Lasting Power of Attorney, also known as LPA, is an important tool. It allows an individual to appoint a person to act on their behalf once they decide that they no longer want the hassle or responsibility of their day to day financial affairs or once they no longer have the capacity to make day to day decisions about their medical care.
There are two different types of LPA – the first is Property and Finance and the second is Health and Welfare and these LPAs come into force at different times. The property and finance LPA can be made and implemented as and when an individual chooses to do so, whilst the Health and Welfare LPA must be made whilst the individual has the capacity to do so, but does not come into force until they lose capacity themselves.
Following a period of consultation, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) took on comments and feedback about the existing LPA form and application process and made some changes. The changes were made predominantly to the form itself but these are likely to make the process easier and less time consuming, which can only be a positive step. The changes are as follows:
The two forms remain separate – the OPG wanted to combine both forms together, however feedback from users of this service suggested this wasn’t a popular idea.
The form can now be completed online.
The requirement of a second witness has been taken out as some people found it hard to comply with this part of the form.
The OPG has chosen to retain some parts of the old process in order to continue to safeguard people. These are:
A signature and witness is still required for life sustaining treatment.
An independent person is required to witness and to sign the section giving power of attorney for life sustaining treatment.
Someone who knows you is still required to certify that you have capacity to make the LPA, in their opinion.
There is a transition period from the old to the new forms and it is important that if you have started the process with the old forms that you know when this transition is happening. You can continue to use the old forms until the 1st of January 2016 and as long as the LPA has been completed correctly, you can register it at any time. From 1st July 2015 you can use the new forms to create and register an LPA.
All in all, some positive changes have been made to the LPA system that will no doubt be welcomed by everyone involved in the process.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitors before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
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