Deputyship and DoLS

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Vicky Bligh, Head of Private Client Services | 14th June 2022

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are intended to protect people who lack mental capacity from being detained when it is not in their best interests. This is particularly relevant when an incapacitated person goes into a Care or Nursing Home and so there is a requirement for an assessment to be carried out to ensure that being in care is in that person’s best interests.

Having mental capacity means being able to understand and retain information and to make a decision based on that information. Where a person lacks the mental capacity to manage their own financial affairs and they do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place, then it is often necessary for someone to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as Deputy for that person.

A Deputyship order usually gives the appointed Deputy general authority to manage the incapacitated person’s financial affairs and that used to include authority to sell their property for them. In most cases the incapacitated person will be living in a Care/Nursing Home, which needs to be funded from the proceeds of sale of their home.

Recent Change in Practice

There has been a recent change in practice at the Court of Protection. In the circumstances set out above, they now require evidence, as part of the Deputyship application that a standard authorisation under DoLS is in place before they will give the Deputy authority to sell the former home of the incapacitated person. It can take a while to obtain this authorisation, so if you are involved in a Deputyship application you should contact the Social Worker involved to get the process underway, at the earliest opportunity.

If you have any questions about the Court of Protection or Deputyship, please feel free to contact Vicky Bligh for advice.