Once you have made your LPA and you and the relevant people involved have signed it, you should register it with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) as soon as possible in order for it to become legally binding.
Many people delay registering their LPA forms for a variety of reasons. It may not seem like something to be done urgently, while you have mental capacity; it may seem expensive for something you aren’t going to need right now; you may be reluctant because doing so might make you feel that you have reduced your freedom to make your own decisions.
Delaying registration is not recommended
Until it is registered, your LPA is not legally binding. It can only be registered while you have mental capacity, and the process can take a long time.
If there are no mistakes in the forms, registration takes eight to ten weeks. If there are mistakes, the forms are returned to you unregistered and you need to make corrections and then reapply for registration (including paying again). A simple error, such a witness not dating one of his signatures, could delay the process by two months.
There are many cases of people making an LPA but losing mental capacity before it is registered. The consequence is the same as if you have never made one. Your helpers will have to apply through the Court of Protection for power to make decisions on your behalf, and that process is long and expensive. During that time you will have no-one able to help you.
You can apply to register an LPA yourself, or an attorney can register it for you. If someone else does register it for you, the OPG will tell you and give you the opportunity to object if it isn’t what you want to happen.
You should send form LP3 to every person you have chosen to notify before you register. They have three weeks from the date of the receipt of the form to raise any concerns about your wishes with the OPG.
You can send you application for registration at the same time as you post your forms to notify people.
You should complete the sections on the form relating to registration and payment. The address of the OPG is on the form. You should include the original signed LPAs and payment (if you choose to pay by cheque).
You can also pay by credit or debit card. You don’t give your details on the form, but rather give your telephone number. The OPG will call you to ask for your card details.
If you no longer have your original signed LPA forms, you can send certified copies if you have them, along with a letter that explains that the originals have been lost, damaged or destroyed.
The current fee to register each LPA form is £110. If you make both types you don’t receive a discount, so the cost is £220.
If you make a mistake and need to resubmit the forms, the OPG may allow you to pay a reduced fee of £55 per form if you apply within three months of the rejection.
If you are on certain means-tested benefits, you may be eligible to receive an exemption from paying. The qualifying benefits are listed on the LPA form.
If you are on a low income of £12,000 or less before tax, then you only qualify for a 50% remission, which means you only pay half the fee - £55 per form.
Making an LPA
In conjunction with Unforgettable.org, a dementia products and services specialist retailer, Net Lawman has developed a free online dementia specific lasting power of attorney service. By answering a plain English questionnaire, our software will complete the LPA forms for you, including the questions relating to registration. If you would like peace of mind that the forms reflect your wishes and will be registered on first application, there are a number of low cost checking services carried out by professional will writers.