If someone loses the ability to make their own decisions and they don't have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, their loved ones will need to apply to the Court for a Deputyship Order. This is a legal document granted by the Court which gives someone legal authority to make important decisions on behalf of a person who is unable to make or express their own.
While a Deputyship Order works in a similar way to a Lasting Power of Attorney, there are a few key differences between the two, such as when they can be made and by whom, how long they take to put in place, and (perhaps most significantly) the cost.
How is a Deputyship Order Different to a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Deputyship Order does perform a very similar function to a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), in that it grants a named person with legal authority to manage another person's affairs. As with LPAs, there are two types of Deputyship Order available; one that covers health and welfare and another that covers property and financial affairs.
Despite these parallels, there are also a few key differences between the two:
1. The Cost
One of the primary differences that it's important to be aware of is how the cost of a Deputyship Order compares to the cost of an LPA, as it is significantly higher.
To have a Deputyship Order granted by the Court, there will be an initial expenditure of around £4,789, compared with the £352 that it costs to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (with Co-op Legal Services). There will then be annual ongoing costs incurred during the Deputyship, which can amount to £1,904 per year. There are no ongoing annual costs for an LPA.
For more information and a full breakdown of each of the associated costs for LPAs and Deputyship Orders, see our article The True Expense of Not Having a Lasting Power of Attorney.
2. Who Puts it in Place and When
A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made by the person it relates to, whereas an application for a Deputyship Order can be made by anyone.
It's only possible for a person to put an LPA in place while they are still capable of making their own decisions and fully understanding the document's implications. This means that if they don't make one until it's needed, they will have waited too long. Once they have lost this capacity, the only option for their loved ones will be to apply for a Deputyship Order, which can be done after the person in question has lost capacity.
3. How Long it Takes to Make
Applying for a Deputyship Order can be a long and complex process for loved ones, taking several months to be finalised. In the meantime, no one has the legal authority to manage the finances of the individual in question or to make important decisions on their behalf.
On the contrary, putting an LPA in place is very quick and straightforward. At Co-op Legal Services, we will hold an LPA appointment over the phone to discuss requirements and gather all the relevant information. We will then post out a draft LPA to be reviewed before sending the final document to be signed in the presence of a witness. Once this has been returned to us, we will register it with the Office of the Public Guardian, and it will be ready to be activated immediately if and when it's ever needed.
4. Who Decides Who to Appoint
With an LPA, the person making it has total control over who should be appointed as their attorney. They can choose to appoint multiple attorneys and, if they put two different types of LPA in place, they can appoint a different attorney in each. It's also possible to name substitute attorneys in an LPA, who can step in and act if the original attorney is unable or unwilling to do so for any reason.
With a Deputyship Order, the decision is taken out of the hands of the individual in question. Anyone can make an application for a Deputyship Order and it is then up to the Court to decide who to appoint.
For initial advice about making an LPA call our Will writers on 03306069591 or contact us online and we will help you.