Who’s in Charge? Does someone have an LPA or a Deputy

If you are looking after an elderly or vulnerable relative or friend, you may need to know whether they have signed a Lasting Power of Attorney or whether a deputy has been appointed to act for them. When someone loses the ability to manage their own affairs, it is usually necessary to have either an attorney or a deputy in place to deal with matters on their behalf.

How does someone get an attorney or a deputy?

You appoint an attorney under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). You create an LPA as a legal document, personally choosing one or more attorneys to handle your affairs. This ensures someone you trust can manage things if you become unable to.

You typically choose close relatives or friends as your attorneys. There are two main LPAs: one for property and finance, and another for health and welfare. For maximum future security, it’s recommended to create both types of LPA.

If you lack an LPA and can’t make decisions, a relative can apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order. This order appoints a deputy to manage your affairs, outlining their authority and decision-making power. This process is significantly more complex than creating and registering an LPA.

Whenever possible, create an LPA while you still have mental capacity. If you’re helping someone who can’t make decisions, first check if they already have an appointed attorney. If not, then you can decide on the next steps, such as applying for a deputyship order.

Finding out if someone has made an LPA or a deputy has been appointed for them

The Office of the Public Guardian or OPG, keeps a register of all LPAs and deputyship orders. They also retain a register of Enduring Powers of Attorney or EPAs.  EPAs are an earlier version of the LPA and slightly different. It is no longer possible to make an EPA, however those signed before 1 October 2007 can still be used.

The OPG keep a record of all registered LPA’s.  An LPA has to be registered before it is used. You can ask the OPG to search their records by filling in form OPG100. The form is available online and should be emailed, faxed or posted to the OPG.

What information can you access?

You can find out the following information:

  • Whether there is a registered LPA, EPA or deputyship order
  • The date on which the document was registered or the court order made
  • The name of the person to whom the power or order relates
  • Their date of birth
  • The names of the attorneys or deputies
  • Whether the authority relates to property and financial affairs or health and welfare issues or both
  • Whether there are any restrictions imposed on the actions of the attorney or deputy, although you will not be given details of what these are
  • How the attorneys and deputies have been appointed to act, ie. whether they can take decisions unilaterally or whether they must do everything together
  • Whether the LPA, EPA or deputyship order is registered, cancelled, revoked or expired
  • What date the deputyship order will expire

The OPG will not provide information if the registration of an LPA or EPA is in progress.  This is also the case if a deputyship order has been applied for but not yet been made. You can ask for some additional information that is not held on the registers, which the OPG may consider providing.

Filling in form OPG100

You need to provide your name and address when filling in the form, along with the individual’s name, address and date of birth. When requesting additional information, you must explain why you need the information and what steps you have taken to obtain it from the individual in question. The OPG considers what you say when deciding whether to provide further information. There is no cost for submitting the form.

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