Both Deputyship Orders and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) authorise someone to make decisions – including on financial matters – for somebody else. The difference is that an LPA is made by someone who still has mental capacity and a Deputyship is made by a court on behalf of someone who has lost that capacity.
By making an LPA you have the power to choose the person you want to make such important decisions on your behalf.
If you have not made an LPA, it is up to your family and friends to decide who should apply or an order to be to act on your behalf. The Court of Protection then determines whether that person is suitable. The process takes longer and is more expensive than if you had put an LPA in place.
The order granted by the Court of Protection sets out what the Deputy can and cannot do on behalf of the other person. Every order will be unique to the circumstances of each case. In many cases the focus will be on the management of financial affairs, but the order could also include directions concerning decision-making for health and/or welfare issues (although these are usually strictly limited to a specific decision, unlike a Health and Welfare LPA).
A spouse, partner or close family member aged 18 or over could apply to become a Deputy, but the court will decide if they think they are suitable. If no-one is willing or suitable to act as Deputy, then a professional Deputy can be appointed.
The Court of Protection will continue to supervise, even once a Deputy is appointed, and there is a requirement for the Deputy to produce annual accounts, pay annual fees and maintain a security bond.