Looking into applying to be a Deputy for my son under Court of Protection. Are there disadvantages? — Scope | Disability forum
If we become concerned about you or anyone else while using one of our services, we will act in line with our safeguarding policy and procedures. This may involve sharing this information with relevant authorities to ensure we comply with our policies and legal obligations.

Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

Looking into applying to be a Deputy for my son under Court of Protection. Are there disadvantages?

SteveE
SteveE Member Posts: 69 Pioneering
I'm looking into applying to be a Deputy for my son, under the Court of Protection process. My son is 50. And I'd be pleased to hear about the experience of other parents who have gone down this route. I can see the advantage of being legally seen as a  decision maker but (along with the rather hefty fees, upfront and ongoing) are there any disadvantages? Thanks in advance.
«1

Comments

  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 9,511 Scope online community team
    Hi @SteveE :) This isn't something I have experience of, so I'm not able to help in that sense. I made an edit to the title of your post to make it a little clearer what your exact question is.

    When having a look online, I mainly found information about what a deputy can and can't do, rather than disadvantages or drawbacks. Have you read into everything that would be required of you, and what your powers would be? 
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Want to tell us how we're doing? Complete our feedback form now.
  • SteveE
    SteveE Member Posts: 69 Pioneering
    Hi @SteveE :) This isn't something I have experience of, so I'm not able to help in that sense. I made an edit to the title of your post to make it a little clearer what your exact question is.

    When having a look online, I mainly found information about what a deputy can and can't do, rather than disadvantages or drawbacks. Have you read into everything that would be required of you, and what your powers would be? 
    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes I have read the whole lot. If folks who are already a Deputy under a Court of Protection are able to say they've found no drawbacks, then that would be very very helpful. 

    It'd be good to know if Scope itself has any advice on this.

    My interest in applying has been prompted by two recent and separate instances with support organisations of being obstructed in sorting things for our son. Given we make every decision for our son (and have done so for the last 50 years) it is worrying when authorities start demanding proof of our right to speak for our son. He has never been able to give that permission - and that is also why Lasting Power of Attorney is not applicable here. The daft thing is that one of the two authorities suggested we write a letter "from our son" giving his permission for us to speak for him, and to have him sign with a thumbprint! Of course, all of that would have to be initialised by us, written by us, thumbprint somehow done with our help, and delivered by us. Nonsense. 

    Hoping we are not the only ones in this position.

    Steve

  • LargoVistas2021
    LargoVistas2021 Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Have you spoken to a Solicitor at all? There are ones which specialise just in this area who may be able to given some general advice, some will have an initial chat for free, or can provide assistance if needed. 
  • ScoliFibroGirl
    ScoliFibroGirl Member Posts: 54 Courageous
    Has your son had Mental Capability assessment or have assessed him as unable to make decisions on finances, housing etc? 
    Your social worker should first bet to ask about this and see where he stands. As you want to ensure that you can take control of decisions about his care/finances? 
  • niknak7278
    niknak7278 Member Posts: 72 Courageous
    SteveE said:
    Hi @SteveE :) This isn't something I have experience of, so I'm not able to help in that sense. I made an edit to the title of your post to make it a little clearer what your exact question is.

    When having a look online, I mainly found information about what a deputy can and can't do, rather than disadvantages or drawbacks. Have you read into everything that would be required of you, and what your powers would be? 
    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes I have read the whole lot. If folks who are already a Deputy under a Court of Protection are able to say they've found no drawbacks, then that would be very very helpful. 

    It'd be good to know if Scope itself has any advice on this.

    My interest in applying has been prompted by two recent and separate instances with support organisations of being obstructed in sorting things for our son. Given we make every decision for our son (and have done so for the last 50 years) it is worrying when authorities start demanding proof of our right to speak for our son. He has never been able to give that permission - and that is also why Lasting Power of Attorney is not applicable here. The daft thing is that one of the two authorities suggested we write a letter "from our son" giving his permission for us to speak for him, and to have him sign with a thumbprint! Of course, all of that would have to be initialised by us, written by us, thumbprint somehow done with our help, and delivered by us. Nonsense. 

    Hoping we are not the only ones in this position.

    Steve

    Hi Steve,

    I’m in a similar situation.  My daughter is 31 and when I approached a solicitor for advice he asked me to contact the social worker to gauge support.  

    Solicitor said judges often refer to the social worker whether to grant an application or not.

    I asked my daughters social worker to help remedy this and she suggested that a note can be added to my daughters file to cover me legally, which quite frankly, isn’t good enough.  

    I’ve found myself being locked out of her medical care for 3 months this year because there’s nothing formal in place.

    I should have arranged an LPA for my daughter years ago, but now it’s too late as she’s been found to  lack capacity.

    If the local authority apply for a DoLs then I can ask the judge for a deputyship during proceedings, therefore avoiding the court fees.

    As others have said, please seek legal advice from a solicitor.





  • JustPete
    JustPete Community Volunteer Adviser, Community Co-Production Group Posts: 174 Pioneering
    @SteveE Hello Steve, I extend my welcome to you and I hope you are finding the community helpful.

    I found myself extremely ill in hospital (first time in my life) 2 years ago, aged 48.  It was fairly traumatic, and after 10days I woke up in ICU.  A few days later I began to realise how much control I had in my life, but this meant I had not extended control to others for the unforeseen situation of incapacity.  A few days later I had my laptop bought into me and, much to doctors disapproval, got into my wheelchair so I could pay bills, pay PAs, renew my house insurance.....etc etc.

    I realised then the urgent need to do the LPA & OGA.  2years on, i have read your post.  Shamefully I still have not done it.

    Others , including yourself, have mentioned Solicitors quite rightly.  Of course there are many on the Market and there is no CompareTheSolicitor unfortunately.  You will have to do your own research and make your own choice.

    My very personal experience is with Irwin Mitchell, and I have only good words to say about them.  They are easily found on the website.  TO BE CLEAR.......this is not a recommendation, it is merely a brief thumbs up to how they have worked with me.

    All the best navigating this matter.
    I am a Scope Community Volunteer Adviser with knowledge of "life"!  Lived experience including employing personal assistants, being gay, sport & leisure inclusion & participation, mental health issues.  If I can't help, I will endeavour to find somebody who can.

    What is the bravest thing you've ever said? asked the boy. 'Help,' said the horse.  'Asking for help isn't giving up,' said the horse. 'It's refusing to give up.”
  • Reg
    Reg Member Posts: 109 Pioneering
    Hello @SteveE

    I would endorse what has been said. If your relative has capacity then it is LPA and if not then the Deputy application.

    I do not think there are any disadvantages to an application other than the legal fees.

    A good place to start in finding a specialist solicitor is STEP - the national society for trust and estate practitioners .

    They have a list of members and it is worth contacting a few as fees can vary so widely and the most expensive may well not be the best. 
    Reg

    I am a Scope volunteer.
  • niknak7278
    niknak7278 Member Posts: 72 Courageous
    edited November 2021
    JustPete said:
    @SteveE Hello Steve, I extend my welcome to you and I hope you are finding the community helpful.

    I found myself extremely ill in hospital (first time in my life) 2 years ago, aged 48.  It was fairly traumatic, and after 10days I woke up in ICU.  A few days later I began to realise how much control I had in my life, but this meant I had not extended control to others for the unforeseen situation of incapacity.  A few days later I had my laptop bought into me and, much to doctors disapproval, got into my wheelchair so I could pay bills, pay PAs, renew my house insurance.....etc etc.

    I realised then the urgent need to do the LPA & OGA.  2years on, i have read your post.  Shamefully I still have not done it.

    Others , including yourself, have mentioned Solicitors quite rightly.  Of course there are many on the Market and there is no CompareTheSolicitor unfortunately.  You will have to do your own research and make your own choice.

    My very personal experience is with Irwin Mitchell, and I have only good words to say about them.  They are easily found on the website.  TO BE CLEAR.......this is not a recommendation, it is merely a brief thumbs up to how they have worked with me.

    All the best navigating this matter.
    IM were pretty phenomenal with my daughter’s case.  Just a shame legal aid isn’t available for certain situations.


  • Bewy
    Bewy Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Interesting read and very helpful. I've just joined the group as I am looking into Deputyship for my 18 year old son who lacks capacity and has done since birth. Does anyone have any experience of applying themselves without paying a Solicitor?
  • niknak7278
    niknak7278 Member Posts: 72 Courageous
    Bewy said:
    Interesting read and very helpful. I've just joined the group as I am looking into Deputyship for my 18 year old son who lacks capacity and has done since birth. Does anyone have any experience of applying themselves without paying a Solicitor?
    Welcome!  

    I would also be interested to hear from anyone who applied independently.  


  • Bewy
    Bewy Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Looks like I have hit on a useful subject, I will start a new more specific thread to see if we can get more feedback. Kindest regards and thank you SteveE for starting us off.
  • SteveE
    SteveE Member Posts: 69 Pioneering
    Thanks to everyone for their comments. We have been laid low for a number of weeks due to having a heavy cold (thankfully not the dreaded Covid) so unable to do much. 

    Our plan was/is to consult a solicitor. The adult social care people know all about us so we have no problem with anyone checking with them. 

    The problem - getting authorities to accept us as speaking for our son - has cropped up again. I won't give name of the authority right now, but this is becoming a serious problem and could result in injury or worse for our son. We then asked just how they expect our son to raise those issues, they just say they cannot tell us as we are not entitled to ask or receive an answer. Absolute dead-end. What on earth do we do!  They will of course accept Deputyship. And that brings us back to the initial and ongoing costs.

    Just to say on the question of "having capacity" - our son's physical abilities can compared to that of a two month old baby and no-one would expect a two month old baby to have a conversation, write an email, make a telephone call, or contact the authorities over issues such as feeding regimes, wheelchair suitability, lack of health professional oversight and so on. 

    I'm so glad our situation chimes with others. Court of Protection leading to Deputyship seems the only solution as clearly simply being parents (now 70+ old), caring 24x7x365 for our quite helpless son (he is nearly 51), is not sufficient 'proof'. 

    I should add that our MP has expressed some interest in the matter and because the authorities must respond to an MP's queries, it does at least make the authorities respond. Even if that response is not always helpfully!

    Sometimes it feels like it might be better if we all just close our eyes and give up.



     
  • Alex_Scope
    Alex_Scope Posts: 3,660 Scope online community team
    Hi @SteveE I'm sorry to hear about the frustrations you're coming up against. I hope this forum can provide some emotional support for you at the very least, if not the practical advice our members have already shared.

    Let us know if things develop further with your MP, and if you ever feel we could offer additional support, then please do ask. 

    In terms of looking after yourselves as carers, do you feel you're getting enough support at the moment? 
    Online Community Coordinator
    Scope

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Want to give us feedback? Complete our feedback form now.
  • SteveE
    SteveE Member Posts: 69 Pioneering
    Hi @SteveE I'm sorry to hear about the frustrations you're coming up against. I hope this forum can provide some emotional support for you at the very least, if not the practical advice our members have already shared.

    Let us know if things develop further with your MP, and if you ever feel we could offer additional support, then please do ask. 

    In terms of looking after yourselves as carers, do you feel you're getting enough support at the moment? 
    Thanks Alex. In answer to your last sentence, we are more than happy to continue looking after (caring) for our son. Yes the days are long, 14 hours plus, but the rewards are huge. As for support, it is often the little things that help. But the recent trend (by authorities) of rejecting us as being able to speak on behalf of our son is proving extremely difficult, time-consuming and at times prevents discussion and actions that affect our son's health. Given our son cannot raise these issues himself, it is an obstacle we just do not need if we are to carry on what we do. So, on this problem, the answer to your question is "no" we do not get enough support, mainly because all the places we seek help tell us it is not for them to solve it. Perhaps the fragmentation of the NHS into CCGs, Primary Care Partnerships, Integrated Neighbourhood Teams, or failing GP surgeries is a factor, or likewise the withdrawal of named professionals (eg physio, social worker) who once maintained a watching eye (sometimes by regular face-to-face sessions/meetings or appointments with us/our son) - now it is all done by "referral" and when that matter is finished, being taken off the books. Reactive not proactive. Since our son cannot refer himself, it is left to us to refer. Then we face the battle of being ignored anyway. Being not ignored would help, even if we still have issues to resolve. When once we (all three of us) had the support via a circle of care, we no longer have that circle. Wow. Sorry for long reply. 
  • Alex_Scope
    Alex_Scope Posts: 3,660 Scope online community team
    Don't apologise @SteveE, it's helpful to understand what you're going through :)

    Forgive me for asking, but would additional social care support be of any benefit? I can understand if that's not an option, among many potential reasons, adult social care is in crisis, it's just concerning to hear that you feel your circle of care no longer exists.
    Online Community Coordinator
    Scope

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Want to give us feedback? Complete our feedback form now.
  • SteveE
    SteveE Member Posts: 69 Pioneering
    Don't apologise @SteveE, it's helpful to understand what you're going through :)

    Forgive me for asking, but would additional social care support be of any benefit? I can understand if that's not an option, among many potential reasons, adult social care is in crisis, it's just concerning to hear that you feel your circle of care no longer exists.
    Hi Alex - not really a social care matter, it is the healthcare side of things that is the problem with their current view that we parents can't act on behalf of our son.

    The "circle of care" does not exist. I'm surprised that it exists elsewhere. Here, it is all done by referral these days. And increasingly now it seems each referral has to be initiated by our son which is of course impossible.

    About ten years ago, our son has named health professionals from different disciplines keeping a regular eye on him and happily discussing any issues with us. Our son even had a senior health professional (not the GP) who visited, advised and resolved any clash of advice from other health professionals. Then first the senior person was removed, and we were told the coordination role was to be replaced by our GP (we actually had a named GP at the time), and all the health professionals would form a circle of care, with regular sessions with our son, and (as a group) regularly review our son's wellbeing and health. Then, unknown to us, things like regular physio at his day centre was stopped, leaving it to the day centre staff, and then the latter also stopped (again unknown to us). We only found out when his condition worsened. He now gets no physio at all, beyond what his aging parents can manage.

    We were very recently asked to provide the name of our son's social worker. We had to explain that (at least in our area) adult social care no longer assign a named social worker to people like our son - such services are done by referral as and when.

    We were also asked to provide the name of our son's GP. But he no longer has a named GP. The best we could offer was the details on our GP surgery's website which says "Named GP: Dr xxxxxxxx " (where xxxxxx is the name of the surgery). It is laughable but truly unhelpful. Of course all contact with the surgery is via the main desk, in a phone queue, with everyone else.

    Once again, I'm sorry for the length of this reply. But I hope I am painting the picture for you. May I ask if other people here have the things we seem to have lost over the years - or is it all by referral? And do they allow you to act for your cared-for? 

    We do try to keep cheerful and we always hope something good is just round the corner.

    Steve

  • Alex_Scope
    Alex_Scope Posts: 3,660 Scope online community team
    Hi @SteveE thank you you certainly are painting a picture. I can only hope to emphathise with you!

    In my own experience as someone with Cerebral Palsy, I can say that my physiotherapy, once I hit the age of 16, was stopped, and is only available now by my own request, so I'm assuming referral.

    I'm also not sure if I've ever seen my 'named GP' at my surgery, it's always a different Dr or nurse, not that they aren't capable of course- but I understand for admin purposes where your frustrations lie. I don't have any regular or annual check ups related to my CP, not since childhood, but it is relatively mild compared to many others with the condition.

    I hope that our members can share their experiences with you, and hopefully we can continue to support each other :)
    Online Community Coordinator
    Scope

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Want to give us feedback? Complete our feedback form now.
  • SteveE
    SteveE Member Posts: 69 Pioneering
    Has your son had Mental Capability assessment or have assessed him as unable to make decisions on finances, housing etc? 
    Your social worker should first bet to ask about this and see where he stands. As you want to ensure that you can take control of decisions about his care/finances? 
    Thanks for the reply! Well, yes to the first question, it crops up during the regular NHS/Local Authority bunfight over who funds help for him. On your second point, we have mentioned this many times with the social worker (remember in our area there is no named, assigned social worker any more, so it can be just the next social worker in the queue) and Deputyship is the only formal option open to us. We have of course managed all decisions on all matters since he was born in early 1971. Somehow, the authorities have suddenly demanded "proof".

    I do appreciate you raising the questions.

    Steve

  • niknak7278
    niknak7278 Member Posts: 72 Courageous
    SteveE said:
    Has your son had Mental Capability assessment or have assessed him as unable to make decisions on finances, housing etc? 
    Your social worker should first bet to ask about this and see where he stands. As you want to ensure that you can take control of decisions about his care/finances? 
    Thanks for the reply! Well, yes to the first question, it crops up during the regular NHS/Local Authority bunfight over who funds help for him. On your second point, we have mentioned this many times with the social worker (remember in our area there is no named, assigned social worker any more, so it can be just the next social worker in the queue) and Deputyship is the only formal option open to us. We have of course managed all decisions on all matters since he was born in early 1971. Somehow, the authorities have suddenly demanded "proof".

    I do appreciate you raising the questions.

    Steve

    Hi @SteveE

    If you haven’t contacted Mencap already, please do at your earliest convenience.

    Their contact details are as follows:

     0808 808 1111.

    Or you can email [email protected]

    I contacted them last March and within a few hours, they referred me to the access charity and a wonderful advocate who really battled my corner when I was locked out of my daughters care.


  • Alex_Scope
    Alex_Scope Posts: 3,660 Scope online community team
    Thanks so much for sharing @niknak7278 I'm pleased to hear your experience with Mencap has been so positive. 

    How are you getting on @SteveE?
    Online Community Coordinator
    Scope

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Want to give us feedback? Complete our feedback form now.

Brightness

Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.