Sheree Green takes part in a discussion on Radio 4 You and Yours with Steve Reed, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, raising concerns about ongoing delays in registering Lasting Powers of Attorney at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The item starts at 29:15 & Sheree is interviewed at 36:55. The programme first aired on 18th March titled “Gambling inquest, Libraries, Powers of Attorney.
It is currently taking around 20 weeks to complete the registration of an LPA. This is creating chaos for families where the donor has lost capacity to manage their own affairs, as property sales are stalled and funds cannot be accessed to pay ongoing care costs. There is no suggestion the backlog is going to be cleared any time soon.
Sheree advises, “If you feel you may need an LPA, please do not delay. Life is unpredictable. Make your LPA and get it into the queue for registration as soon as you can. For some people, it may be wise to make a General Power of Attorney (GPA) at the same time as making your LPA. GPAs don’t need to be registered and can be used straight away. Be mindful though, that if you start to lose capacity, the GPA can no longer be used and your attorney(s) then need to wait for the registered LPA to be returned by the OPG. Some donors may also wish to set up third party mandates with financial institutions. Take careful though, as this can carry additional financial risk for you.”
If you are making a health and welfare LPA and concerned about the delay in registration, do write down your wishes, feelings and preferences about such decisions separately to your LPA. If you lose capacity and your LPA is not registered as yet, written and verbal expressions of your wishes will be used in making best-interests decisions for you. It is also possible to make an Advance Decision to refuse specified treatment, which does not need to be registered to be used. If you are thinking of making an Advance Decision and a Health and Welfare LPA, please seek legal advice as there can be unintended consequences in the interaction between these two documents.