A new ‘Use an LPA’ has been introduced to the Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) service by the Office of the Public Guardian.
Historically, there were two options to give effect to an LPA into. Firstly, you could provide the original to a third party, for example, a bank or building society for a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, or perhaps to the GP or hospital for a Health and Welfare LPA. Providing the original creates risk such as damage to or loss of papers. Alternatively, you could produce certified copies of the original.
When providing these documents to your local bank, for example, there is often ambiguity and lack of understanding as to who are the attorneys and a lack of understanding as to when the LPA actually comes into being. More fundamentally, there are sometimes questions as to the scope of powers the attorney has.
The new service in place for all LPAs registered on or after the 17 July 2020, enables donors and attorneys to provide third parties with a code (rather than the original or a certified copy of the document) that allows them to directly confirm the validity of the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this is a positive step for vulnerable people that may perhaps be shielding, in fear of contracting the virus. However, the new change does bring about more questions than answers.
Where someone has made their LPA bespoke (which accounts for 10% of registered LPA’s) such as altering the powers of the attorney (often by extending the attorney’s powers, but quite often, restricting their powers also), the Office of the Public Guardian is not making these instructions available via their new service and are actively telling third parties to request sight of the original or a certified copy of the LPA in any event.
Like all new services, it will take time. It is expected that the Office of the Public Guardian intends to look at adding LPAs registered prior to 17 July 2020 in due course, but this will be quite a task. Nevertheless, it is a welcomed modernisation of this service, especially in the current climate.
Whilst creating bespoke LPAs may, as a result of this new service, be seen as a barrier to simple and effective implementation of LPAs, we advise all clients to personalise these powerful documents to ensure they are useful and reflective of their wishes.
At Audley Chaucer, we have a specialised Private Client team to aid you in all matters concerning the LPA. Please contact John Szepietowski or Kay Stewart at Audley Chaucer Solicitors on 01372 303444 or email us at email@example.com or visit our Linkedin page. This information was correct as at 15 February 2021.