How to apply to become a deputy for a person with dementia

This page tells you about the application process for becoming a deputy for a person with dementia.

How to apply

To apply to become a deputy, you will need to submit an application to the Court of Protection. The application process involves providing the court with detailed information about the circumstances and finances of the person with dementia.

To apply to be appointed as deputy, you will need to  complete the following forms:

  • main application form (COP1)
  • Annex A: supporting information for property and affairs (COP1A)
  • Annex B: supporting information for personal welfare applications (COP1B) – for personal welfare deputyship only
  • assessment of capacity (COP3)
  • deputy’s declaration (COP4).

The COP4 declaration will outline your circumstances and include details of the responsibilities and duties you as deputy must carry out. You must be able to assure the court that you have the skills, knowledge and commitment to carry them out. You must also assure them that there is nothing that might make your appointment inappropriate – for example, if you have severe financial or health problems yourself, or are bankrupt.

In some cases you may also need to complete the following:

  • permission of the court to apply (COP2) – this is usual for personal welfare but not property and affairs
  • a witness statement (COP24) – this may be required if you are unable to submit an assessment of capacity form (COP3). The COP24 can be used to explain why you are unable to do so and why you think the person you are applying to be a deputy for lacks capacity.

These forms and further guidance can be obtained from the Court of Protection (see ‘Other useful organisations’). The court may also be able to help you with your application forms, although they are unable to provide legal advice. Alternatively, you can ask a solicitor to make an application on your behalf.

The cost of using a solicitor will usually be paid using the person’s money, although you will need the court’s  permission to do this. The amount the court will authorise for fees is usually fixed or limited. It is important that you discuss fees with the solicitor at the outset so that you know whether the court will authorise paying them. If not, you will have to make up the difference yourself.

Once the forms have been completed and submitted, the Court of Protection will then assess your suitability as a deputy from the information provided. There is also a process for notifying the person you are applying to be a deputy for, and others such as family members or friends of the person.

The application process can be quite long. After applying, you should allow several weeks or even months for a decision. You will also need to pay a court fee. In most cases this money can come from the finances of the person with dementia, but you should check with the court. If you pay this up front and the court decides it is payable by the person with dementia, you can claim it back from them once you have been made their deputy.

Some people can get exemptions or reductions on the fees, depending on the financial position of the person with dementia (or in some cases yourself).

For more information about the current fees, exemptions and reductions, contact the Court of Protection or look at their website (see ‘Other useful organisations’).

Emergency applications

If there is a clear risk that someone may suffer serious loss or harm, you can make an emergency application to the Court of Protection. Situations when this might be appropriate include:

  • if the person needs urgent medical treatment

  • to prevent someone being removed from the place where they live

  • to execute a statutory will or important financial transaction where the person’s life expectancy is very short.

To make your emergency application, phone the court on 0300 456 4600 and ask to speak to an urgent business officer. They will discuss the case with you and make arrangements to receive your application and present it to a judge. There is also a specific emergency applications phone number which is 0207 421 8824 (or 0207 947 6000 out of hours).

National Dementia Helpline
Our helpline advisers are here for you.
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