If you are worried that you are not being involved in best interests decisions, read this page about making decisions.
This information sheet is for family carers living in England or Wales who support a family member aged 16 years or above.
If you have a family member with severe learning disabilities they may not be able to make all their own decisions e.g. choosing where to live. You may want to gain legal authority to make decisions about money, housing or welfare on their behalf. To do this you may have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a “Deputy”. However, not every family carer will need to apply to be a Deputy in order to make decisions.
You can apply to be a Deputy for:
- Property & affairs (property, possessions, money etc.)
- Personal welfare (where they live, healthcare, personal care etc.)
- Both of the above
Quick read guide
Property & affairs
If a person’s only income is social security benefits and they have no property or savings you are unlikely to need to apply to be a Deputy, instead you can become an “Appointee”; this has a quicker and easier application process (further information about the role of an Appointee can be found in the full information sheet). A Deputy is more likely to be needed to deal with a tenancy or mortgage agreement.
In order to apply to be a Deputy, four forms need to be filled out and returned to the Court of Protection.
Welfare Deputies are rarely required. Instead, decisions can be made in a person’s ‘best interests’. Usually, permission is needed from the Court of Protection before applying to be a welfare Deputy.
What happens next?
- The court will write to you to ask you to tell certain people that you have applied. You must do this within 21 days of receiving the letter and you must return a certificate of notification for everyone you tell.
- If you are made a Deputy you will be given several copies of the court order to give to people and organisations to show you can make certain decisions. The whole process should take around 16 weeks.
- All Deputies will be supervised to make sure they act in the person’s best interests. There are four different levels of supervision.
- You may be asked to take out an insurance policy to protect your family member’s funds.