1. Overview

You can apply to become someone’s deputy if they ‘lack mental capacity’ - this means they can’t make a decision for themselves at the time it needs to be made. They may still be able to make decisions for themselves at certain times.

People may lack mental capacity because, for example:

  • they’ve had a serious brain injury or illness
  • they have dementia
  • they have severe learning difficulties

As a deputy, you’ll be authorised by the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf.

There are 2 types of deputy:

  • property and financial affairs, eg paying bills, organising a pension
  • personal welfare, eg making decisions about medical treatment and how someone is looked after

You can apply to be just one type of deputy or both. If you’re appointed, you’ll get a court order saying what you can and can’t do.

How to apply

  1. Check you meet the requirements to be a deputy.

  2. Get permission to apply if you want to be a personal welfare deputy - you don’t need permission to apply to be a property and finance deputy

  3. Send the application forms to the Court of Protection and pay the application fee.

You don’t need to be a deputy if you’re just looking after someone’s benefits. Apply to become an appointee instead.

Checks on your application

The Court of Protection will check:

If you’re appointed, the Office of the Public Guardian will help you carry out your responsibilities. You may have to complete an annual report.

You’ll continue to be a deputy until your court order is changed, cancelled or expires.

Other ways to make decisions for someone

If you want to make a single important decision, you can apply to the Court of Protection for a one-off order.

If the person already has a lasting power of attorney (LPA) or enduring power of attorney (EPA), they don’t usually need a deputy. Check if they have an LPA or EPA before you apply.