Court appoints deputy for patient unable to manage her affairs

The Court of Protection has appointed a deputy to look after the interests of a woman who lacked capacity to manage her property and affairs.

The woman was 71 and prior to becoming ill, had not set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, which would have enabled her to appoint someone in advance to look after her affairs if she became unable to do so herself.

This meant the court had to appoint someone on her behalf.

The woman lived in an area where the relevant care services were provided by Focus Independent Adult Social Work CIC. The deputyship that it managed was previously administered by the local authority, prior to restructuring.

The head of business development at Focus applied in her capacity as an officeholder, not as a named individual, to be appointed as the woman’s deputy.

The Public Guardian objected to the appointment of an officeholder without specifying the named individual because of concerns about the ability to monitor the suitability of any replacement officeholder.

The Court of Protection noted the Guardian’s concerns but approved the appointment of the Focus officeholder. However, it included a requirement that the holder at the date of appointment notify the Public Guardian if they ceased to hold that office.

The Public Guardian might then refer the matter to the court if appropriate.

Many people dread losing the capacity to make decisions for themselves as they get older, as happened to the lady in this case.

One of the best ways to protect yourself in the future is to set up a lasting power of attorney (LPA) now while you are still fit and active.

LPAs enable you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity.

The property and finance LPA allows you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs and the personal welfare LPA lets you grant an attorney authority over such matters as health care and the kind of treatment you receive.

Please contact us if you would like more information about lasting powers of attorney or the issues raised in this article.