Becoming a deputy for a person with dementia

There may come a time when a person with dementia cannot make significant decisions for themselves. This is more likely during the moderate to advanced stages of dementia. In this situation, someone else may need to make decisions on their behalf. It is usually best for people with dementia to choose someone, while they can, using what is known as a Lasting Power of Attorney. If they haven't done this, then someone can take on this decision-making role by becoming a deputy. This page outlines the responsibilities of a deputy, how to apply to become one, and factors to consider before deciding to do so.

This information is for people living in England and Wales. 

As dementia progresses, people become less able to make significant decisions for themselves, such as where they will live, or about medical treatment. They may also become unable to manage their personal affairs. In these cases, someone can take over the responsibility for them, as long as they have the legal power to do so.

Some people with dementia will already have plans in place for a time in the future when they cannot make their own decisions. They may have put a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney in place. However, if the person with dementia has not previously done this, and a carer feels they need to make decisions on their behalf, they will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become their deputy.

The application is only the beginning of a longer process: if you do become someone's deputy there are continuing tasks and responsibilities that you will be expected to carry out in the future.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) makes clear who can make decisions, in which situations, and how they should go about it.