Becoming a deputy for a person with dementia

3. Types of deputyship

Property and affairs deputyship

A property and affairs deputyship is the most common form of deputyship. Someone must apply to become a deputy if they feel they need to manage someone's financial affairs. This usually only happens if the person who lacks capacity to make decisions about property and affairs has not made a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney.

Usually, the court will not appoint a deputy if the person has already appointed an attorney to manage their financial affairs. Similarly, when a person has no property or savings and their only income is social security benefits, there will usually be no need for a deputy to be appointed. This is because the benefits can be managed by an appointee, appointed by the Department for Work and Pensions. 

If you make an application to become a property and affairs deputy, you will need to sign a declaration. The declaration will outline your circumstances and include details of the tasks and duties you as a 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, eg if you have severe financial and/or health problems yourself, or are bankrupt.

Personal welfare deputyship

A personal welfare deputyship is rare. If a person lacks capacity to make decisions about their care and treatment and has not appointed an attorney, someone must apply to become a deputy if they feel they need to manage that person's personal affairs. They are only appointed in the more extreme circumstances where no resolution can be reached in the best interests of the person. The Court of Protection does not usually appoint deputies to make continuing decisions about someone's health and welfare unless regular treatment or supervision is needed, for example with a younger person.

These decisions can usually be made in the person's best interests by those providing care and/or treatment. If there is a disagreement as to what is in the person's best interests, or the decision relates to specified serious medical treatment, it may be necessary to ask the court to intervene.