Court of Protection

If a loved one or someone you provide care for is unable to make their own decisions, it can be hard to know what to do. We are here to help you provide the support they need to live life in comfort and with dignity. In these cases, the best option may be to apply to the Court of Protection.

The Court of Protection exists to help people who lack mental capacity. We have a specialist team dedicated to helping vulnerable and elderly clients, their families and their care providers.

Our friendly, practical Court of Protection solicitors can provide all the advice you need about supporting someone who needs help making decisions due to mental incapacity, including:

Get in touch with our warm, experienced Court of Protection solicitors in East Sussex

For advice about supporting vulnerable and elderly people, including advice about Court of Protection matters, contact your local Heringtons office in Battle, Bexhill on Sea, Eastbourne, Hastings or Rye. Our clients come to us from across East Sussex for our esteemed reputation in this area, including Rother and Wealden.

Or fill in our online enquiry form and we will be in touch shortly.

What is the Court or Protection and what does it do?

Every person has the right to decide what to do with their life. From the most basic choices about what to have for breakfast and how to style your hair, to life-changing decisions about whether to sell your home and move to a care home.

However, sometimes a person may start having trouble making certain decisions. An illness, a stroke, a serious mental health issue, a brain injury, or simply old age – these are all things that can affect a person’s mental capacity.

A person who lacks mental capacity may have difficulty taking care of themselves and may become vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. In these situations, it is usually best that someone steps in to help them make decisions or make decisions for them.

Unless they have made a Power of Attorney, you usually do not have the power to provide certain support. For example, a bank will not let you access someone’s accounts without legal authorisation.

This is where the Court of Protection can help.

The Court of Protection exists to help elderly and vulnerable people who lack mental capacity (protected people). The Court can make decisions for the protected person and give permission to trusted individuals (called deputies) to make decisions on the protected person’s behalf.

The Court also has a wide range of other powers to support protected people, such as to make a Will for them if they do not have the capacity to make one themselves.

The Court can also help to resolve disputes involving a protected person, such as issues about the registration of an Enduring Power or Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney, or where the protected person is being deprived of their liberty or has been financially abused.

We help people live in comfort and with dignity

Our specialist elderly and vulnerable person team are here to help you provide the support that your loved one or the person you care for needs.

We will always approach your case with kindness and sensitivity. We’ll provide practical guidance about your options so you can make confident decisions about how to move forwards.

Much of our work involves making applications to the Court of Protection for Deputyship Orders – a type of court order which gives you authorisation to make decisions on the behalf of the person you care for.

We also have considerable experience acting as deputies ourselves, either individually or alongside you, and can take on a wide range of responsibilities from handling finances to making decisions about care.

Wherever possible, we will involve our client in the decision making process. Often, a person can be helped to understand what is going on even if they lack the capacity to make their own choices about aspects of their affairs.

We are happy to visit you and the protected person in their home or residential home to provide advice.

Our Court of Protection services

Court of Protection Deputyship

We can help you apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order to allow you to make decisions about someone’s affairs.

There are two types of Court of Protection deputy:

  • Property and financial affairs deputy – allows you to do things like handle someone’s bank accounts and manage their pension.
  • Personal welfare deputy – allows you to make decisions about someone’s care and medical treatment.

Deputyship applications are very complex, so having the right legal advice is essential. We can handle the entire application process on your behalf, ensuring every part is completed accurately so there is no risk of your Order being delayed.

Advice to deputies

If you are a Court of Protection deputy, we can provide practical guidance to help you fulfil your role to the best of your ability.

We can help you:

  • Make decisions in the protected person’s best interests or help them make their own decisions.
  • Notify relevant people and organisations about your appointment, such as banks.
  • Manage finances, such as paying care fees and managing the protected person’s pension or benefits.
  • Manage the protected person’s care plan.
  • Handle deputy admin, such as liaising with the Office of the Public Guardian about supervision, managing accounts, completing deputy reports and claiming expenses.

Acting as professional deputies

Acting as deputy is a big responsibility. We are experienced at acting as a professional deputy on behalf or alongside our clients.

We will always act in the protected person’s best interests and apply the highest standards of care.

Advice about mental capacity

We can provide clear, simple-to-understand advice about mental capacity, including:

  • Providing advice about the principles of mental capacity.
  • Undertaking mental capacity assessments.
  • Speaking to healthcare professionals about a person’s mental capacity and obtaining evidence.
  • Providing guidance to deputies and attorneys about helping a person make their own decisions.
  • Helping deputies and attorneys make decisions for someone where they lack mental capacity.

The law on mental capacity can be found under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This law exists to protect and empower people to make their own decisions about their care wherever possible.

For example, a person should be assumed to have mental capacity unless proven otherwise. If possible, a person should be helped to make a decision – this could involve explaining information the person needs to make the decision in different ways or using different methods of communication, such as hand gestures.

We know this can be daunting because you don’t want to accidentally override the protected person’s wishes. However, we are highly experienced in this area. We will be by your side, providing guidance every step of the way.

One off decisions

Our Court of Protection Lawyers can advise about applying for one off decisions where a Deputyship Order or Power of Attorney does not cover the situation at hand and there is disagreement about how to resolve the matter.

Statutory Wills

A person can only make a legally valid Will if they understand:

  • What making a Will means.
  • How much money and property they have.
  • How making or changing a Will might affect the people they know (such as people included in the Will or those left out).

Someone who cannot make a Will lacks ‘testamentary capacity’.

This can be concerning because without a Will, the person’s loved ones may not inherit and could end up paying much more Inheritance Tax than they might have done.

In such cases, we can help you apply to the Court of Protection to make or change the person’s Will – the resulting document is called a ‘Statutory Will’.

Selling owned and jointly owned property

When a person lacks mental capacity, they may not be able to consent to the sale of their property. If they jointly own the property, this also prevents the other owner(s) from selling.

We can provide advice about applying to the Court of Protection to appoint someone else to consent to the sale.

Deprivation of liberty

Sometimes, restricting a person’s freedom is the best way to protect them. However, liberty is a human right so if a medical practitioner, hospital or care home wants to restrict a person's movement and activities, they must obtain authorisation from the local authority and follow the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).

We advise:

  • Individuals, hospitals and care home personnel about applying the DoLS and obtaining Deprivation of Liberty authorisation.
  • Individuals who want to challenge a deprivation of liberty authorisation.

Urgent and emergency applications

We can provide advice about obtaining urgent and emergency Court of Protection orders, including:

  • Urgent Interim Orders – where you need an urgent decision or one off decision, but your Deputyship application has not yet been approved.
  • Emergency Orders – where there is an immediate risk to the protected person, for example, they need treatment for a serious medical problem.

Get in touch with our warm, experienced Court of Protection solicitors in East Sussex

For advice about supporting vulnerable and elderly people, including advice about Court of Protection matters, contact your local Heringtons office in Battle, Bexhill on Sea, Eastbourne, Hastings or Rye. Our clients come to us from across East Sussex for our esteemed reputation in this area, including Rother and Wealden.

Or fill in our online enquiry form and we will be in touch shortly.

 

For further information or to speak to one of our experts please call us on: