What is Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection is a court in England and Wales that is there to make financial and/or welfare decisions for mentally incapacitated persons.
What does the Court of Protection do?
Examples of the responsibilities the Court of Protection have and the decisions they make include:
- Deciding if someone has lost mental capacity
- Appointing Court of Protection deputies
- Providing permission for one-off decisions
- Managing urgent or emergency Court of Protection applications
- Lasting Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney decisions
- Statutory Will and gift decisions
- Deciding deprivation of liberty under the Mental Capacity Act
How do I apply for Court of Protection?
When a person loses mental capacity, and a loved one wants to apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy, they will need to carry out certain actions. Examples of these actions include filling and returning various forms to the court, in addition to notifying relevant parties, such as the incapacitated person themselves, relatives and close friends.
How long does it take to get a Court of Protection Order?
During the application process to obtain a Court of Protection Order, there are various factors involved which can affect the application time frame. This means each case is unique and can vary in time.
Examples of where an application could take considerably longer include:
- The court requiring additional information
- Someone opposing the application
However, for Court of Protection applications that are straightforward, such as non-contested applications, the general time frame is between six to 12 months.
What is a Court of Protection Deputyship?
Court of Protection Deputyship is where the court appoints someone to act as a deputy for an incapacitated person.
The deputy will be responsible for making important decisions in regard to property and financial affairs, including but not limited to:
- Organising their pension
- Paying bills
- Selling property
Who can apply to the Court of Protection?
Simply speaking, so long as a person has mental capacity to make important decisions in the best interest of the incapacitated person and is over the age of 18 years old, they can apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy.
Deputies are often relatives or close friends of the incapacitated person.
How long does a Court of Protection order last?
In most instances of Court of Protection Deputyship, this will last for the donor’s entire life, but there are Court of Protection cases where only a one-off decision is required.
However, the length of the order can be overturned if the incapacitated person regains capacity.
What happens at a Court of Protection hearing?
During the Court of Protection hearing, the court will take the time to consider various factors before making its final decision. These factors include:
- Assessing the circumstances, including whether the mentally incapacitated person needs someone else to make decisions
- Considering the mentally incapacitated person’s past and present wishes
- Any beliefs and values the mentally incapacitated person has
- Whether there are any objections to the application
Once all these factors have been considered, the court will come to a decision.
What is the difference between Power of Attorney and Court of Protection?
Both Power of Attorney and Court of Protection are principally the same thing but in slightly different circumstances.
One aspect of Power of Attorney is an arrangement made when someone still has mental capacity, and they want to prepare for the future in the instance they may lose mental capacity, they will choose a trusted person or persons to be their Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Court of Protection order is made when a person loses mental capacity but does not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.