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Expecting the Unexpected – Lasting Powers of Attorney & How They are Changing

What happens if you can’t make decisions for yourself one day? You make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) today! LPAs are legal documents that allow you (the Donor) to appoint one or more Attorneys (people you know and trust) to make decisions on your behalf.

Making an LPA now could ensure someone you trust can help you if you can’t help yourself in the future. If you don’t have an LPA and you lose your mental capacity, you could find yourself with a Court-appointed Deputy managing your affairs and this wouldn’t necessarily be someone you know.

You could say having an LPA is like having an insurance policy. There is an initial cost and you might never need it. But should you ever get into difficulty, it could come in really handy, saving you time and money.

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is the government body that oversees LPAs. As with most legal documents, LPAs require a lot of administration. The OPG decided this could be reduced with some streamlining. To that end, they introduced new paperwork as of 1 July 2015. The changes reflect responses to the OPG’s consultation and feedback from users who were directly involved in their development.

Under the new forms:

  • The requirement for a second Certificate Provider has been removed. A Certificate Provider vouches for the Donor’s mental capacity – either in their professional capacity or having known the Donor for over two years;
  • Immediate registration is encouraged by incorporating the registration pages within the form, which used to be on a separate form. However, this does make the form quite long (20+ pages);
  • You no longer have to notify someone about the registration – this is now optional but is still on the form.

However, other safeguards remain the same, such as the need for independent witnesses to the Donor’s and Attorneys’ signatures.

There are two types of LPA and it was originally hoped the OPG would merge the ‘Property & Financial Affairs’ form with the ‘Health & Welfare’ form to create one LPA for both and reduce registration costs. On the new forms, the two types of LPA are now referred to as ‘Financial Decisions’ and ‘Health & Care Decisions’.

The OPG will be accepting both the old and new versions for the next six months. From 1 July 2015 until 1 January 2016, you can use either the old or new forms to create and register an LPA. If an old form has been completed, signed and dated correctly by 1 January 2016, it can still be registered at any time.

If you are interested in making an LPA but you would like the guidance of an experienced solicitor to enable your application to be successful, call our Elderly Client Team on:

  • 0333 3449609 for Tom or Monika at our Yeadon office or;
  • 0333 3449606 for Charlotte or James at our Pudsey office.

We are specialists in the fields of Wills, Probate and LPAs/Deputyships. We are also members of Solicitors for the Elderly and we are Dementia Friends Champions for the Alzheimer’s Society.

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