Lasting power of attorney (LPA) forms have been updated to make them simpler and clearer.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which administers LPAs, says the move is in response to feedback from users following a consultation exercise.
LPAs enable you to protect your interests in the future in case you ever lose mental capacity through injury or ill health. They allow you to nominate someone you trust, such as a relative, to make decisions on your behalf if you ever lose the ability to manage your affairs properly. You can use LPAs to cover financial matters or health care, or both.
They have to be registered with the OPG and there are safeguards in place to ensure they are not abused.
One of the major changes in the new streamlined system is the removal of the requirement for a second certificate provider, as this was making it difficult for some people who wanted to make an LPA.
An OPG statement says: “Having listened through our consultation, we haven’t combined the forms for health and welfare and property and finance. Nor will we be removing the requirement for a signature and witness for the life sustaining treatment section.
“Other safeguards remain the same, such as the need for an independent witness to sections of the LPA and someone you know certifying that, in their judgement, you have capacity.”
The changes came into effect on 1 July. To ensure a smooth transition, the OPG will be accepting both the new and the old forms for the next six months.
LPAs can provide peace of mind by enabling you to plan for the future. However, they are important documents and need to be drawn up with the help of solicitor to ensure they are legally watertight and fully meet your requirements.
Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of lasting powers of attorney.
This article is not intended to be a definitive analysis of current law and professional legal advice should always be taken before pursuing any course of action.