If you ‘lack mental capacity’, someone can apply to be your deputy. This maybe because you cannot make a decision for yourself at the time it needs to be made. You may still be able to make decisions for yourself at certain times.

You may lack mental capacity because, for example:

  • you have had a serious brain injury or illness
  • you have severe learning disabilities

The Court of Protection will authorise a deputy to make decisions on your behalf.  Anyone over 18 can apply to be your Court of Protection deputy. Deputies are usually your relatives or friends but if no one is able to act as a deputy, the Court can appoint a panel deputy.

How does it work?

Anyone considering applying to be a deputy should first check they fit the requirements to be a deputy.  They can then send the application forms to the Court of Protection and pay the application fee.

There are two types of deputy:

  • Property and financial affairs deputy – who will do things like pay your bills or organise your pension
  • Personal welfare deputy – who will make decisions about medical treatment and how you are looked after

You can apply to be just one type of deputy or both. If appointed, the deputy will get a court order saying what they can and cannot do. The Court of Protection will check:

  • whether you need a deputy or some other kind of help
  • there are no objections to the appointment.

Who is involved?

Your social worker can support with applying for deputyship. Once a deputy is appointed, the Office of the Public Guardian advises and supports deputies and protects people who lack mental capacity from abuse or exploitation.

When will this happen?

You can have a deputy from the age of 16. The Mental Capacity Act states that from 16 a young person is assumed to have capacity to make their own decisions. Therefore, if it is appropriate a parent or carer may wish to consider applying for deputyship before you turn 16.

The role of parents and carers

Parents and carers can support you to make a decision about whether to apply for deputyship. Should you decide to apply, parents or carers may become your deputy.

Related links

Deputy responsibilities - GOV.UK

Make decisions for someone - GOV.UK