Should you be looking for ways to support a vulnerable family member, such as with their finances and assets, a Court of Protection Order may be a suitable venue for you.
Our team of Court of Protection solicitors understand the sensitive nature of this topic, and so to provide essential support during this time, we have prepared the following blog to explain what a Court of Protection Order is, and the benefits it can have for an individual and their family as a whole.
What is a court of protection order and what does court of protection do?
Typically, with a Court of Protection Order, authority is given by the Court that enables a person to make decisions on behalf of another person who is mentally incapable of doing so themselves. This person is referred to as a Deputy.
Authority is given to another person of good standing such as a family member or, in some circumstances, a solicitor, to manage money and assets, such as property, as well as sell a house and manage bills to make sure the individual is provided for.
A person who has been assigned a Deputy under a Court Order is referred to as the patient or a protected party, and any actions undertaken by the Deputy must always be in the individual's best interest.
What is the difference between Court of Protection and power of attorney?
The actual activities of the two are very similar, however, it is simply just the process that you take to obtain either one that differs.
For example, a Power of Attorney can be executed by the individual themselves – in order to do this, they need to have capacity. This option is often taken by older individuals who no longer wish to deal with their assets or feel overwhelmed by keeping track of their finances and require additional support. A Power of Attorney will continue if capacity is lost afterwards.
If an individual doesn’t have a Power of Attorney and they lose capacity, this is then where a Court of Protection Order is put in place, as they can no longer make a power of attorney.
When this occurs, the Court makes the decision to appoint a Deputy, who is heavily regulated by the Office of Public Guardian. The Deputy reports to the Office of the Public Guardian annually, informing them of significant decisions made, and accounting for all money saved and spent.
However, a Power of Attorney does not need this level of supervision, as they have been nominated as a trusted individual by the person who put this order in place.
What happens at a court of protection hearing?
A Court of Protection hearing involves the judge reviewing the application and coming to a decision. They will also consider any objections in their decision to ensure a Court of Protection Order is the best course of action going forwards.
In most cases, the Court of Protection Order deal with these matters without an attended hearing as often, they are straightforward and not objected to.
Until earlier in 2022, Court of Protection Order hearings were closed to the public.
How long does the Court of Protection procedure take?
The Court of Protection timescales depend on the specific individual circumstances.
Typically, the process will take anywhere from four to six months for the Order to be obtained, however, they are taking longer at the present time.
Furthermore, where complications or objections arise, the process can be lengthened as negotiations are carried out to reach a beneficial conclusion for the parties involved.
How can Smith Partnership’s Court of Protection Solicitors help?
We are often approached by family members and care organisations who need guidance on the Court of Protection procedure, such as receiving help with the application process.
Our team of Court of Protection solicitors can work closely with you to help you with your application, taking your instruction to ensure everything is done in line with your needs and wishes.
Additionally, we can assist where family members are not present. For example, social workers or people from care homes can approach us regarding an individual where care fees are not being paid, and no one has the legal authority to do it. In this case, Smith Partnership can apply to be appointed as a Deputy.
If you wish to contact someone regarding a Court of Protection Order, please get in touch with the team to find out more.