You can apply for the right to deal with the welfare benefits of someone who cannot manage their own affairs because they are physically or mentally incapable of doing so themselves at that time.

Power of attorney

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint people to make decisions on your behalf if you became unable to make your own decisions.

You must be 18 or over and have the ability to make your own decisions when you make your lasting power of attorney. If you do not have mental capacity you may need a court-appointed deputy.

Court-appointed deputy

A deputy is someone appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions for someone who is unable to do so alone. They are responsible for doing so until the person they are acting for dies or is able to make decisions on their own again.

The court will not appoint someone as deputy if the person is able to make their own decisions. You may be able to make a lasting power of attorney instead.

Successive deputies

The Court of Protection has reached a landmark decision on the appointment of successive deputies for children and young people who do not have capacity and whose parents want to manage their affairs over the age of 18.

The Court found that many parents were wrongly told that they could only get deputyship in the Court of Protection relating to property and affairs, not health and personal welfare.

Another misconception is that parents can get Power of Attorney. (To grant a lasting Power of Attorney, the young person has to understand their rights and what they are giving away.)

The issue of successive deputies has always been difficult. The Court has now agreed to set out criteria and practice for the appointment of successive deputies. This effectively changes the law in this area. This will give peace of mind to parents, who can help to choose who will be looking after their child when they are no longer able to do so.

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