Category Archives: Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney

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.

 

Coronovirus: Alarming Drop in Mental Capacity

Coronavirus is making life difficult for everyone, but more so for those whose mental capacity is already reduced. Enforced social isolation increases the stresses on everyone and tends to make us feel more anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored as well as lonely and often frustrated. Advisers report an alarming drop in the mental capacity of those who were previously reasonably ok.  

All of these are things which tend to reduce peoples ability to cope with life and to be able to make Lasting Powers of Attorney (which is our mission.) Whether the effects will be wholly lasting or not remains to be seen, but many people will slip beyond the point at which Lasting Powers of Attorney can be set up, leaving an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship as the only remaining route. Bear in mind that only financial Depoutyships are usually granted, leaving Health and Welfare matters in the hands of the Court – and that includes where people live Whether that application is made by the family or by Social Services, it is at the expense of the person suffering reduce mental capacity.

Experience has shown that it is not always easy for people to throw off the yoke of Deputyship even should they fully recover, and when the Deputy is a professional it is likely to be very expensive. Family members may find it difficult to cope with the bureaucratic and record-keeping issues associated with deputyship.

Obviously, everyone over 18 should have Lasting Powers of Attorney (do you?) as misfortune can strike at any time, but here are some tips from the NHS as to how to best keep up your, or a relative, or friends mental capacity:

1) Keep Socially Active

Clearly, that doesn’t mean what it used to. Phone calls, Facebook messages, video calls etc all help. Though the trouble is many older people won’t be up to speed on some of these, so will suffer more.

2) Talk About Your Worries

Very few people are NOT finding the current situation stressful. So talk about your worries and concerns, and encourage the vulnerable to share their worries with you. A worry shared is a worry halved as they say. A little reassurance goes a long way. The Government even has a Chatbot to talk about your worries – why not try it out?
https://api.whatsapp.com/send?phone=447860064422&text=hi

3. Help and Support Others

Just because you are feeling a bit down doesn’t mean that you can’t join Facebook and other groups and encourage other people. A friendly ear helps others feel it isn’t just them.

4. Finances and Regulations

If finances are a problem, or you are not sure what the recommendations are for social matters, check the Government website for advice. That is what it is there for.

5. Keep Physically Active

The fitter your body is, the more likely your mind is to stay fit too. Resist the urge to be a total couch potato, and get up and walk about. Maybe do some gentle stretches once an hour. Exercise will help you sleep too. Maybe find some gentle exercise videos on Youtube. If you can, do more walking than you would normally, or get on the bike if you are up to it.

6. Do things you enjoy

Reading, listening to music (my favourite), gardening, walking, running.

7) Don’t Listen to Negative Fake News

Go to the Government website o#r the BBC or the NHS for news and suggestions – don’t go to the more sensational newspapers who like to shock you, even if the copy under doesn’t match the sensational headline!

8) Relax

Relaxation techniques can help.

Those are just a few suggestions. if you are feeling really desperate, visit this page?
https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/urgent-support/


Contact us to organise Lasting Powers of Attorney before it is too late. 

Focus on Dementia Report: Prevention, Slowing Disease and Precautions

Focus on Dementia Report 2016.

The Focus on Dementia Report says that Alzheimer’s drugs prescriptions are six times higher than a decade ago.

HSCIC reports that the number of prescriptions dispensed in England for approved medicines to treat Alzheimer’s increased from 502,000 in 2004 to 3 million in 2014. The cost to the NHS of prescriptions for Alzheimer’s disease medicines dispensed in primary care stood at £45.7m in 2014. This was up from £42.8m in 2004, but down from the high point it reached in 2011 of £110.8m.

Worse still, the proportion of people who had a diagnosis of dementia in their GP record rose from 643 per 100,000 people in April 2014 to 755 people per 100,000 in December 2015. That is a jump of well over 17%. Ingrid McCleave, Head of Legal at Eastbourne Law Solicitors says “a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimers does not necessarily mean that it is too late to put sound Legal Planning in place.  If it happens to your or a loved one, and they have not taken proper legal precautions, please do call us at the earliest possible moment.” (01323 406299.)

The statistics are published today as part of the Focus On Dementia report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), pulling together in one place for the first time a range of information on dementia including statistics on diagnosis, prescribing, social care, mental health and lifestyle trends. The report also shows:

For those over 65, the highest rate of diagnosis is in the South of England, closely followed by the North. The Midlands is a further 9% or so lower. London has a diagnosis rate almost 40% lower than the South. I haven’t had the time to find out why the figures are so wildly different but for those of you with more time, I do recommend reading the Focus on Dementia report, which was issued in January 2016.

39 percent of carers who looked after someone with dementia spent 100 or more hours each week doing so in 2014/15. Over half (51 percent) of carers had been in this role for more than five years.

Responsible statistician Jonathan Hope said: “Our ageing population means that the way we diagnose, treat and care for people with dementia will be increasingly important to many of

Stephen Pett of Eastbourne Law solicitors added “The report in effect emphasises the urgent requirement for both types of Lasting Powers of Attorney as part peoples Legal Planning is sadly rising.  There can be no excuse for recommending only the Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney and not the Health and Welfare one as well.

That is why we offer significantly reduced fees when clients have both types prepared at the same time. The Court of Protection is not keen to allow others to take Health and Welfare decisions where the person concerned has not made provision.  So Social Services tend to have the upper hand.”

See also ways of reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.