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Can a court appointed deputy be changed?

View profile for Rachel Haywood
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Court of Protection decides that man with irreversible stoma has the right to choose to die

A deputy for property and finances is appointed by the Court of Protection, to manage the property and affairs of a person who lacks capacity to manage their own affairs. All deputies must act in accordance with the principles set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

A person lacks capacity if their mind is impaired or disturbed in some way, for example, due to an injury or medical conditions such as dementia or bipolar disorder and is referred to by the court as the patient.

A deputy can be an individual over the age of 18 or a professional such as a trust corporation. The deputy will be appointed under a Court of Protection order and only has authority to manage and make decisions on the patient’s behalf in accordance with what is set out in the order.

A court order will be in force last until a specific date or often ‘until further order’. This does not mean that the patient is obliged to continue with the same deputy where the deputy is no longer willing or able to act or where the relationship is simply not working out. Breakdown of relationship between a patients and/or family members and a deputy can occur for many reasons such as a clash of personalities, or where a family member is no longer able to, or no longer wishes to act.

Where a change in deputy is sought and a sole deputy is appointed, an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection to remove the current deputy and appoint someone else to act in their place. Where joint deputies are appointed, an application can be made to either remove one of the current deputies and leave the other(s) to continue to act, or to remove and replace the deputy and appoint a new party to act alongside the remaining appointed deputy or deputies.  

The application to change a deputy will need to be lodged with the Court of Protection and the outcome awaited. It is important to note that the application process can take a number of months and the current Court of Protection order will remain in force while the court consider the proposed change, the court will always consider what is in the best interest of the patient. An application to change deputies can be contested by the existing deputy, this should only happen where there is a good reason as to why it is in the patient’s best interest for the appointment to continue.

Stephensons' Court of Protection team have extensive experience in managing professional deputyships. The team are here for anyone who would like have an honest conversation about your current circumstances, offer confidential advice and work with you to achieve your desired result. Call us today on 0161 696 6238.