Deputies and dementia - frequently asked questions
Read the most common queries that are asked about becoming a deputy for someone with dementia.
- Types of deputyship
- Duties of a deputy and limits to a deputy's powers
- How to apply to become a deputy for a person with dementia
- Who to inform when you become a deputy
- Supervision and support from the Office of the Public Guardian
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Frequently asked questions
As a deputy, can I give gifts on behalf of my relative?
It is normally possible for a deputy to make limited gifts on the person’s behalf, but this will depend upon the details of the deputyship order, so it’s always best to check the order first. Some things that might be relevant are:
- The finances of the person with dementia – a deputy would not be able to make a gift that would adversely affect the person’s finances. For example, if the person had £50,000 in savings and this was being used to pay for their care, a gift worth £30,000 would hugely affect their savings and ability to pay for their own care.
- What the person has done in the past – for example, if they have always given gifts to family members or friends for their birthdays, celebrations or holidays, then generally a deputy can continue to do this for the person. You would still need to consider the amount of the gift and make sure it is reasonable. The court may refer back to the deputyship application. This might show what kinds of gifts the person with dementia has previously given. This can provide guidance for the deputy and the court when deciding about giving gifts.
- A deputy should involve the person with dementia (where possible) in decisions such as giving a gift. They should also take into account the past wishes and feelings of the person.
If you are unsure whether you can make a gift, you can refer to the OPG for guidance. You should do this if you are thinking of making anything more than a small gift, or if you are unsure whether even a small gift is appropriate. In some circumstances, especially if involving a large gift, the Court of Protection may need to make the final decision.
When acting as a deputy, can I claim for any out-of-pocket expenses?
Yes. When acting as someone’s deputy you can claim for certain expenses, as long as they are reasonable. People often don’t claim back expenses for a variety of reasons, but no one should be left out of pocket for acting as a deputy. If you are acting on behalf of a friend or relative, they probably wouldn’t want you to pay these expenses yourself.
You can only claim for certain expenses when they are for the purposes of performing your role as a deputy – for example, postage costs, car parking tickets and travel expenses incurred through carrying out your duties. You cannot charge for travel costs for a general family visit.
Non-professional deputies, such as relatives or friends, cannot charge for their time.