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Is your Lasting Power of Attorney ready to use if needed?



We all know the importance of having an LPA on place when it comes to planning for our future and on average 12%* of the UK population have an LPA in place currently. What is not often talked about however is how to use an LPA if and when the time comes?

In her latest article Chartered Legal Executive, Kat King discusses what needs to be done when you want to use your LPA.

Don’t just file it away

Once you have your LPA in place it is vital that you share the document with all relevant parties and institutions. Banks, pension providers, investment companies, and care homes, for example all require sight of either the original document, or a certified copy before they are able to take instructions from Attorneys. Without sight of the document, the organisations will be unable to take instructions from those that you appoint in your LPA to act on your behalf (the Attorneys).

Keep them safe  

It is always best to keep the original LPAs somewhere safe. Your solicitors could hold the documents in their safe storage, or you may prefer to keep them at home if you have a safe or a strongbox. If the originals are destroyed or go missing, a replacement can be ordered from the Office of the Public Guardian; however, this is time consuming (which in itself can cause a number of issues if the LPAs are required immediately) and costs £35 per document.

Certify

It is always advisable to obtain certified copies of your LPA as in the majority of cases a certified copy is acceptable instead of the original document.

To certify your LPA either ask a solicitor to stamp and sign each page to confirm the copy is a true copy of the original or you as the donor can certify your own copies.

Please note that specific wording needs to be written on every page (the wording can be found on the official Office of the Public Guardian website) and the donor has to include their signatures as well. If this is not done correctly then the certified copies will not be valid.

Go online

The Office of the Public Guardian (the government body dealing with LPAs) have recently introduced a new service called “Use a Lasting Power of Attorney”.  This service is only available for LPAs registered in on or after 17 July 2020. Any LPAs registered before the 17th July 2020 needs to follow the steps above.

The new service allows the donors, or their Attorneys, to create an account and lodge the LPAs online. A reference number for the LPA and an activation key are required to set this up but the purpose of the service is so that a summary of the documents can be viewed online by the donor and the Attorneys, but also by any relevant institutions.

The donor and the Attorneys can also keep track of who is being given access to the LPAs.  Institutions will only be able to view the LPAs if they are provided with an access code.

The service is a welcome and refreshing change to the era of paper copies. Not only does it simplify matters for the donor and Attorneys, meaning they don’t have to worry about obtaining numerous copies and lodging them by post or in person, but also for the organisations, as it provides security in terms of the validity of the LPAs. Less paper copies is also environmentally friendly.

If the recent pandemic has shown us anything it’s that digital access and paperless technology is extremely important to ensuring continuity in our day to day lives.  It is a shame the service is only available for LPAs registered on or after 17 July 2020, but at least it’s a step forward to digitalising the way LPAs can be used.

To put your LPA in place or for advice on ensuring your LPA is ready to use when needed speak to Kat today on 01749 342 323 or email kat.king@mogersdrewett.com.

*solicitor for the elderly