The Court of Protection generally favour the appointment of a family member as a Deputy for a person who lacks the mental capacity to manage their own property and financial affairs.
It is considered that a relative will usually be familiar with their affairs, wishes and feelings and are also likely to be in a better position to consult and encourage them to participate in any decisions made.
However, the Court considers the points raised in the matter of PAW  EWCOP 57 in which the Judge emphasised that there will be circumstances in which it is not always in the best interest of the person to appoint a family member. It may be that the proposed deputy has physically, emotionally or financially abused them; an investigation into the proposed deputy’s dealings with the person’s assets may be necessary; there may be a potential or actual conflict of interest or the proposed deputy has not managed their own financial affairs satisfactorily. The Court will not favour the appointment of a family member if there is an on-going friction between other members of the family or if there is evidence that the person has been influenced unduly. The Court are also likely to insist a professional deputy is appointed if there are substantial assets. In these circumstances, the appointment of a professional would be considered as a more suitable Deputy.
There may also be circumstances when there are no family members or due to illness or proximity, willing family members do not feel able to take on the onerous duties of a Deputy.
Partners of Wilson Browne who specialise in Court of Protection matters have been appointed as professional deputies for numerous people who lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs. Vicki Pearce and Beverley Beale have been accepted on the Panel of Deputies and are often directly invited to act by the Court.
We pride ourselves on the fact that we consult and work closely with the members of the family to get to know the individuals and ensure that we are acting in accordance with what the family believe would have been their wishes. We respect past and present relationships and whilst a family member may not be best placed to act as deputy, they will still wish to be an active part of their loved ones’ lives.