Laura Crouch and Shahzad Aziz from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) offer guidance to speed up the process of setting up a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

Making an LPA is important for many people, as it lets those they trust step in – quickly, easily and legally – to cover health and welfare or financial decisions if they lose mental capacity.

At OPG, we’ve been looking into the most common issues that can delay applications. By following our top tips, you can help make sure applications are processed without unnecessary delays, efficiently saving us, you and your clients time and money.

Top tips for registering an LPA

1. Avoid sending bounded applications

Once we receive an application we need to scan the pages individually for our online filing system. If a document is bound we need to remove any binding if possible. If we cannot remove the binding, we’re unable to provide clear, readable copies. Binding can be done once the application is returned.

Do not use industrial staples as they can damage the document on removal before scanning.

2. Check signatures are in the correct places

We’ve received a number of applications where clients have signed the sticky labels or notes that solicitors have used for guidance, rather than the box itself.

Make sure that clients sign on the documents themselves and within the appropriate boxes.

We cannot process applications which use correction fluid or pencil.

3. Certificate providers

Make sure those signing as certificate providers have distinctly separate relationships from donors, attorneys and replacement attorneys. For example, a certificate provider cannot be the married daughter of anyone involved, even if the name is different. We can conduct checks to determine a possible relative. It is also important that they use their full names.

If OPG requires a new section 10, it needs to be the same person.

4. Dates

Health and welfare section 5 needs to be dated on, or before, section 9 and witness details need to be completed in full.

Numerical section order is the same as the signing chronological order (continuation sheets are chronologically part of sections 1-9). Sections need to be dated on the date signed. Do not future date, the donor needs to capture their wishes first and appoint attorneys, then the certificate provider needs to certify the donor can make the decision to create the LPA, and the attorney has to agree to act.

If we believe the application to be dated incorrectly, it will be returned.

5. Cover letters

If you’re submitting more than one application, such as LPA documents or documents for spouses, sending OPG a copy of the cover letter for each document helps us speed up the process for both parties.

Please also make sure you send all pages, even the blank ones, the correct pages need to be together and in the correct order, be especially careful with spousal applications.

Safeguarding is at the heart of all of our processes. Our primary safeguarding checks are done on receipt of the application and it is our responsibility to make sure any issues are dealt with as soon as possible to prevent potential issues in the future.

We hope you have found these top tips useful.

If you have any questions please contact