Category Archives: Mental Capacity

Information about the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and other information concerning the ability to make decisions

New Office of the Public Guardian Services for LPAs

The Use a lasting power of attorney service for new Lasting Powers of Attorney should be a major stride forward in their ease of use. 

How does the Use a Lasting Power of Attorney service work?

LPAs are registered by the OPG on or after the 17 July 2020 will receive an LPA reference number and activation key in their registration letter. Both attorneys and donors on the LPA will receive these details. They can then visit www.gov.uk/use-lpa to create an account and add the LPA by using the reference number and activation key, along with their date of birth. Once the LPA is added, the customer can choose to share the details by generating a secure access code to provide to third party organisations. The third-party can then view the LPA details by going to www.gov.uk/use-lpa , adding the customer name and secure access code. This enables the organisation to check the LPA is valid and offers a downloadable version of the LPA summary to save for their records.

Who is this service available for?

At present only for newer Lasting Powers of Attorney, but they are working on making it available for older LPAs from earlier in 2020 and some from 2019, but don’t yet have a date for this. Both attorneys and donors can use this service as they both receive an LPA reference number and activation key in their registration letters.

Any organisation can access the summary of the LPA once they have been provided with a secure access code from the user. They don’t need to register to use the service. So long as they have the donor’s name and the access code, they will be able to view the summary of the LPA and see if the LPA is valid.

Will you be adding in LPAs that have been registered before 2019?

Putting older LPAs onto Use an LPA is something the Office of the Public Guardian are considering, however, there are cost implications and this will not be possible unless there is the funding in place. The OPG is a self-funded organisation and cannot proceed with putting older LPAs on Use until the costs are approved.

What can organisations see when they access the LPA summary?

Use an LPA screenshotDonor and attorney details can be accessed through a secure access code, this includes –

  • Names, addresses and DOB
  • How attorney decisions are made
  • Whether there are instructions or preferences (although the specific instructions and preferences aren’t included)
  • When the LPA can be used
  • Date the donor signed the LPA
  • LPA registration date

What happens if there are specific instructions and preferences on the LPA?

The vast majority of LPAs do not have instructions or preference listed in them. In the small minority of cases where there are instructions or preferences listed on the LPA, third parties should still request sight of the paper document to check these the first time they access the LPA.

 

How is this service helping our users?

The Use an LPA service is intended to better assist donors and attorneys in sharing the details of the LPA with organisations. It provides peace of mind, particularly to those who may be experiencing reduced contact with others, that their wishes can still be actioned, and for attorneys to continue to support the donor.

While newly registered donors and attorneys have access to the Use an LPA service upon registration, there is a banner at the top of the page which, when accessed by anyone, shows whether the LPA is valid and whether the attorney can act while the donor has mental capacity (on property and finance LPAs). There is also confirmation that, in these instances, the attorney can only act with the donor’s permission.

An LPA is an agreement between a donor and attorney(s) and is registered by the OPG on the understanding that the attorney is somebody that the donor trusts. This includes the understanding that, before creating and sending the LPA, the donor has spoken to the attorney about how and when they should act.

How will the third-party organisation, such as a bank or utility company, know if that person does or doesn’t have capacity and the attorney is acting correctly? 

It is important to remember that ultimately, it’s the legal responsibility of an attorney to support the donor with their decision-making and act in accordance with the choices made by the donor in their LPA. This is unchanged from the existing paper process, and it is up to third party organisations to ensure they are satisfied that this is the case. In instances where the donor does not have capacity to make a decision, even with support, it is the attorney’s responsibility to ensure they act in the donor’s best interests.

Can I use this service with anyone? Such as the local council, car insurance, subscription services?

This service is accessible to any organisation who may need to check the LPA details and confirm the LPA is valid. The service is accessed through www.gov.uk/view-lpa and if the organisation has the donor’s name and the secure access code given to them by the attorney or donor, they are able to view the LPA summary. We are working with our partners to inform them of this service and can offer help and support on how to use it.

Will this service affect how and when the attorney can act on behalf of the donor?

When an attorney can act has not changed with the introduction of this service. This means the attorney can only use the LPA to make a decision for the donor if, even with support, they can’t make that decision for themselves so long as that decision is in the best interest of the donor. In instances where the donor has chosen that a PA LPA can be used immediately upon registration, the attorney can use the LPA to carry out wishes of the donor only with obtained consent.

An LPA is an agreement between a donor and attorney(s) and is registered by the OPG on the understanding that the attorney is somebody that the donor trusts. This includes the understanding that, before creating and sending the LPA, the donor has spoken to the attorney about how and when they should act.

It is important to remember that, in instances where the donor has not chosen that an attorney can act for them while they have mental capacity, or for health & welfare LPAs, an attorney can only make a decision on the donor’s behalf where, even with support, the donor is not able to make that decision on their own.

How it works

A link to a demo video which shows how the service works for donors and third-party organisations which you can view here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UG6vwGB6cE&feature=youtu.be ). This video is purely for demonstration purposes.

 

Who Needs Lasting Powers of Attorney? Anyone over 18…..

Who Needs Lasting Powers of Attorney?

Anyone over 18 who might have an accident or disabling illness. The story which follows is about a soldier, but the fact that he was a soldier is irrelevant as he was assaulted in a bar. he could just as easily have been crossing the road.

This is the story of a soldier who was injured at the age of 23, and the vastly expensive Court case mounted by his family to get what they considered suitable treatment.  They were opposed by expensive lawyers working for the Ministry of Defence and the Official Solicitor. Had the family been appointed under both types of Lasting Power of Attorney, the decision would have been theirs.  It is not as if the chap could not make his feelings known, just that the lawyers felt he was not making an informed decision and should not be allowed to decide himself. The Judge in effect has to decide for him at very considerable expense, and whilst judges may be very wise, most of us would rather have these decisions made by husbands, wives or parents who know us well. Another example follows.

Who Needs Lasting Powers of Attorney: “A Hailsham couple have shared their story about early on-set dementia. Colin Ward was a healthy 52-year-old when he proposed to his partner Jane. Less than 18 months after their wedding, the couple’s lives were turned upside down when Colin was given the diagnosis of vascular dementia – at just 56 years old. Colin’s health started deteriorating almost immediately after their wedding. In 11 months, his condition had declined to such an extent that he had lost his job as a taxi driver and was unable to walk unaided.”

Who Needs Lasting Powers of Attorney?

We have long recommended that everyone over 18 should have both types of Lasting Power of Attorney. It isn’t just dementia which can bring about a loss of mental capacity and so a loss of control over every aspect of life.  That is a pretty dire prospect.  A trip on the pavement. A car accident. A stray golf or cricket ball.  Any of these can mean a prolonged period where your life is controlled by the Court of Protection who may well delegate their authority to Social Service or a local solicitor rather than your family.  Your family will not understand the complexities or costs of being under the control of the Court of Authority.  They may not have the cash or just be too shocked and busy to even ask us for help (we have Court of Protection experts.)

Who Needs Lasting Powers of Attorney – everyone over 18.

There is no reliable or sound course of action other than to contact us to make Lasting Powers of Attorney as soon as possible.  With our optional Peace of Mind Service, we can help you to get your Legal Planning organised – and keep it that way.

So please use the contact form or give us a ring on 01323 741208, and we’ll help protect you, your family and perhaps your cash too!