Registering power of attorney:

Speed up the process with an LPA solicitor

Like most things, the pandemic had a huge impact on LPA (lasting power of attorney) registrations.

Staff at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) – where applications are legally processed – were instructed to work from home. And as a result, a backlog quickly developed. So much so, they released a statement advising people to allow 20 weeks for LPAs to be registered.

Thankfully, things have now started to improve.

In a recent statement, the Justice Minister – Tom Pursglove – said the average time to register a power of attorney between June 2021 and May 2022 was 73 days. What’s more, the government also unveiled new plans to modernise LPAs and make the process more efficient.

However, this timeframe – whilst better – is still much higher than the OPG’s target of 40 days. And now that COVID-19 restrictions have been completely removed, an influx of LPA applications is to be expected.

So it begs the question: if you’re thinking about appointing a power of attorney, is there anything you can do to minimise delays and ensure the process is smooth, stress-free and speedy?

Submit your LPA forms immediately

Planning for the future is always beneficial and completing your LPA forms is certainly a step in the right direction. But it’s vital that you register them as soon as possible.

Ideally, you should submit your forms to the OPG before they’re urgently needed. Delaying the registration – for example, until it becomes essential – can cause a lot of unnecessary inconvenience and stress further down the line, for both you (the donor) and your attorney(s).

You can only make a lasting power of attorney whilst you have mental capacity.

If you lose mental capacity – between completing your LPA forms and registering them – important (and sometimes time-sensitive) decisions relating to your health, day-to-day needs and finances cannot be made by your attorney(s).

To do so, they would then need to apply to the court of protection to become a ‘deputy’ – which is a much longer, and costlier, process than registering an LPA.

Appoint a power of attorney solicitor

Technically, you don’t need a solicitor to create an LPA. The relevant application forms can all be found online, along with guidance from the OPG on how to fill them out.

However, an LPA is a powerful legal document that gives the attorney(s) strong permission over your life and well-being. And although it may appear relatively straightforward, if you’re unfamiliar with the process, there are many potential stumbling blocks – which could cause delays or even result in your application being rejected.

That’s why, it’s advisable to seek the help and advice of a specialist wills and probate team – such as ours, at St Helens Law. There are three main benefits of instructing one of our LPA solicitors:

  1. Tailored advice on your LPA

We have a duty to act in your best interests and therefore will:

  • advise on whether an LPA is the right option for you
  • ensure you fully understand the aim and effects of the LPA you’re making
  • explain the different ways attorneys can be authorised to make decisions
  • help you to choose the right attorney(s) and replacement attorneys
  • confirm your attorney(s) willingness to act and help them complete their paperwork
  • draft the LPA forms, including bespoke clauses to reflect your personal situation
  • successfully register your LPA with the OPG

We will also ensure you’re aware of other steps you should consider, to protect your position and plan for the future – such as writing or revising your will.

  • Time-consuming errors can be avoided

Approximately 15% of the LPA applications received by the OPG contain a mistake.

Often, this means the application cannot be registered – and the paperwork has to be sent back to the donor to be amended, redrafted, resigned and resubmitted. Unsurprisingly, that can lead to long delays and sometimes additional fees to have things corrected.

Our power of attorney solicitors have significant experience in completing LPA forms. We will complete all paperwork accurately and correctly, ensuring that it’s accepted by the OPG the first time and avoiding any unnecessary ‘admin’ related setbacks.

  • A valid certificate provider

One of the most common errors that people make when arranging an LPA, is to ask a relative to sign as the certificate provider. The certificate provider must have a distinctly separate relationship from both you as the donor and your attorney(s). If they don’t, your LPA will not be registered – and, again, the forms will be returned for you to resign and resubmit.

When you appoint an LPA solicitor, this issue is easily avoided. We can act as your certificate provider and certify that you understood what your LPA entails.

In fact, when there’s a question about the donor’s mental capacity, the use of a solicitor is preferred. Solicitors are regarded as having an adequate level of expertise to properly assess mental capacity. Therefore, having acted as your certificate provider, the LPA is much less likely to be contested.

Contact our wills and probate team today

Despite recent improvements, LPA registration is still quite a lengthy process – and to help minimise the potential for delays, it’s worth getting in touch with our solicitors.

With excellent knowledge and experience in this area of law, we pride ourselves on drawing up our client’s LPA accurately and efficiently – whether online or paper-based. And will ensure the signing and registering process is completed as quickly as possible, without any stress or inconvenience on your behalf.

To find out more about registering a lasting power of attorney, and start proceedings, you can give us a call on 01744 742360 or send your enquiry to Alternatively, if you’d like to request a free consultation, simply fill out our online form and a member of the team will get back to you.