The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has published a practice note on family care payments, also known as gratuitous care payments. It sets out the legal framework and the OPG’s view of how Court of Protection deputies should approach family care payments, including factors for them to consider when deciding on the level of such payments.
It is common for family members and friends to provide some level of informal care for someone who lacks mental capacity. This might involve cooking meals, helping with hygiene, supervising or being a companion. Arrangements may vary from being occasional to full-time care involving nursing and physiotherapy skills.
The practice note sets out the OPG's position on care payments that deputies make to family members who are providing care. It defines what is meant by a family care payment and sets out the legal framework, the deputy’s authority to make payments and the OPG’s view on factors to consider when agreeing and calculating such payments.
The guidance applies to deputies appointed by the court under a finance and property order. The position of attorneys acting under a lasting or enduring power of attorney will depend on the specific powers granted under the power. However, attorneys may find the factors to consider a useful guide when making best-interests decisions about payments for care.