Solicitors and the Court of Protection often use a lot of technical terms that may not be familiar to you. In order to help you understand some of these terms we have included some of the more common ones below.
An attorney is similar to a Deputy in that they have been appointed to make certain decisions on behalf of someone else. The key difference between the two is that an attorney has been chosen by the individual they are acting for by completing a lasting or enduring power of attorney when they have mental capacity.
Any decisions made or anything done on behalf of a person who lacks capacity to make specific decisions must be made in their best interests. There are standard minimum steps to follow when working out someone’s best interests. These are set out in section 2 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
A bond is an insurance policy that is set up at the outset of a Deputyship to ensure the client is protected from any financial losses as a result of decisions made or actions taken by the Deputy. Where a loss is identified, the bond will be called in and the Deputy may be asked to repay the company responsible for the bond. The level of the bond is a judicial decision and if you want to amend it you will need to apply to the Court of Protection.
Capacity is the ability to make a specific decision at the time that the decision needs to be made. You can find a legal definition of a person who lacks capacity in section 2 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 which is available for download at the legislation website http://www .legislation. gov.uk/ukpga/2005/9/contents
This is the word we use to refer to the person we have been appointed to act on behalf of.
This is someone who is appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions on behalf of someone who has lost the capacity to make certain decisions themselves.
A donor is someone who has created either an enduring or lasting power of attorney. They are referred to as donors because they have donated their decision making powers to someone else.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
An EPA is a legal document which you can use to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf should you lose the capacity to make certain decisions yourself. EPAs were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) in October 2007.
However, any EPAs signed and dated before 1 October 2007 are still valid and can be registered with the OPG when the donor starts to lose or has lost mental capacity.
Estate & Estate Administration
A person’s estate is the money, property and any possessions they had at the time of their death. The process of estate administration involves collecting any money that is owed, settling any debts due (including outstanding taxes) and dividing the estate amongst the respective beneficiaries.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
An LPA is a legal document which you can use to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf should you lose the capacity to make certain decisions yourself. There are two types of LPA – Health & Welfare and Property & Financial Affairs. Both types of LPA must be registered with OPG before they can be used.
Probate refers to the process of obtaining permission to deal with a deceased person’s affairs, or ‘estate’. When someone close to you dies, you or your solicitor will have to arrange probate for their estate.
Property and Affairs Deputyship
A property and affairs Deputy is appointed to make decisions relating to the money and property belonging to the client. This includes all income, investments and expenditure as well as any decisions about selling or renting property. This is essentially the same decision making powers as granted under a LPA for property and financial affairs.
A personal welfare Deputy is appointed to make decisions relating to the client’s general care and well-being. This includes what they wear, what they eat and where they go on holiday. This is essentially the same decision making powers as granted by a health and welfare LPA.