What will happen if you become vulnerable and no longer able to manage your own affairs?

Many people do not appreciate what would happen in this circumstance, particularly if the individual has not made a Lasting Power of Attorney. The reality of modern society is that each of us will be faced with the possibility of losing capacity, or dealing with a family member who has lost capacity or has additional needs.  

This is when the Court of Protection steps in. The aim of the Court of Protection is to protect and empower vulnerable people including those who suffer from mental incapacity regardless of whether this is due to age, illness or accident. 

The Court of Protection will select someone to be appointed as a Deputy for the vulnerable person, who is tasked with managing their affairs. It is an onerous task and one that should not be taken lightly, with reporting requirements to the Court and the need for annual returns. In some instances, this will be a family member, spouse or friend who is appointed to act. 

However, on some occasions there is no-one suitable or willing to take on the role. In these circumstances the Court of Protection will select a member from its Panel of Professional Deputies, which is a body of people who are selected, nationwide, for their skill and expertise in the area. It is a select group of only 68 people across the country who are selected after a rigorous qualification and selection process. 

Wolferstans Solicitors are pleased to announce that Samantha Buckthought, Partner and Head of the Wills and Trust Department has again been appointed to the Official Panel of Professional Deputies for the Court of Protection. Samantha has been a Panel Deputy since 2011, and following a recent re-selection process by the Office of the Public Guardian, which required all existing Panel Deputies to resubmit their application, Samantha has been successfully reappointed. Samantha is one of only 23 of the previous deputies who have been re-appointed, and one of only 3 in the Devon and Cornwall area. 

The appointment means that the Court of Protection may now call upon Samantha to act as an Independent Deputy for an incapacitated person, where there is no family member or friend able to act or where circumstances dictate that the person’s affairs would be better dealt with by an independent professional.  

Samantha commented “I am delighted to accept this prestigious appointment, which is not just personal recognition, but is also reflective of the hard work and expertise of all the members of my team and Wolferstans as a whole. My reappointment to the Panel will mean that we will be able to continue to help clients whom we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to and, with more and more people losing mental capacity every year, it will enable us to assist family members at what is such a difficult time. 

Whether I am acting as a Deputy for an individual or not, I hope that people will come to us as specialists for any advice they may need in dealing with the affairs of another person, as we pride ourselves on approaching these matters not only through the correct legal channels, but also practically to assist families on a day to day basis.” 

Samantha heads up a team of specialist lawyers who cover all elements of Court of Protection, Wills, Trusts and Estate work. If you would like more information about applications to the Court of Protection, please contact Sophie O’Connell on 01752 292355.

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