The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) are currently working on a project to modernise Lasting Powers of Attorney (MLPAs) in order to improve the process and offer better protections for donors (the person making the LPA).
Our expert Andrea Beesley-Hewitt discusses how the processing of making and registering LPAs is changing.
Why is the process being modernised?
In 2007, LPA’s were introduced to replace Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) in order to offer greater flexibility and additional protections for the Donor. Despite this, LPAs offer many of the same protections as EPAs and the documents continue to be made and stored through a paper based system.
The government believes it is time to review and update the legal documents and the process of creating LPAs. Within the MLPA project, the MoJ and OPG aim to:
- Provide better protections for the donor.
- Improve the process of making and registering LPAs for all parties involved.
- Making LPAs as affordable as possible to ensure each individual has the option to make LPAs.
Click here for more information on why the changes are being introduced.
How is the process changing?
The initial discussions in regards to changing how LPAs are made and registered took place on 19th November in a roundtable conference organised by the MoJ and the OPG. The event was attended by multiple organisations such as The Law Society, Alzheimer’s Society and UK Finance to discuss the key points around modernising the LPA process.
The MoJ and OPG have yet to disclose details regarding the changes that will be made to the legal framework for LPAs. The two government bodies are currently gathering input from the public and other professionals as their input will assist in the process of building a service that is ‘fit for purpose and meets user needs in the future.
The Ministry of Justice are looking to launch a public consultation regarding the changes to LPAs in spring 2021.
Read more about the updates here.
Use an LPA Service
One of the ways the Office of the Public Guardian started to improve the process was by launching the ‘Use and LPA Service’ in July 2020. The service was introduced to help speed up the application and registration process by enabling an Attorney (the person/people appointed to make decisions on someone else’s behalf) to action those decisions.
The digital service is intended to reduce the paperwork involved around using LPAs and make it easier for donors and attorneys to send information to organisations involved in the process such as banks, surgeries, and hospitals.
What is an LPA?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone (known as an Attorney/Attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf in the future when you may no longer be able to make such decisions due to, for example, a loss of mental capacity. Anyone over the age of 18 can make an LPA provided that they have the mental capacity to do so. There are two types of LPAs that you can create, one to manage your property and financial affairs and one to manage your health and welfare. Depending on your preferences, you can choose to make one or both types of LPAs.
- Property and Financial LPA: This will allow you to appoint an Attorney/Attorneys to manage your financial affairs such as paying your bills, operating your bank accounts and other affairs such as buying and selling your property.
- Health and Welfare LPA: This type of LPA can only be used when the Donor has lost mental capacity. It allows your appointed Attorney/Attorneys to make decisions around your personal welfare such as your day to day care, medical treatment, where you should live, who you can see and deciding whether they agree to let you have life-sustaining treatment.
[Button: Download our free guide to making an LPA]
Do I need an LPA?
Research by the Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) shows that many of us assume that our next-of-kin will manage our medical and care decisions when we are longer able to, but this is not the case.
If you lose the capacity to be able to manage your affairs without putting a valid LPA in place, then your personal affairs will be taken care of by the OPG. In such instances, your affairs will be placed under the jurisdiction of the Court who appoint a Deputy to act on your behalf and the Deputy is therefore answerable to the Court. This can be an expensive route as court approval is required before any action can be carried out, and accounts have to be submitted to the Court every 12 months. Additionally, the financial decisions will not be carried out by your close family or friends.
Having an LPA is one of the best ways to ensure your wishes are protected and that your family has legal protection in order to access funds and make decisions on your behalf should the worst happen.
Do I need to seek legal advice to make an LPA?
It is up to you whether you wish to seek professional advice when making an LPA. However, it is important to note that an LPA is a powerful and complex document for which you are required to make important decisions regarding your health, welfare and finances, and appointing an Attorney/Attorneys that you can trust.
We recommend seeking legal advice from a solicitor if you are considering making an LPA in order to ensure you have discussed all of the options that are available to you and to make sure that a well-drafted LPA is created.
How much does it cost?
Our standard charge for a single Lasting Power of Attorney is £450+VAT. The cost to complete both types of LPA is £650+VAT. If we are acting for a couple, our standard charge is £650+VAT for one type of LPA and £950+VAT for both types of LPA.
Additionally, the Office of Public Guardian charges a fee of £82 for registering each Lasting Power of Attorney.
For more information about making Lasting Powers of Attorney please contact us:Contact Us