A guide to navigating Court of Protection Orders
If you want to support someone who can't make decisions for themselves, you may consider applying for a Court of Protection Order.
Here you’ll find information about what the Court of Protection is and the kind of support an Order can give.
A Court of Protection Order is a legal document. It states that a 'deputy' can make decisions for someone else (a 'donor').
The Order is given by the Court of Protection in England and Wales.
It's only created when the donor lacks mental capacity and there isn't a lasting power of attorney in place.
Having mental capacity means being able to make your own decisions. Someone may not have mental capacity for many reasons, including:
Depending on where you live in the UK, there are different types of orders available, but they all work in a similar way.
Once a Court of Protection Order is given, the deputy must register it with us before they can handle the donor's Monmouthshire Building Society (MBS) accounts.
If someone still has mental capacity, they may want to set up a lasting power of attorney instead. This document gives them more control over how their affairs are managed.
When a person's only income comes from benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can appoint someone to help them. This person is called a 'DWP appointee' and can manage the money for the individual if they are no longer able to make decisions due to their mental capacity.
The Court of Protection will only give an Order when someone can't make choices for themselves and if they don't have a lasting power of attorney to assist them.
The Court can choose 2 types of deputies to help someone. They can pick 1 deputy for welfare and another for property and finances. It's okay if the same person serves in both roles.
The Court will decide everything, like how many deputies to appoint and what each deputy is allowed (or not allowed) to do.
Anyone can try to become a deputy, and it's usually a friend or family member of the person who needs help.
To be a deputy, you must be 18 years old or older. If you'll be taking care of someone's money, you should feel sure about making financial choices for them.
If nobody close to the person is right for the role, the Court can choose a panel deputy. A panel deputy is often a charity or a law firm that has been approved to help.
If more than one person wants to be a deputy, the Court might decide how they will work together.
The Court can say that the deputies must act 'Jointly,' which means they have to make all decisions together. Or they can say they should act 'Jointly and Severally,' which means they can decide together or separately.
After the Order is given, the Office of the Public Guardian will keep in touch with the deputy regularly to see how things are going. They can offer help, guidance, and support to make sure the deputy knows what to do.
The deputy will also have to send a yearly report to the Office of the Public Guardian. This paper tells about every decision the deputy made on behalf of the person they're helping. It should also include a record of all the money that went in and out of the person's accounts during that year.
Each Court of Protection Order is different. And the Court will decide what a deputy can and can't do.
Some things a deputy may be able do with MBS include:
Paying bills and making transfers
Managing regular payments (like standing orders)
Selling property or managing mortgage payments
In most cases, the deputy must not:
Put money or property in their name
The deputy must keep their own money separate from the donor’s money.
Give away the donor’s money
Sometimes the Court may allow the deputy to give a gift using the person's money, but they shouldn't give away large amounts of it without permission.
Make or change a will
A deputy can't change an existing will or create a new one for the person they're supporting without asking the Court of Protection.
Claim unnecessary expenses
A deputy can ask for money back for things they had to pay to help the person, like phone calls or posting documents. However, they shouldn't claim expenses for the time they spend supporting someone.
The Court decides how long the Order will be in effect, and in most cases, it will last for the donor's whole life.
However, the Court can also make one-time decisions.
For instance, the Court can make a single decision for someone who can't think properly. For example, if someone wants to stop another person from visiting someone in a care home, they can ask the Court for help.
The Court can also make emergency Orders.
These are called 'urgent interim Orders' and are made when there is an immediate danger to someone who can't make decisions. For example, if they need medical treatment but can't give consent.
Fees for a Court of Protection Order can vary depending on the type of deputy someone wants to be.
As well as the amount of money the person they want to support has.
In all cases, the deputy will need to pay:
If a deputy is appointed to manage someone’s money, the deputy may be able to claim these costs back from the donor’s funds.
If the deputy is on a low income or receives certain benefits, they may not need to pay some or all of the fees.
The Court of Protection can give specific advice when a deputy makes an application.
In England and Wales, you can apply to the Court of Protection by sending a letter or asking a solicitor to help you.
Although you don't need a solicitor, getting a Court of Protection Order can be complicated. So, it might be a good idea to seek advice from a professional who can guide you through the process.
Complete the required forms, which include an application form, an assessment of capacity form, a deputy's declaration, and a supporting information form. You can find these forms on GOV.UK or through a solicitor.
Send the completed forms to the Court by mail. Also, inform the person you want to support about your application. Tell three people who know the person well, such as friends, relatives, or their GP. The Court will want to see proof that you've informed them.
The Court will review your application at least 14 days after you've informed those three people. They will then let you know if your application is approved or rejected. In some cases, the Court might decide to hold a hearing to gather more information.
If your application is successful, the Court will send you a copy of the Court Order. This document will outline what you can and cannot do for the person you're helping, and you can start acting on their behalf right away.
Once you're appointed as a deputy, you must register the Court of Protection Order with the person's banks and building societies. The Court will provide you with copies of the Order that you can use for this purpose.
Register a Court of Protection Order with us
If you’ve been appointed as a deputy, you’ll need to register the Court of Protection Order with us before you can access someone’s MBS accounts.
Register a Court of Protection Order