The benefits of appointing a Property and Financial Affairs Deputy in a Personal Injury claim
Some accidents can result in brain injuries that leave the victim unable to manage their affairs. This can leave the person and his family in a very difficult position, with no access to the limited monies that person had. In those circumstances, then someone can be appointed by the Court of Protection to deal with their assets. This can be complex, and many families look to professional assistance to ensure that their loved one is maximising their entitlements and life chances.
Incorporating the costs of a Professional Deputy into the Litigation Claim
Where a Professional Deputy is appointed, their fees can add up to several hundred thousand pounds over the claimant’s lifetime. It is therefore essential that these projected costs are adequately calculated and provided for within the claimant’s personal injury claim. To achieve this, it will be necessary for the claimant’s litigation team to liaise with the Deputyship team, to establish a realistic estimate of the costs.
Professional or Lay Deputy?
This is the first decision that will need to be made when appointing a Deputy for someone who lacks capacity. There are significant benefits to appointing a Professional Deputy, as opposed to a Lay Deputy, especially in personal injury cases, where the cost is recovered.
Professional Deputies are used to handling the complexities and frustrations of dealing with the Court of Protection and the Office of the Public Guardian, where delays are frequent and paperwork requirements are time consuming.
A Professional Deputy will have practical knowledge of the practicalities of administration of the claimant’s estate. They can add value in terms of investing monies, via independent financial advisors. They can ensure that a budget is set that will maximise the claimant’s damages award, so that it will serve the claimant for the entirety of their life. They can advise on the complex labyrinth of funding options form Local Authorities and the NHS. They also can help with the many varied problems that arise during the protected party’s life, including family issues, property adaptations, securing disabled persons grants, etc.
There is great benefit to both the litigation solicitor and the claimant’s family to have a Professional Deputy with extensive knowledge of dealing with brain injury litigation cases.
Once substantial interim payments, and later settlement monies are received, the burden will become greater for the Deputy, and will frequently become too daunting for family members alone.
By appointing a Professional Deputy, it leaves family members free to focus their attention on other issues, such as day to day care of the claimant and supporting the claimant in their rehabilitation.
A professional deputy must consult with family and take the least restrictive path. That said, a professional Deputies is also able to act dispassionately and if needed can moderate unreasonable demands, by the protected party or others.
The first few years in the life of a litigation claim, and up until settlement, are often characterised by setting up care regimes and therapy packages, purchasing an appropriate property and managing the adaptation of the same. This will involve, amongst other things, the Deputy managing payment of invoices, liaising with builders and suppliers, directly corresponding with agencies, or directly employing support workers and therapists, and management of the all direct employee’s payroll requirements. This can quickly become overwhelming for family, who have hands on care responsibilities.
The advantages of appointing a Professional Deputy at the outset
If a Lay Deputy is not appointed in the first instance, then it will make it much harder for the litigation team to claim for the costs of a Professional Deputy in the future. If a Professional Deputy is in place during the life of the litigation claim, then there is an established need, which can be shown. Of course, once the first turbulent years are out of the way, then the Professional Deputy can be replaced by a family member, if that is in the Protected Parties financial interest.
*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*