How long does it take to set up LPAs?
Posted on 19th September 2018
The latest report from the of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) says that, although things have improved, it still takes 34 days for your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to be finalised.
But that’s just the last part of the process.
Before your LPA can become effective, there are several important steps you will need to take.
Step One - choose your attorneys
The first and most important step is to decide who you would like to act on your behalf, if you are unable to make decisions about your finances or care.
Ideally the people you choose (called your attorneys) will know you well. It can be difficult to write down everything that an attorney might need to decide if you are unable to make your own decisions. It will be very helpful if they are aware of your previous choices, overall wishes and views.
You can appoint more than one attorney and say whether they should act jointly (making decisions together) or severally (independently).
Banks and building societies will often ask for one attorney to be identified as the ‘lead’.
You should discuss your wishes and what the role involves with the people you choose. Ideally you should give them some time to ask questions and to confirm that they are happy to act on your behalf.
This stage could take several weeks.
Step Two - capacity
To set up an LPA you will need to have ‘capacity’. This means that you must be aware of what you are doing and that you are able to understand the implications of your choices.
If there is any doubt about your capacity, for instance if you have recently been diagnosed with dementia, then you will need a certificate from your doctor.
Your doctor will normally want to see you without your attorneys, even if they are close family members. Details about how your capacity has been assessed will be included in your medical records. You might be asked why you plan to make an LPA, how you have chosen your attorneys and what decisions they might make on your behalf.
If your doctor feels further expertise is needed to confirm your capacity, they might ask for a psychiatrist’s opinion.
This part of the process could take just a few days, several weeks or even months.
Step Three - submission
Once your capacity has been confirmed and certified your Power of Attorney forms must be signed and sent to the OPG with your payment for registration.
Step Four – telling people
The form asks you to identify ‘people who need to be told’ that you are planning to set up an LPA.
You don’t have to name anyone, and your relatives don’t have a right to be informed.
However, if you don’t name someone who might feel they have an interest in your affairs, your attorneys might later face a challenge in court.
Anyone you name in this section of the form will have three weeks to raise any concerns with the OPG.
Step Five – registration
Once the OPG is satisfied that everything is in order, it will send back a stamped copy of your Power of Attorney.
This means that your LPA has been accepted and registered. Without a stamped copy from the OPG, your LPA won’t be valid.
It’s a good idea to give the original document to your lead attorney, who can keep it until it's needed.
Allow plenty of time
All together the process of setting up your LPA could take three months or more.
To be sure that the right people can make decisions on your behalf in the future it’s a good idea to allow plenty of time to make sure all the details of your LPA are correct.
You can end your LPA at any time, as long as you have capacity. All you have to do is send your original document to the OPG, along with a written statement called a ‘deed of revocation’. You can find the wording on the government’s website.
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