The question of what happens to a person in the event that they are unfortunate enough to lose their mental capacity is one that we are frequently asked. The concept of making someone a Ward of Court is something that most people have heard of, but what is it?.
This is a process by which an individual, usually someone who has been unlucky enough to have had their mental capacity reduced significantly either by accident or illness, is taken under the protection of the High Court so that their financial affairs and other matters that affect them can be dealt with for their benefit. If someone is made a Ward of Court, the usual process is that all of their assets come under the protection of the High Court, and any decisions that are required to be made regarding the persons finances are made through the High Court, which has to issue a consent to all matters concerning the Wards financial affairs. Generally, although not always, all of the Wards assets get encashed and the cash fund is lodged with the Wards of Court office in Dublin, who then invest the funds for the benefit of the Ward.
The process by which someone is made a Ward of Court is that usually a family member, although it does not have to be a direct relation, will commence the application process by instructing a solicitor who is experienced in the area, to act for them. A document called a Petition has to be completed which sets out full details of the individual who is being made a Ward of Court, and it sets out full details of all of their assets and liabilities and their direct relations .
Once that document is completed, it is lodged in the Wards of Court office together with two affidavits from two separate Doctors who must both say that in their view, the individual concerned no longer has the necessary mental capacity to manage their own affairs. Once those documents are lodged, the Wards of Court office will arrange for an indpendent medical pracitiioner to examine the proposed Ward and once their report becomes available, and on the assumption that their finding is that the person does need to be taken into Wardship, the application will then be listed for hearing in the High Court. Once that hearing takes place and the relevant orders are made, the individual is deemed to be a Ward of Court and from then on all matters concerning them have to be dealt with through the Wards of Court office. The person or persons who apply to have the individual made a Ward of Court are known as “the committee”. The Committee can be involved in ongoing dialogue with the Wards of Court office about the Wards affairs if they wish to be.
We are happy to elaborate further and answer any additional queries you may have about this complex area of Law.
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