Articles about solicitors and legal services

Lasting Powers of Attorney: time to ‘abolish waiting period’

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) provide an excellent way for people to protect their interests in case their health or mental capacity deteriorates at some point in the future.

LPAs enable you to nominate someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you ever lose the ability to do so yourself through illnesses such as dementia.

The property and finance LPA allows you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs and the personal welfare LPA lets you grant an attorney authority over such matters as health care and the kind of treatment you receive.

There is a statutory waiting period of six weeks as part of the registration process with the Court of Protection. This is designed to allow interested parties to object to the LPA if they feel there are good reasons to do so. The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which administers LPAs, is considering reducing this period to four weeks.

However Denzil Lush, senior judge at the Court of Protection, has called for this waiting period to be abolished altogether. He told the Private Client Adviser publication: "In 2011, the OPG received 174,214 applications to register an LPA, whereas the Court of Protection received only 107 applications objecting to a registration.

"It seems perverse to delay registration by six weeks in 174,214 cases simply because in 107 (roughly 0.06 per cent) of those cases someone has objected to the registration. The waiting period serves no useful purpose and I would recommend that it be abolished entirely."

We shall keep clients informed of developments. In the meantime, please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any matter relating to LPAs and the Court of Protection.

If you wish to make an appointment, or ask us a question please contact us.