06 January 2015

Deputies’ charges — 18 December 2014 report to Parliament

Paul Hewitt
Partner | UK

The Office of the Public Guardian has recommended improvements to the supervision of deputies, including the introduction of annual deputyship plans, asset inventories and charging estimates, in a review presented to Parliament last month.

Deputies are appointed by the Court of Protection where individuals lack capacity to manage their own affairs but do not have a valid Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney in place.

The review was commissioned in response to MPs’ complaints about professional charges levied in connection with some deputyship. In some cases a significant proportion of the assets in the case had been swallowed up by the deputyship charges.

In its report, the OPG points out that its supervision caseload has more than doubled since the commencement of the Mental Capacity Act and the resulting boom in registration of lasting powers of attorney.

Growth is predicted to continue for some years. This is clearly relevant to the legacy sector as increasingly benefactors’ affairs will have been entrusted to a deputy prior to death.

Better control of professional deputy charges is a key component of the proposed reforms. The new regime is likely to include annual plans, with work and cost estimates. There will be further discussions with the Senior Court Costs Office, which governs the ability of professional deputies to recover their charges from the estate of the person lacking capacity. Also, the OPG will launch a public consultation this autumn on the fees charged for supervising deputies.

The review states ‘It is the intention that these several measures will address MPs’ concerns on the level of charges’. It can be downloaded by clicking here.

(text taken from STEP 5 January update)

Category: Article