or clinical negligence. Charlene also deals with PI Trusts and more specialist one-off Court applications such as Statutory Wills and Gifts.