According to research more than 750,000 people in the UK suffer
with dementia and it's estimated that by 2021 this figure will
increase to over 2 million.
"Dementia" describes a brain disorder such as
Alzheimers, which results in a loss of brain function, but this is
only one disease covered by this definition.
A dementia patient may reach a time when they cannot write and
sign cheques, or even handle cash. Families often manage this among
themselves but it's important to bear in mind that once a
doctor decides that the person is no longer able to manage their
affairs, the court dictates that a curatorship must be put in
As the number of people suffering with dementia-related
illnesses increases, so too will the requirement for curatorships.
But what does this mean for a family member who requires one
– and what might it mean for you if you are asked to
perform that role?
Under the Mental Health (Jersey) Law 1969, the Royal Court will
appoint a curator for a person who is incapable of managing and
administering his or her own affairs by reason of a mental disorder
or addiction. Although curatorships are required for illnesses
other than dementia, this is certainly the main cause.
The first stage of the curatorship process involves a medical
assessment, which must be signed off by two medical practitioners.
The court will accept applications from family members to be
appointed curator, but in cases where there may be friction within
the family, the court will seek to appoint an independent third
party - perhaps the family lawyer.
Once the Solicitor General is satisfied with the information
provided and happy that the proposed curator is suitable for the
role, he or she will be summonsed to attend court and take the Oath
of Curator, in which they undertake to manage and administer the
assets of the person in accordance with the Mental Health (Jersey)
At this hearing, evidence is put to the court regarding the
person who is to be subject to the curatorship, usually by way of
written submission but in some cases in person.
It is important to remember that the curator is answerable to
the court in relation to their management and administration of the
person's property and affairs. For example, within 90 days of
the appointment, they must submit an inventory of all property,
both movable and immovable and on the anniversary of the
appointment, it is the curator's duty to deliver a copy of the
accounts for the previous 12 months. In some instances it may be
necessary to apply to the court for permission to deal with the
assets in a certain way.
There are four ways in which a curatorship can come to
If the person is later deemed capable of managing their
affairs, then a successful application to bring the curatorship to
an end may be possible
If the person moves permanently from Jersey to a different
jurisdiction and all of their assets are transferred to the new
country of residence. In this case a new curator must be appointed
in the new jurisdiction
A curator can resign, but the court will seek to appoint a new
A curator ceases to hold office on the person's death. The
circumstances in which a curator needs to be appointed can often be
very difficult for family and friends.
Please speak to Collas Crill's Wills and Estates team if you
would like any information or advice.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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