Applying for deputyship through the Court of Protection is a crucial step when you need to make decisions on behalf of someone who lacks mental capacity. This process involves completing various forms and providing essential information about the person's finances, care, and your own qualifications as a potential deputy. While it's possible to navigate this process on your own, there are compelling reasons to consider the assistance of a solicitor.
To initiate a deputyship application, you will need to complete several forms, each serving a specific purpose:
- Main Application Form (COP1): This form collects basic information about the individual, including their residence and details of family members. You'll also need to provide contact information for at least three people who should be notified of your application.
- Annex A (COP1A) and Annex B (COP1B): These supporting documents differ based on the type of deputyship you are applying for. COP1A focuses on property and financial matters, covering income, savings, expenses, and debts. On the other hand, COP1B is for personal welfare applications, detailing professionals involved in the person's care and the care or treatment decisions to be made.
- Assessment of Capacity (COP3): The COP3 form consists of two parts. Part A is completed by you, while Part B must be filled out by a qualified 'practitioner' who can provide their opinion on the person's mental capacity.
- Deputy's Declaration (COP4): This document explains your circumstances and outlines the responsibilities you will undertake as a deputy. It also requires you to provide details about your job, criminal record (if any), and your own financial situation.
- Additional Forms (COP2 and COP24): Depending on the specific circumstances, you may need to complete these forms. COP2 requests permission from the court to apply for deputyship, primarily necessary for personal welfare deputyships. COP24, a witness statement, might be required if you encounter specific challenges in the application process.
While it's possible to complete these forms on your own, there are distinct advantages to seeking the assistance of a solicitor:
- Knowledge of the process: Solicitors have in-depth knowledge of the deputyship application process, ensuring that you complete the forms accurately and avoid common mistakes.
- Time-Saving: Applying for a deputyship can be a complex and time-consuming task. Solicitors streamline the process, saving you valuable time.
- Handling complex situations: If your case involves complex financial or legal aspects, a solicitor's expertise can be invaluable in navigating these intricacies.
- Reducing errors: Mistakes in your application can lead to delays or rejections. Solicitors help ensure your application is error-free, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.