Deputyship orders can take over a year to obtain

Delayed Deputyship Orders
Figures released by the Court of Protection today show that obtaining a Deputyship Order for someone who has lost mental capacity without making a Lasting Power of Attorney can take more than a year in some cases.

Of the two types of Deputyship Order available, the Property and Affairs order continues to be the most common, with applications having increased by 5% to 11,960 during quarters 1 – 3 of 2019.

The average time to complete a Property and Affairs Deputyship application by an ACO (Authorised Court Officer) was reported as 34.1 weeks, as at September 2019.

For District Judges, the average time to complete the same application was 47.7 weeks.

However, this figure jumps substantially when looking at Health and Welfare Deputyship Applications, which are taking 53 weeks on average as of September. The volume of this type of application has risen by 100% since September 2018.

The total number of applications received by the Court is growing. In the first 3 quarters of this calendar year, the court has seen a 12% increase in the total applications received when compared to the same period in 2018 (26,287 applications as compared to 23,403 applications being filed with the court.)

These staggering figures show just how important it is to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) while you have mental capacity. LPAs aren’t just for the elderly – an accidents or illness can affect any of us at any stage in life. Whilst there is an urgent application process for a Deputyship Order, this will only apply where circumstances permit. In all other cases, you could be looking at a wait of between 34 weeks and 47 weeks before you have the ability to manage a loved one’s bank account – or over a year for the authority to make decisions as to their care.

Like Deputyship Orders, there are two types of LPA available: one for property/finance decisions and one for health decisions. You can choose the same or different attorneys for both but most importantly, making an LPA puts the choice of attorney in your hands (contrast this with a Deputyship Order where anyone can apply).

With an LPA, you have a high degree of control over how your Attorneys should make decisions (e.g. jointly, severally or jointly for some, severally for others) and you can even leave binding instructions that they must follow. With a Deputyship Order, all of this is out of your hands.

Further, putting in place the LPA for health decisions now is essential, since the Courts are reluctant to award Health and Welfare Deputyship Orders unless there is a good reason to do so (e.g. a dispute).

For more information see:

Above stats are taken from the Minutes of Court User Group Meeting, Tuesday 15 October 2019.

If someone close to you has lost capacity and you would like to apply for a Deputyship Order, get in touch. Our experienced team will draft your paperwork to minimise the likelihood that your application is delayed unnecessarily. 

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