Court Of Protection | Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the Court of Protection and who does it help?
The Court of Protection (COP) is a specialist court which is responsible for making decisions relating to the management of finances and other affairs of those individuals who lack the mental capacity to do so themselves. The COP protects the most vulnerable people in our society.
Q. What is the Office of the Public Guardian?
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) protects people in England and Wales who may not have the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves, such as about their health and finance. The OPG supervises deputies and attorneys to ensure that they are acting appropriately and within their authority. All Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) have to be registered with the OPG before they can be used. The OPG will also look into reports of abuse against registered attorneys or deputies.
Q. What does a Court of Protection solicitor do and when should you speak to one?
If you or a loved one loses capacity and has not made a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) then you will need to speak to a COP solicitor about making a Deputyship application. It is more common to have a Deputy appointed for Property & Financial Affairs as the COP accepts that medical professionals are best placed to make decisions on someone's welfare, however that is not always the case. A COP solicitor can assist in Deputyship applications, appointing a friend or family as Deputy, or in some cases appointing a professional Deputy. They can also assist in Statutory Will applications or applications regarding a specific issue on welfare, such a contact with specific family members.
Q. What is a deputy?
A Deputy is someone who is authorised to make decisions on behalf of someone who lacks capacity to make certain decisions for themselves. Deputies can be appointed to deal with someone's property and financial affairs or health and welfare – although the latter is less common. Deputies can be a friend or family member, or if there is no one appropriate to act in this role then a professional Deputy can be appointed. Sometimes the court will appointed a Professional Panel Deputy (there are currently 71 on the OPG's panel). Lin Whitehead is one of two Office of the Public Guardian Panel Deputies for Norfolk and Suffolk and is often appointed directly by the Court of Protection to act in complex cases or when an independent person is recommended.
Q. What decisions are made in the Court of Protection?
The COP is responsible for deciding whether someone has mental capacity to make a particular decision, gives people authority to make one off decisions for someone who lacks capacity, makes decisions on applications to make Statutory Wills or for attorneys to make gifts and appoints Deputies to make ongoing decisions for people who are deemed to be unable to make decisions for themselves.
Q. What is the process of making a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you instruct Clapham & Collinge to prepare your Lasting Powers of Attorneys, you will come in for a meeting where we will take some information and provide advice on what type of LPA is appropriate for you and advice on when and how it can be used and who to appoint as attorneys. We will prepare drafts in the first instance for you to review, before arranging for the final documents to be signed. We recommend registering the Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) once they have been signed so as to avoid delays in the future when they do need to be used. We will also deal with this for you and so once signed, we will send to the OPG to be registered. We store the originals for you and provide you with certified copies for your reference.
To find out more or discuss your individual requirements in further detail, our dedicated Court of Protection team will be delighted to help. Contact us today on 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form on our website. Appointments are available at our Norwich, North Walsham and Sheringham offices.