Acting as a deputy or an attorney is an onerous task in the best of times and has become more difficult recently.

In times of the disease outbreak, the role and responsibilities of a deputy or attorney remain unchanged. They must continue to act in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity at all times.

A deputy or attorney cannot delegate their decision-making power to anyone else. However they may ask someone to undertake tasks for them. If, for example, a deputy or attorney is self-isolating or shielding, they can ask someone to do some shopping on their behalf or deposit a cheque.

If a deputy or attorney needs to make a decision but wants to talk to the person who lacks capacity first, they should think about how urgent it is and whether it could be delayed.

If it is urgent, they could use the phone, a video call or have a care worker pass on the information. They could also think about the decisions and written statements the person who lacks capacity has made in the past to see if that can help them make the decision.

It is not possible to temporarily give up a role as a deputy or an attorney. If someone has accepted the role they must either act – or step down completely. If someone chooses to completely step down they should, before doing so, give consideration to who will manage the affairs of the person who lacks capacity if they do not.

If you would like any advice on the roles of deputies and attorneys please contact a member of our team by telephone on 01376 567280 or email

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