A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) must be registered in order for it to be valid and for the chosen Attorneys to be able to use it. Once registered a Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney can be used straight away with the Donors consent. For a Health and Welfare LPA, once registered, it can only be used once the Donor has lost their mental capacity to make such decisions for themselves.
A Lasting Power of Attorney does not have to be registered straight away, but depending on your client’s circumstances this could pose a few areas of risk that should be considered.
It is recommended to register the Lasting Power of Attorney as soon as possible so as to avoid delays, as it currently takes 3 to 6 months for an application to register an LPA to be completed. This will avoid complications and delays should the LPA be required immediately in an emergency for some reason.
Registering the LPA straight away also means that any mistakes or errors can be identified and corrected by the donor. If there is a delay in registering the Lasting Power of Attorney and the document does contain errors, then the Donor may no longer have the mental capacity to make a new Lasting Power of Attorney.
It’s also possible there could also be delays in the registration process if anyone should raise a complaint about the LPA, for example another friend or family member of the Donor who has not been chosen as an Attorney. The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) can investigate potential abuse of power relating to LPAs. The Donor could be left in a vulnerable position in the meantime if the registration of the LPA is delayed due to such a complaint.
The OPG aims to complete investigations within 70 days; however, the process can often take longer depending upon the volume of cases the OPG has to process. Our experience has shown that the standard turnaround of 16 weeks has been as long as 6 months or more over the last 2 years.
Dealing with the complaint can be time-consuming and costly, having a detrimental impact upon the Donors finances. It is therefore always important for a Donor to consider the matter carefully when choosing Attorneys to ensure that they all get on well with each other, as well as having a good relationship with the Donor themselves.
Following LPA registration guidelines
When an application to register an LPA is made, there is strict guidance that must be followed; otherwise, the LPA may be deemed invalid and be rejected, or corrections may have to be made.
Our technical team can help provide full support and know-how to get an LPA successfully registered
Direct impact to the client and their family
With an ageing population then dementia is forecasted to rise, but as awareness and research improves we are also seeing that dementia and levels of incapacity can start at a younger age.
As the level of dementia is predicted to rise and the number of ageing people is increasing, then the level of incapacity is set to grow whereby the impact on families, the economy and the healthcare system may be dramatic.
Care costs are predicted to increase to support the rise in support required, and the impact on handling family affairs will be huge, as the number of Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorneys being registered is not matching the growth in incapacity.
There is also the financial effect for households. If there is no registered Financial LPA in place there could be unable to access funds for a period of time until authorities or the courts provide access. This could impact on mortgage payments, bills and general household finances
Time is of the essence
The most vital aspect for a LPA is to ensure it is completed and registered early enough, before any possible signs of incapacity - if there are signs of incapacity the LPA can be disputed. Ensuring capacity can help you and your client in a number of areas for any financial and welfare decisions that may need to be made.
Providing an LPA service to your clients could be vital for the future protection of both their health and their wealth, if they lose capacity then being assured of having someone in place to help make the big decisions can be beneficial for the client and their family.
By working with BTWC to help provide your clients with a LPA, then you also benefit from:
Gaining more referrals from client family and friends
Your client remains yours - we keep you up to date at every stage
You generate additional income
You keep your competition out