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The Court of Protection – what does it cost?

Court of Protection costs for professional property and affairs deputies

There are a number of costs associated with the Court of Protection for property and affairs deputyships.

These were amended in February 2011 and are outlined below:

Payments to Solicitors acting as professional deputy for property and affairs

Solicitors working for Court of Protection clients are subject to fixed costs, which are set by the Court.

Solicitors working for Court of Protection clients are subject to fixed costs, which are set by the Court. Solicitors can, if the Client’s assets are greater than £16,000, ask for their fees to be assessed if they feel the fixed costs limit is inappropriate for the amount of work they have done. The fixed costs are therefore to be treated as a minimum fee you can expect to be charged. It is entirely normal for fees to be greater, and sometimes far greater than the fixed costs limits.

On assessment, the Senior Courts Costs Office determines how much the solicitor should recover for the work undertaken. They are under a duty to ensure that the solicitor only recovers what is fair and reasonable.

The fixed costs are as follows:

Applications to Court

Work done up to and including the date of deputyship order £950 (plus VAT)
Applications under sections 36 (9) or 54 of the Trustee Act 1925 or section 20 of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 and section 18(1) (j) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 £500 (plus VAT)


Annual Management Fee

Annual management fee for professional deputy for property and affairs, payable on the anniversary of the court order:

(a) for the first year £1,670 (plus VAT)
(b) for the second and subsequent years £1,320 (plus VAT)

Where the net assets of the client are below £16,000, the professional deputy for property and affairs may take an annual management fee of no more than 4.5% of the client’s net assets on the anniversary of the deputyship order.

If the period of claiming the annual management fee is less than one year, for example where the deputyship comes to an end before the one year anniversary, then the amount claimed must be proportionate to that period.

Annual Reporting

Preparation and lodgment of the annual report or annual account to the Office of the Public Guardian £265
(plus VAT)
Preparation of an HMRC income tax return on behalf of the client £250
(plus VAT)


Conveyancing Fees

Where a deputy or other person authorised by the court is selling or purchasing a property on behalf of the client, the following fixed rates will apply except where the sale or purchase is by trustees in which case, the costs should be agreed with the trustees:

A conveyancer can charge 0.15% of the purchase price with a minimum sum of £400 and a maximum sum of £1,670 plus disbursements

Associated costs

Application fee (payable on making an application) £400
Deputy assessment fee (payable once and following appointment of deputy) £100
Supervision fee (payable annually, starting at the end of the first year):The Court when making the deputyship order will assign what they believe is to be the most appropriate level of supervision to the deputyship. This can change during the life of the deputyship. There are four types:
General Supervision Level

Minimum Supervision Level

£320

£35

Security bond (payable annually and following appointment but prior to receiving deputyship order). The bond is calculated according to the Client’s assets.
The start rate is 0.5% (£25 premium for a £5,000 bond) with the rate reducing to 0.25% at £40,000 (£100) and continuing at that rate, – i.e. £25 for each £10,000 – up to £150,000 (£375). Above that, rates gradually reduce to 0.2% for a bond of £250,000 (£500) or above. A £500,000 bond requires a £1,000 premium and a £1M bond, £2,000. This is the limit of a bond for a lay deputy, but a professional deputy can obtain greater cover at the continuing rate of 0.2% of the bond value.Solicitors with adequate professional indemnity insurance can get the bond reduced to a value representing two to three years of P’s immediate expenditure needs.
A £115 assessment fee applies to bills under £3,000 and a £225 fee applies to bills greater than £3,000. There are also draftsman fees incurred at this stage, which are normally charged on the basis of an hourly rate. These are also assessed to make sure they are fair and reasonable. These would typically be between 6-7% of the total bill + VAT.
Medical evidence is normally required for first applications. This can cost anything up to £500 and sometimes more depending on the circumstances.


Exemptions to the associated Court Fees

You may be exempt from some of the Court of Protection fees, or entitled to pay a reduced amount.

You may be eligible for an exemption if you receive one of the following means tested benefits and you have not been awarded damages of more than £16,000 which were disregarded when determining your eligibility for the benefit:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Job-Seeker’s Allowance
  • State pension Guarantee Credit
  • A combination of Working tax Credit and either Child Tax Credit, Disability Element or Severe Disability
  • Element
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit

You may be eligible for a reduction if your gross annual income is less than £16,501.

  • Income up to £12,000 – No fee to pay
  • £12,001 to £13,500 – 75% reduction
  • £13,501 to £15,000 – 50% reduction
  • £15,501 to £16,500 – 25% reduction

Disclaimer: The information provided was correct at the time of writing but may have undergone changes following this point.

 

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