Following on from last month’s introduction to the Court of Protection where we discussed why having a Lasting Power of Attorney is necessary, I thought that giving a flavour of how the Court deals with LPA applications might be helpful.
Almost all LPA applications are entirely administrative, uncontested and without any need for a hearing. Most are to deal with on- going property and finance decisions and this is the bulk of the work that the Court deals with.
LPA Applications are made using a set of standard forms, which give details to the Court about the person who needs help and support, their background and circumstances and, also, about the person who is applying to be appointed as representative.
Someone appointed to take decisions on behalf of the vulnerable person is referred to as a Deputy (unfortunately the shiny badge and the horse don’t figure in this one!). They have no authority until the Court makes the relevant Order. Before the Order is made available, an indemnity bond to cover the value of the assets has to be taken out, to protect the vulnerable person from loss. The Court sets the terms of this when they make the Order.
Getting the information together for the LPA application can be time- consuming and, sometimes, applications have to be made on the basis of an estimate of worth, with details supplied to the Court as soon as the new Deputy has been able to find out the actual position.
The Deputy is supervised by the Court for as long as they are in post. In a financial matter they have to file accounts and give a report of their actions to the Court annually, so it is a serious responsibility to take on.
The biggest problem in the application process is how long it actually takes to get a decision and the Order from the Court- it isn’t unusual for even simple applications to take 3-4 months and more complex matters can take longer. The hardship and difficulty arising for families can be tough, but acting sooner rather than later- and preparing the application in enough detail- will always help smooth the path.
If you would like to find out more, please contact me. Abbie Howson 01908 662277