Make sure your Lasting Power of Attorney isn’t rejected because of mistakes
Having made the important decision to appoint a Lasting Power of Attorney, it’s equally important to make sure you get the paperwork right.
New data shows that almost 130,000 Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) applications have been rejected over the last five years – almost 30,000 in 2022-23 alone – because they contained mistakes.
If you make a mistake, the Office of the Public Guardian returns the forms to you, and you not only have to apply again but pay another fee.
This further slows the process down at a time when it’s already taking an average of four months, and sometimes much longer, to register an LPA so that it can be used.
- Our Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity lawyers have extensive and specialist experience in how to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney and can help you make sure that your LPA ticks all the boxes when it is sent off to the OPG to be registered.
What exactly is an LPA?
Arguably, as important a legal document as a Will, an LPA allows you to delegate wide-ranging powers to a nominated person, an attorney, if you lose the mental capacity to make these decisions yourself.
There are two types – one covering financial and property affairs and the other health and welfare, including end of life care.
Your LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). It is only then that the attorney (the person or persons you appointed) will be allowed to make decisions for you.
The process was reformed last year with new identification checks to help protect against fraud and a new online service designed to speed everything up.
However, significant delays remain and as this crucial document can only be registered whilst you have mental capacity, making sure you submit it mistake-free in the first place is vital.
What are the most common mistakes when filling in LPA forms?
It costs £82 to register each LPA – so £164 to register both a financial and property affairs LPA and a health and welfare LPA.
If you make a mistake, your LPA will be rejected and therefore won’t be legally valid. You then have to apply again within three months and pay another £41.
The most common mistakes are:
- Signing and dating the forms in the wrong order – the donor (the person making the LPA) must sign first, then the certificate provider, then the attorneys and then the person registering the LPA must sign again. Signing in a different order means it will be rejected by the OPG.
- Leaving out information – dates and signatures, leaving pages blank by mistake.
- Using the wrong witnesses – if you choose someone to witness your signature who is not eligible to do so, for example, an attorney can’t witness a donor’s signature because there is a conflict of interest, the LPA will be rejected.
- Contradictory requests – an example is a donor appointing an attorney to make a certain decision and then including specific instructions which go against this. If this makes the LPA unworkable, it will be rejected.
- Failing to provide full names, including middle names and not just initials.
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