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When you may apply to be a deputy

A deputy is an individual who is appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity (P).

You will need to file a deputyship application if you want to be legally appointed as a deputy.

Responsibilities of a deputy

As a deputy, you must do all of the following:

  • Comply with court orders on what you are required to do.
  • Make decisions or take actions only within the scope of the powers given to you by the court.
  • Submit annual reports to the Ministry of Social and Family Development's Office of Public Guardian to explain all the decisions you made for P and how you had used P's monies for their benefit.
    • To do so, you will need to keep a record of all the decisions you made for P and the reasons. This includes keeping a record of statements, vouchers, receipts and other financial records related to P's property and affairs.
  • Avoid disposing of P's property. This includes giving them away as gifts.

Please refer to The Mental Capacity Act: A Deputy's Guide published by the Office of Public Guardian for more information on the duties and responsibilities of a deputy. 

Checklist before you file

What to do

Check if you should apply under the simplified or standard process

Understand the differences between the simplified and standard process and check which process applies to your case.

Obtain a medical report from a doctor

You will need to bring P to see a doctor and obtain a medical report to certify P's lack of mental capacity. The report must be dated within the last 6 months of your application.

The steps to take depend on whether you are applying through the standard process or the simplified process.

Notify the relevant persons and seek their consent

Relevant persons are people who have an involvement in P’s life and are likely to have an interest in a deputyship application for P.

These could be P's immediate family members such as:

  • P's spouse.
  • P's children (aged 21 years and above).
  • P's parents or guardians.
  • P's brothers and sisters (aged 21 years and above).

Apart from immediate family members, there may be other relevant persons such as:

  • Other relatives or friends who have a close relationship with P.
  • People who have a legal duty to support P.
  • People who will benefit from P's estate.
  • People who are responsible for P's care.

You will need to inform all relevant persons of your deputyship application.

However, if consent from the relevant person cannot be obtained for various reasons (such as being uncontactable or not being involved in P’s life for a significant period), then the applicant applying to be the deputy must explain this in his or her application.

The steps to take depend on whether you are applying through the standard process or the simplified process.

What to consider

You will have to consider the following factors before submitting your application to be a deputy.

  • The care and financial plan for P.
    • Where is P going to stay?
    • Who will be taking care of P?
    • How long can P's funds last?
    • What are the arrangements for paying for the expenses incurred for P?
  • Deputy powers to apply for and which powers various organisations need to let you perform transactions as P's deputy. You should include these powers in your application.
    • Examples of powers include: transferring funds from P's bank account, making insurance claims, managing matters related to P's house, giving consent to medical treatment and so on.

Please refer to The Mental Capacity Act: A Deputy's Guide published by the Office of Public Guardian for more information on the duties and responsibilities of a deputy. 

Find out more

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more


Refer to the deputyship brochure: 

Legislation associated with this topic includes:

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