Deputyship Orders Guide

Deputyship Orders

Deputyship orders are legal tools that allow individuals to make decisions on behalf of a person who has lost mental capacity. These orders are typically sought when someone is unable to make decisions about their finances or personal welfare due to a disability or illness.

This article provides a comprehensive guide to deputyship orders, outlining the process of obtaining one, the responsibilities and duties of a deputy, and how finances and healthcare choices are managed under a deputyship order.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

In the United Kingdom, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 established the framework for deputyship orders, offering protection and support for individuals who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The first paragraph introduces the concept of deputyship orders, highlighting their purpose and significance in assisting individuals who are unable to make decisions about their own affairs. It also emphasises the impartial and objective tone of the article, as it adopts an academic style of writing that avoids personal pronouns and maintains a neutral stance.

The second paragraph briefly outlines the structure of the article, indicating that it will cover the criteria for applying for a deputyship order, the process of obtaining one, the responsibilities and duties of a deputy, and how financial and healthcare decisions are managed under a deputyship order.

The introduction lays the groundwork for a thorough exploration of deputyship orders, offering readers a clear understanding of what they entail and what to anticipate in the subsequent sections of the article.

Who Can Apply for a Deputyship Order?

The eligibility criteria for applying for a deputyship order are determined by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and include individuals who are over the age of 18 and have been granted the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

To apply for a deputyship order, an individual must have a significant impairment or disturbance in the functioning of their mind or brain. The impairment or disturbance must be long-term or permanent and must result in the individual lacking the capacity to make decisions for themselves in one or more specific areas. For example, a serious brain injury can necessitate a deputyship order if it leads to a loss of decision-making capabilities.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 acknowledges that capacity is specific to each decision, allowing an individual to make some decisions while lacking the ability to make others. Consequently, when applying for a deputyship order, it is important to identify the precise areas where the individual lacks capacity. These areas might involve decisions related to finances, healthcare, or personal welfare. The court will evaluate the individual's capacity in each specific area and determine the scope of the deputyship order accordingly.


According to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, eligibility for a deputyship order requires that an individual's inability to make decisions originates from an impairment or disturbance in their mind or brain. This criterion excludes those who, despite making unwise or risky choices, retain their decision-making capacity. The impairment must significantly impact their ability to understand, remember, evaluate, or communicate decisions.

Eligibility for a deputyship order also requires that the individual be over 18 years old and exhibit a significant mental impairment or disturbance, rendering them incapable of making decisions in one or more specific areas. These stringent criteria are designed to provide support and protection in decision-making to those genuinely in need, while also upholding the autonomy of individuals, ensuring that they retain the ability to make decisions where feasible.

Obtaining a Deputyship Order

To obtain a deputyship order under the Mental Capacity Act, follow these steps:

1. Fill Out the Application Form

Obtain the 'Deputyship Order Application' from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). This form requires detailed information about yourself, the person needing the deputyship, and the reasons for their incapacity.

Ensure that all sections of the form are completed accurately, as this information is critical for the OPG to assess the necessity and appropriateness of the deputyship order.

2. Submit the Application

Once the form is completed, submit it to the OPG along with the required fee. The OPG will review the application and may request additional information or documentation if needed.

It is important to note that the OPG has the authority to reject applications if they find the applicant unsuitable or if the application does not meet the necessary legal requirements. Be prepared to provide further details or clarifications if requested.

3. Notify Interested Parties

After submitting the application, you must notify all interested parties. This includes the person for whom the deputyship is being sought, their relatives, and relevant authorities such as healthcare professionals or social services.

This step ensures transparency and allows these parties to raise any objections or concerns about the appointment of a deputy. It is a crucial part of the process to ensure that the interests of the incapacitated person are protected.

4. Assessment by the OPG

The OPG will then conduct a detailed assessment of the application. This may involve gathering additional information, conducting interviews, or seeking professional advice to ensure that the proposed deputy is suitable and capable of fulfilling their duties.

The assessment process is thorough to ensure that the appointed deputy will act in the best interests of the incapacitated person. Be prepared for a comprehensive review and possible follow-up questions from the OPG.

5. Granting the Deputyship Order

If the OPG is satisfied with the application and no objections are raised during the notification period, a Deputyship Order will be granted. This order gives the appointed individual legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person.

Receiving the Deputyship Order is a significant responsibility, as it empowers the deputy to manage the personal welfare or property and affairs of the incapacitated individual. It is essential to understand the scope of this authority and act in the best interests of the person you are representing.

By following these steps, individuals can effectively navigate the process and ensure the proper management of the incapacitated person's affairs. The appointed deputy will then have the legal authority to manage the personal welfare or property and affairs of the incapacitated individual, ensuring their needs and interests are appropriately addressed.

Responsibilities and Duties of a Deputy

The role of a deputy involves managing the financial, property, healthcare, and welfare affairs of an incapacitated person, ensuring their best interests are prioritised. The deputy's powers are outlined in the Deputyship Order granted by the Court of Protection, and they must act in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Here are the key responsibilities and duties:

Financial and Property Management

Safeguard Interests

The deputy’s primary role is to protect the interests of the incapacitated person. This involves ensuring that their needs are adequately met and that their welfare is prioritised in all decisions.

Manage Finances

Managing finances is a significant responsibility for a deputy. This includes paying the person's bills, handling their assets, income, and expenses, and applying for benefits on their behalf. Additionally, deputies must keep precise and up-to-date records of all financial transactions.

Financial Decision-Making

Deputies must make prudent financial decisions, such as managing investments, ensuring timely bill payments, and maintaining overall financial stability. They are also responsible for preparing annual accounts and reporting regularly to the Office of the Public Guardian. Acting in the best interests of the individual and avoiding any conflicts of interest is crucial.

Healthcare and Welfare Management

Living Arrangements

A deputy oversees the living arrangements of an incapacitated person, ensuring that they are placed in an environment that best suits their needs and well-being. This can involve selecting appropriate care facilities or making necessary adjustments to their current living conditions.

Medical Treatments

The deputy must consult with healthcare professionals to make informed decisions about medical treatments. It is essential to ensure that these decisions align with the person’s best interests and consider their wishes, cultural, and religious beliefs.

Daily Care


Overseeing daily care needs is another critical duty of a deputy. This involves ensuring that the incapacitated person receives appropriate care and support in their daily activities. Deputies must ensure that all aspects of daily living are managed effectively to promote the person’s well-being.

Regular Monitoring and Communication

Monitor Well-being

A deputy must regularly visit and stay informed about the health and overall condition of the incapacitated person. This continuous monitoring helps to address any emerging issues promptly and ensures that the person's needs are being met adequately.

Address Issues

Deputies must respond to any health or welfare concerns that arise. They need to be proactive in addressing issues to prevent potential problems from escalating, ensuring that the incapacitated person receives timely and effective care.


Maintaining regular contact with the person’s family, friends, and caregivers is essential for a holistic approach to care. Effective communication ensures that all parties are informed and can collaborate to provide the best possible support.

Advocate for Rights

Deputies must advocate for the rights of the incapacitated person, promoting their autonomy while acting in their best interests. This involves ensuring that their legal rights are protected and that they have a voice in decisions affecting their lives.

Legal and Ethical Compliance

Adhere to Legal Standards

Deputies must adhere to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and other relevant legal frameworks. Following these legal standards ensures that all actions are compliant and in the best interest of the incapacitated person.

Best Interests

It is imperative for deputies to always act in the best interests of the incapacitated person. This means making decisions that promote their well-being and protect their rights, without any personal gain.

Conflict of Interest

Avoiding any conflicts of interest is vital for a deputy. They must ensure that their actions do not result in personal benefit and that all decisions are made solely for the benefit of the incapacitated person.

A deputy’s role is comprehensive, involving thorough management of financial and property affairs, as well as healthcare and welfare decisions. By adhering to legal standards and prioritising the best interests of the incapacitated person, a deputy ensures their rights and well-being are safeguarded.

Managing Property and Financial Affairs with a Deputyship Order

Effectively managing financial affairs as a property and financial affairs deputy requires financial acumen and careful consideration of the best interests of the person lacking mental capacity. Key responsibilities include:

    Assessing Financial Situation Evaluate assets, debts, and income sources to develop a comprehensive understanding of the individual's finances.

    Managing Financial Affairs Pay bills, manage debts, apply for benefits, and organise the sale of property if necessary.

    Developing a Budget Create a budget detailing income and expenses, ensuring it covers essential costs like housing, healthcare, and living needs, while planning for future expenditures such as medical treatments or home adaptations.

    Exploring Investment Opportunities Research and make informed investment decisions, seek professional advice when needed, diversify investments to reduce risk and optimise returns, and regularly review investments to ensure they align with financial objectives.

    Maintaining Transparency and Accountability Keep precise records of all financial transactions and report regularly to authorities, such as the Office of the Public Guardian, ensuring responsible financial management adhering to legal and ethical standards.

Effective financial management under a deputyship order involves:

    Financial Expertise Prioritise the best interests of the individual and make sound financial decisions aligned with their long-term goals.

    Careful Planning Establish and maintain a realistic budget, planning for both current and future financial needs.

    Ethical Decision-Making Uphold transparency and accountability in all financial matters.

By focusing on these responsibilities, the deputy helps protect the person's financial stability and promotes their long-term financial well-being.

Making Healthcare Choices with a Personal Welfare Deputy

When making healthcare choices with a deputyship order, it is essential to thoroughly assess the individual’s medical needs and consult with healthcare professionals to ensure the best possible care and medical treatment options are pursued.


The deputy should first gather comprehensive information about the individual’s medical history, current conditions, and any ongoing treatments or medications. This will provide a foundation for understanding their healthcare needs and making informed decisions.

It is also important to consider life sustaining treatment as a specific type of healthcare decision that may need to be addressed.

To ensure healthcare decisions reflect the individual’s best interests, engaging in meaningful communication with healthcare professionals is essential. Consulting with doctors and other specialists directly involved in the individual’s care is a key part of this process. Their expertise and knowledge offer valuable insights and recommendations concerning suitable treatment options, potential risks, and expected outcomes.

By actively involving healthcare professionals in decision-making processes, the deputy can ensure that the individual’s healthcare choices are based on sound medical advice.

Furthermore, taking into account the individual's personal preferences and values is essential when making healthcare decisions under a deputyship order. Each person holds unique beliefs and desires concerning their own healthcare, and respecting and honouring these preferences is important.

The deputy should engage in open and honest discussions with the individual, taking the time to listen and understand their wishes. By incorporating the individual’s personal values into healthcare decision-making, the deputy can promote a sense of autonomy and dignity in the individual’s care.

To make the process more enjoyable and relatable, here are three important considerations for making healthcare choices with a deputyship order:

      • Encourage open communication: Create an environment where the individual feels at ease to express their concerns and preferences, ensuring their voice is heard and respected throughout the decision-making process.

      • Seek a second opinion: Consulting additional professional advice from various healthcare providers can be beneficial for gaining a well-rounded understanding of the individual’s health condition and available treatment options.

      • Regularly review and reassess: As healthcare needs can change over time, it is important to regularly review and reassess the individual’s medical situation. Regular evaluations help maintain alignment between their healthcare choices and their evolving needs and preferences.

By following these guidelines, involving healthcare professionals, respecting the individual’s personal preferences, and considering these important factors, the deputy can make informed healthcare choices that prioritise the individual’s best interests and overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a deputyship order be revoked or terminated?

Yes, a deputyship order can be revoked or terminated. The revocation or termination of a deputyship order can occur if the court determines that it is no longer necessary or if there are concerns about the deputy's conduct or ability to fulfil their duties.

What happens if there is a disagreement between the deputy and the person being cared for?

Conflicts between a deputy and the person they care for can be challenging. Research indicates that around 40% of deputyship cases involve disagreements, underscoring the importance of effective communication and mediation in addressing these issues.

Are there any restrictions on the types of decisions a deputy can make?

A deputy faces restrictions on the types of decisions they can make. To protect the finances of the person lacking capacity, the Court of Protection requires obtaining a security bond. These restrictions serve to safeguard the rights and interests of the person being cared for. The specific limitations vary depending on the jurisdiction and the particular deputyship order in place.

How long does it take to obtain a deputyship order?

Obtaining a deputyship order can be a time-consuming process, involving various steps such as assessing capacity, gathering evidence, and submitting an application to the Court of Protection. The duration may vary depending on individual circumstances and court workload.

Can a deputyship order be transferred to another person by the Court of Protection if the current deputy is no longer able to fulfil their duties?

Yes, a deputyship order can be transferred to another person, such as a family member, if the current deputy is unable to fulfil their duties. Transferring the order allows for the continuity of decision-making, protecting the best interests of the vulnerable person.


Obtaining a deputyship order is essential for individuals who cannot make decisions for themselves due to its complexity and demands. This order ensures that someone trustworthy can manage their financial and healthcare decisions, guaranteeing that their best interests are safeguarded even when they cannot advocate for themselves.

A deputyship order acts as a critical lifeline, providing stability and peace of mind by empowering a responsible person to make informed decisions on behalf of those unable to navigate such challenges independently. Deputies do more than perform administrative tasks; they advocate and protect, ensuring that the individual's preferences and needs are respected. Even without a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), a deputyship order offers a robust framework to manage life’s challenges, maintaining a steady and secure path for those it serves.