Wardship /Ward of Court
What is Wardship?
Where a person is or is becoming mentally incapable of managing their own affairs, an application can be made to the President of the High Court to have the person made a Ward of Court. If the Court is satisfied that the person does not have the mental capacity to look after their own affairs the President of the High Court will make an Order taking them into Wardship. A person or persons will be appointed to act as the "Committee" for the Ward and the Wards of Court Office will liaise with the Committee regarding decisions to be made about the Ward.
How is the application for Wardship made?
The Application to the High Court for an Order taking someone into Wardship is grounded upon a Petition and on Affidavits of Mental Capacity to be sworn by two registered Medical practitioners who have attended on the Ward within 6 months of the Application.
Who can Make the application?
The application is usually made by one or two members of the Ward's family. In circumstances where the family cannot agree as to who ought to make the application and become the committee it is usual for the President of the High Court to appoint the Solicitor for Wards and Minors to become the committee for the Ward.
What happens the Ward's Assets once an Order for Wardship is made?
The appointed Committee acts on behalf of the Ward and gives directions to bring the Ward's assets under the control of the court and make them available for his or her maintenance and benefit.
Examples of how different types of property might be dealt with are as follows:
Residence: Where it is necessary to sell a house to provide for nursing home expenses or to prevent it from being vandalised, the Committee will be authorised by the court to put the property on the market.
Banks and building society accounts: These accounts are usually closed and the proceeds lodged in court.
Who pays the Costs of the Application?
Legal fees from a Wardship application are normally paid out of the Ward's estate. These costs include solicitor's fees, medical report fees and stamp duty. Court percentages (annual levy on Ward's income) are also payable.
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