Peterborough Cathedral
Peterborough office

Court of Protection Solicitors in Peterborough

Watching a loved one lose the ability to make their own decisions, whether it’s due to a brain injury or illness such as dementia, can be heart-breaking. Whether they are struggling to maintain their personal welfare or can no longer manage their finances, we understand how concerned you may be feeling, particularly if you’ve taken on the responsibility of caring for them.

However, even if you are a close relative, you won’t necessarily have the authorisation to make decisions on your loved one’s behalf. For example, banks won’t let you access a person’s account on their behalf without express permission.

As such, the Court of Protection was created to help people lacking mental capacity by legally authorising their loved ones to make decisions on their behalf, creating Statutory Wills if they cannot make one themselves, and protecting their legal rights and liberty.

At Roythornes, we have extensive experience assisting clients apply to the Court of Protection. Our friendly and sympathetic Court of Protection solicitors aim to progress your application as smoothly and efficiently as possible, handling every aspect on your behalf, so you can focus on supporting your loved one without having to worry about their welfare any more than necessary.

We can also provide on-going support for you during this challenging time, including providing advice about your role and decision-making powers as a Court of Protection deputy.

For further advice and information about obtaining permission to make finances and welfare decisions on behalf of a loved one, get in touch with our Court of Protection solicitors in Peterborough by calling 01733 898975 or by paying us a visit.

What our Court of Protection solicitors in Peterborough can do for you

Our Court of Protection expertise includes:

  • Advice on mental capacity
  • Court of Protection deputy appointments
  • Statutory Wills
  • Urgent decisions and emergency decisions
  • Selling jointly owned property
  • Deprivation of Liberty Orders and challenges

What is mental capacity?

The Court of Protection will only make orders and authorise people to make decisions on behalf of someone else if they lack mental capacity.

Mental capacity is the ability to make your own decisions. A person lacks mental capacity – usually due to injury, illness, or learning disability – when they cannot:

  • Understand information needed to make a decision when it needs to be made (mental capacity can fluctuate)
  • Retain and process information needed to make a decision
  • Weigh up information in order to come to an informed decision
  • Communicate their decision (although this needn’t be through words; it could be through signs or other non-verbal cues)

Assessing whether someone lacks mental capacity is a serious task because a person’s right to personal autonomy is extremely important and should be respected as much as possible.

If you are worried about a loved one’s mental capacity, our Court of Protection lawyers can provide expert advice based on years of experience as to whether it’s necessary to make a Court of Protection application due to a lack of mental capacity.

Deputyships

A Court of Protection Deputy is someone authorised to make decisions on behalf of a person who cannot do so themselves due to mental incapacity, for example, due to:

  • Brain injury causing cognitive, behavioural, and/or emotional problems
  • Brain illness, such as dementia
  • Severe learning difficulties
  • Severe mental health issues

There are two types of Court of Protection deputy, and you can either become one type or both:

  • Property and Financial Affairs Deputy – authorised to make decisions about things like paying the bills, mortgage, and rent, managing a pension, and accessing bank accounts
  • Personal Welfare Deputy – authorised to make decisions about things like someone’s care, medical treatment, and day-to-day routine

Deputyship applications are confusing and complex, requiring many different forms and evidence (including expert evidence to prove mental incapacity). Therefore, it’s crucial to consult a specialist Court of Protection solicitor to assist you in making the application.

Statutory Wills

To make a valid Will, a person must have mental capacity (called Testamentary Capacity). If someone loses their Testamentary Capacity and cannot make a Will, they are at risk of dying intestate and their money and property being distributed contrary to their wishes under the rules of intestacy.

Therefore, it is possible to apply to the Court of Protection to make what is called a Statutory Will.

A person lacks Testamentary Capacity where:

  • They do not understand what a Will is or what making one means
  • They do not understand how much money or property they own
  • They do not understand the effect of the Will on anyone included or excluded, or anyone who would inherit under the rules of intestacy

Our expert Court of Protection solicitors can guide you through the complex procedure of applying for a Statutory Will, including obtaining a medical report to prove Testamentary Incapacity, and assembling a summary schedule of the incapacitated person’s assets, income, and expenditure.

Urgent and emergency decisions

Although we always act without delay on behalf of our clients, the Court of Protection often takes several weeks to process applications. However, if you need to make a fast decision on behalf of someone else, we can help you make an application for an:

  • Urgent interim order – if you are applying to become a deputy but your application is still being processed, you can make an application for a one-off decision, for example, to access a person’s bank account to pay a bill
  • Emergency order – you need to make an emergency decision on someone’s behalf, for example, the incapacitated person is having a medical emergency but cannot consent to essential medical treatment

Selling jointly owned property

If you jointly own property or land with someone who has lost their mental capacity and you want to sell, you may be prevented because the joint owner cannot sign legal documents.

In this situation, our Court of Protection lawyers can help you apply to appoint someone to act on behalf of the joint owner. If you are already a Court of Protection Deputy, you are not automatically authorised to act for the joint owner, so it is essential to consult a solicitor for advice on how to proceed.

Deprivation of liberty

When someone lacking mental capacity is in a care home or hospital, it is sometimes in their best interests to restrict their movements and activities in order to protect them.

However, because liberty is a human right, it can only be restricted in essential circumstances, and any care home or hospital looking to deprive someone of their liberty can only do so in accordance with the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, and upon receiving authorisation from the local authority.

Unfortunately, not all deprivations of liberty are correct or necessary. If you suspect your loved one’s liberty is being restricted and it is not in their best interests or they actually have mental capacity, then we can help you apply to the Court of Protection to challenge the local authority authorisation.

Why instruct Roythornes’ Court of Protection lawyers in Peterborough?

At Roythornes we have an in-depth knowledge of the law surrounding the Court of Protection and the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and broad experience assisting clients with all types of application.

Our team is led by Elizabeth Young, a Partner of our firm and member of the Court of Protection Panel of Professional Deputies, meaning she is authorised to act as a deputy for people lacking mental capacity and can provide expert advice on acting as a deputy.

Elizabeth is also a member of Solicitors for the Elderly, demonstrating her experience across legal matters commonly affecting our older clients.

Our team also includes Alexandra Stephenson, an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friend with insight into supporting vulnerable people. Gemma Hopper has previous experience working at the Office of the Public Guardian and is a specialist Court of Protection solicitor.

Roythornes is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Contact our Court of Protection solicitors in Peterborough for further advice today

For further advice and information about obtaining permission to make finances and welfare decisions on behalf of a loved one, get in touch with our Court of Protection solicitors in Peterborough by calling 01733 898975 or by paying us a visit.