Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are lengthy documents which, as people will often know from experience, can offer many opportunities for mistakes. LPAs are used to appoint attorneys to deal with your affairs, should you need help or become unable to make decisions for yourself. LPAs are split into documents specifically for your property and finances, and for your health and welfare.
The documents must be signed by multiple parties in a very specific order and the wording used in the documents must also be precise to ensure that they are registered and used correctly.
Registering a Lasting Power of Attorney
LPAs need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before they can be used by attorneys and the OPG is notoriously strict in its interpretation of the signing process. Errors can therefore lead to the OPG rejecting LPAs, which can mean that the LPAs need to be signed again and the registration fees paid a second time.
Delays with LPAs can be critical, especially if the donor is elderly or seriously ill. This is particularly relevant at the moment, as the OPG estimates a minimum of 20 weeks to register LPAs. It is therefore crucial to make sure that the documents are signed correctly the first time.
New guidance on the LPA signing process
The OPG has recently released updated guidance on the LPA signing process: Avoiding errors when completing a lasting power of attorney form - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) The guidance highlights the need for meticulous attention to the instructions and thorough checking at the end of the process. For instance, any errors must be initialled by the relevant parties and dates must be in the correct order.
The OPG is currently reviewing the LPA process with the aim of digitising and streamlining the process. However, for the moment the existing process will continue and individuals need to be careful to comply with the requirements in order to put the necessary documents in place.
How can Tozers help?
If in doubt, it is best to instruct a professional to assist please contact our specialist later life planning team who will be more than happy to help.