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Delays at the Office of the Public Guardian

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Anyone who wishes to use a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to help administer the financial affairs of the person who signed an LPA (the Donor), has to register it at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) first. This requirement was introduced in October 2007.

The OPG is no stranger to controversy in its existing form or when it was the Public Guardianship Office or the Court of Protection. Delays, inaccuracies and lost documentation have been a constant frustration to those having to deal with them, but the current delays are now causing real difficulties for the public and practitioners alike. In a statement issued recently by the Public Guardian, he admitted that the registration period had stretched to 14 weeks after the date of the application. We are finding that in addition, there are delays in sending out registered documents. This means that an Attorney is not able to help a Donor who needs assistance in looking after their finances during this period.

The LPA was introduced in 2007 to help to reduce potential fraudulent activity under the old Enduring Powers of Attorney, and to give Donors a greater degree of choice and flexibility in what they are asking their Attorneys to do. There has been considerable publicity in the past few months about LPAs and the cost of not having one should mental capacity be lost. This has resulted in a large number of applications for registration to the OPG.

We have found that there are several ways in which the affects of the delays can be reduced:

All the LPA forms can be downloaded from the OPG website. We would suggest that advice is taken before they are completed and registered, as the current delays can be made much worse by incomplete documents. If help is needed, please call the Private Client team on 0113 2223234.

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