Registering your LPA
Frustratingly, having written your Lasting Powers of Attorney documents, your Attorneys have no legal authority to use them unless they have been registered by a Government body known as the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
Only when the OPG have officially stamped the documents can your Attorneys begin to act for you. So, registering your LPAs as soon as you’ve signed them ensures your Attorneys can immediately step in to help, should you need them to.
However, as always, there are costs involved, which are chargeable by the OPG in most circumstances. Clients may feel that having already gone to the expense of having LPAs, they can’t or don’t want to pay more for them to be registered.
What are the advantages of registering my LPA now?
As an LPA cannot give an Attorney authority to act for you unless it has been registered, it is in effect useless as far as your Attorneys are concerned. They cannot help you. So, by registering your LPA now:
- Should the time come for your Attorneys to have to act for you, if your LPA has already been registered they can use it immediately
So, why not register my LPA now?
You can register your LPA now, so your Attorneys can act immediately should the need arise, but there are some things to consider before you decide to register:
- Registration costs £82 per LPA. This is the fee charged by the Office of the Public Guardian and, unless you are on certain benefits, it is paid by everyone.
- Once your LPA is registered, your Attorneys have full power to act, subject to any preferences you included in your LPA. Some people may feel uncomfortable with this. However, firstly you should only appoint people you trust anyway, and secondly by law any decisions they make on your finances or your health must absolutely be in your best interests.
- If you decide you want to change your Attorneys in the future, or the way they operate, the registered LPA needs to be revoked and a new one registered. Again a registration fee will apply.
- Your Attorneys may never need to act anyway during your life – so, there is an argument, why spend money registering a document which may never be used?
So, NOT registering my LPA seems the way to go….
Not necessarily. Delaying registering your LPA does have benefits as above. But there is a significant disadvantage of NOT registering your LPA:
If you suddenly developed an illness, or suffered an accident and your Attorneys suddenly needed to act on your behalf, they would need to register your LPA. There are significant problems:
a) What if they cannot locate your LPA?
b) If they do find it, the Office of the Public Guardian, by law, cannot return the registered LPA to the Attorneys for a period of at least 4 weeks. In reality, it can often take the OPG anything between 6 and 20 weeks.
That’s 6 to 20 weeks your Attorneys cannot take care of your finances, cannot pay your debts, payments or look after your property. If you have a Health & Welfare LPA & it’s not yet registered, there is no legal obligation by the medical authorities to consult your Attorneys – they have no legal duty to act in your best interests.
Additionally, the registration process is quite complicated, time consuming and there is a real risk the OPG could reject your LPA.
Our LPA registration Service
We offer a registration service, so we can register your LPA on your behalf for a small fee of £30 per LPA.
There’s no right or wrong answer here, but it makes sense to at least consider registering your LPA(s) now, so that should that unforeseen illness or accident prevent you from taking care of yourself, your Attorneys can then step in immediately to help you.
Please call us to discuss how the above issues may affect you and we will be happy to advise you.