Mistakes can delay or invalidate your LPA
As with all legal forms, it is crucial that you take great care when filling out your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) form. It must be accurate and correct to ensure it is valid.
Even if you hire a professional to look after your LPA for you, it is important to check it has been done correctly. According to the Office of the Public Guardian, around 15% of the LPA forms they receive from solicitors on behalf of clients contain errors.
This is a concern as errors can invalidate the LPA.
It can also get expensive! The OPG charges £41 to resubmit an LPA when an error has been spotted. For a couple submitting four LPAs, the same mistake on each form would add £164 on top of the registration fees.
We’ve compiled some tips to help you check your LPA. If you have concerns, seek a second opinion or check with the OPG.
1) The right kind of LPA
Remember that there are two different types of LPA. If you want to nominate someone to look after your financial affairs including property, you will need the form that specifies property and finance: LP1F. If you want to choose the same person or someone else to look after your health and welfare decisions, the health and welfare form is required: LP1H. You cannot use only one form to nominate both types of LPA.
Financial decisions may include things like:
- Accessing money in a bank account to pay bills and settle accounts
- Managing bank and building society accounts
- Claiming, receiving and using benefits and pensions
- Paying for care and other costs
- Paying the mortgage or selling your home
Health and Welfare decisions may include things like:
- Consent for health care
- Social services support
- Moving into permanent care
- Life support
2) Sign and Witness Correctly
Make sure the correct people sign the forms at the correct points. The signatures must be witnessed by an impartial adult.
3) Being too vague about life saving treatment
Don’t underestimate the importance of the tick box. If you want to allow your attorney to make decisions that can mean the difference between life and death, including life support, you must tick the box. If it is missed by mistake, the attorney will have no say. It must be filled out and signed correctly.
4) Unlawful requests
You cannot request your attorney to carry out any activity that breaks the law. This includes assisted suicide. It can also include financial and property instructions in the health and welfare form and vice versa. If the instructions in the form are open to interpretation or potential breaches of the law, it may not ultimately invalidate your LPA but it could slow it down as the Court of Protection may need to get involved.
This is a major flaw in any legal document and it can invalidate your LPA. One of the most common contradictions is to mix up the powers appointed to different attorneys. If you have joint and several attorneys, they cannot be instructed to all make the same decisions. You need to be clear about which decisions are joint and several.
If you appoint jointly, you cannot allow one attorney a casting vote. Either they can decide by majority or have different powers.
6) Final check through
Are there unfilled sections or pages missing? Check before you return the form.
7) Proper Procedure
Don’t be tempted to sign and date the application before it is complete. Follow the instructions on the form with regards to the order of signatures. Remember it is a criminal offence to make a false statement on any LPA application form.
8) Basic amends
You must use a pen and witness any amendments. If you use a pencil or correction fluid, you will not be able to register your LPA which means it cannot be used. Damage to the form might also invalidate the LPA.
9) Unregistered LPA
No matter how meticulous you are in filling out the form and getting it signed and witnessed properly, it is useless unless it is registered.