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New safeguards for people using lasting powers of attorney

New reporting forms have been introduced to improve protection for people using lasting powers of attorney (LPA).

LPAs enable you to appoint someone to be your deputy and look after your interests should you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself at some point in the future. Deputies can be appointed to make decisions about health and welfare, and property and financial matters.

As a safety precaution, deputies have to fill out forms stating the decisions they’ve taken and explaining their reasons. These forms are scrutinised by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) which looks after the welfare of the vulnerable.

The OPG has now updated the forms to make them more tailored to individual circumstances.

Separate property and financial forms (OPG102) and health and welfare forms (OPG104), have replaced the old combined form.

In section 4 of the property and financial form, deputies are asked to detail the level of contact they have with their client, how the client’s care is funded and whether the client is receiving all of their entitled benefits.

An OPG statement says: “We’ve identified these key areas as early indicators that a client may be at risk of neglect or a red flag that the client is not receiving adequate support. If there are any inconsistencies, we can act quickly and investigate further.

“Also, in section 5 of health and welfare decisions, deputies will need to provide information on the client’s care arrangements, and health and social activities. Again, this is to identify whether the client is receiving the appropriate level of support.”

Public Guardian Alan Eccles, said: “We have a duty of care to our deputies and their clients, and the redesign of the form addresses the needs of both groups. Deputies now have tailored report forms to suit their needs with a new look and feel, which makes for a more straightforward process.

“With additional questions and the introduction of the new safeguarding section, we can better support the deputies who need it the most, while protecting vulnerable members of society.”

The new forms became available on 1 March.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of lasting powers of attorney.

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