Registering Power Of Attorney

Registering Power Of AttorneyRegistering power of attorney – everything you need to know

A power of attorney gives someone the ability to make important life decisions on your behalf. This might be a temporary arrangement – or something longer-term. Here is everything you need to know about registering power of attorney and how and why to do it:

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Can You Register A Power Of Attorney?

Yes, you can register a power of attorney yourself. You can download the forms from the website and fill them in on your own.

However, the forms are complex and there is a strict process to follow. Failing to comply with the many regulations can risk invalidating the power of attorney. Or – potentially much worse – you risk giving someone decision-making rights over an area of your life you did not intend.

This means it is always a good idea to at least consult a specialist power of attorney solicitor first. Even if you don’t end up using them to fill in all the forms, at least then you will have some expert legal advice on exactly what you’re signing away.

Should You Register A Power Of Attorney?

There are two different forms of power of attorney (plus the now largely defunct Enduring Power of Attorney or EPA – these remain in effect, but since 2007 you can’t create new ones). Registering a power of attorney depends on which you are considering:

1) Lasting Power Of Attorney (LPA)

An LPA covers situations where someone is expected to lose mental capacity at some time in the future. There are two types of LPAs. One is for health and care decisions. One is for finances (this covers the same ground as the old EPA).

You need to register a Lasting Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it becomes valid. This process can take up to 20 weeks. That is, as long as there are no mistakes in the document.

An LPA should be registered in advance of the time you think you will need it. This is because the person giving away their power to make decisions (the donor) needs to retain the mental capacity to do so in order for the LPA to be valid.

Finally, in circumstances usually covered by an LPA, there is sometimes an assumption that the donor’s spouse will be able to make decisions on their behalf should they lose the ability to. Sadly, this is not the case. You should always register a power of attorney in this situation.

2) Ordinary Power Of Attorney (OPA)

An OPA covers often short-term situations where you either can’t or don’t want to make financial decisions on your own behalf. OPAs do not need to be registered with the OPG – all you need is to create and sign a legal document with a set formula.

An OPA lasts until you revoke it or until you lose mental capacity (an OPA doesn’t cover situations where the donor has lost mental capacity).

How Do You Register A Power Of Attorney?

The OPG is a government organisation that monitors all the Lasting Powers of Attorney in the UK. To register a Lasting Power of Attorney you will need to:

1) Get The Forms

You can download the correct forms from the government website.

The best strategy is usually to take a look at the forms and decide whether you feel confident enough to fill them in yourself when such weighty matters are on the line.

2) Decide Whether You Want To Use A Solicitor

Getting at least some degree of professional legal advice is a good idea before you register an LPA. This is especially true if:

  • You have no legal experience or aren’t clear how the forms work
  • You want to ensure there are no issues later on
  • Your situation or affairs are complicated

Using a solicitor also ensures that the OPG will have no problems confirming your LPA is valid. The process is a lengthy one, taking three months or more. If there are any objections or potential time limits (such as the donor being expected to lose mental capacity imminently), using a solicitor is a particularly good idea.

3) Notify People And Find Certificate Providers

You then need to nominate at least two and as many as five people that you intend to register an LPA. These should either be trusted professionals (such as a doctor) or people who know the donor well. These people are sometimes called “certificate providers”.

This process is designed to ensure that the donor is not being pressured to sign the LPA and understands what they are doing.

4) Notify The Office Of The Public Guardian

As mentioned, this can take three months or up to 20 weeks and requires two forms:

  1. LPA 1 – Notice of Intention to Apply
  2. LPA 2 – Application Form

There will be a fee to register the documents, though some support is available.

Talk To A Supportive Expert About Power Of Attorney

Contact us today for some FREE initial advice about registering a power of attorney and how to proceed. Rely on Law Society-accredited professionals and a practice that has supported people in Shotton, Connah’s Quay, Queensferry, Ewloe, Hawarden and Buckley for over 100 years.

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To discuss any of our services, please either call us on 01244 917 822 or complete a Free Online Enquiry.