Deputies: make decisions for someone who lacks capacity
As a deputy, you’re responsible for helping someone make decisions or making decisions on their behalf.
You must consider someone’s level of mental capacity every time you make a decision for them - you can’t assume it’s the same at all times and for all kinds of things.
You’ll get a court order from the Court of Protection which says what you can and can’t do. There are also general rules and examples in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice.
Guidance for all deputies
When you’re making a decision, you must:
- make sure it’s in the other person’s best interests
- consider what they’ve done in the past
- apply a high standard of care - this might mean involving other people, for example getting advice from relatives and professionals like doctors
- do everything you can to help the other person understand the decision, for example explain what’s going to happen with the help of pictures or sign language
- add the decisions to your annual report
You must not:
- restrain the person, unless it’s to stop them coming to harm
- stop life-sustaining medical treatment
- take advantage of the person’s situation, for example abuse them or profit from a decision you’ve taken on their behalf
- make a will for the person, or change their existing will
- make gifts unless the court order says you can
- hold any money or property in your own name on the person’s behalf
Property and affairs deputies
You must make sure:
- your own property and money is separate from the other person’s
- you keep records of the finances you manage on their behalf in your annual report
You may need to manage a Court Funds Office account on the other person’s behalf.
You could be fined or sent to prison for up to 5 years (or both) if you mistreat or neglect the person on purpose.