LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY - THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW...
- AuthorClaire Clarke
To appoint a person or persons to make decisions for you if you should lose mental capacity, you need to do so using a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). There are two types of LPA, one to appoint people to make decisions about your property and affairs, such as accessing your bank account, selling property and paying bills and one to appoint attorneys to make decisions about your health and welfare if you should lose mental capacity, such as dealing with issues like your care and medical treatment.
As part of this process you must complete forms setting out how your attorneys should be appointed and your attorneys then need to sign them to agree to act on your behalf. In addition, before the documents can be used by your attorneys, they must be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). This process should, according to Government guidelines take no longer than 40 days. However, since there have been ongoing delays post pandemic, the OPG is currently taking on average 73 days to register these documents. This is 'on average' which means in practice it may very likely longer.
There is no fast track or urgent application process with the OPG.
If you are concerned about your own health we recommend putting in place LPAs whilst you are able, to ensure that, should they be needed in the future, they are ready for your attorneys to use. This will make not only your life easier for you, but also that of your chosen attorneys who will need the registered document to be able to assist you. Do not assume that your spouse would be automatically able to deal with your affairs. This is not the case and they would not have authority to deal with assets in your sole name unless they are appointed as an attorney.
Equally, if you have an older relative who does not have any arrangements in place yet, it may well be worthwhile sharing this article with them and suggesting that they may wish to seek further advice about what steps they can take.