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Cost of registering Lasting Powers of Attorney is reduced

The cost of registering Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) has been reduced.

The announcement by the Office of the Public Guardian, which administers the registration process, follows a public consultation on the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

LPAs were one of the main provisions introduced by the Act in 2007.

The changes, which came into effect on 1st April, mean that the cost of registration is reduced from £150 to £120 and the forms and accompanying documentation will use plainer language.

LPAs have proved very popular since they replaced the old Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) because they offer more choice to people who want to prepare for a time when they may lose some of their mental capacity.

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

In the first 12 months after being introduced, the number of people registering LPAs was three times higher than the figure for EPAs in previous years.

The Public Guardian, Martin John, said: "We have listened to people's concerns about the length and complexity of the forms and we have responded. For example, we have reduced the risk of errors through improved design and have included guidance to make completion simpler.

"Reducing the LPA registration fee demonstrates our commitment to provide a cost-effective service and to encourage take up of such an important safeguard. We aim to deliver a service that is easy to understand and use, and improving the forms is a key step in that direction."

The Office of the Public Guardian needs to register LPAs before they can be used. Registration is followed by a 42-day statutory waiting period to allow people to raise objections to the registration. This waiting period is one of the safeguards built into the process to ensure that the LPA has been drawn up properly and is not fraudulent.

People who have registered LPAs say it provides peace of mind to know that arrangements are in place to protect their interests should they lose the capacity to do so themselves as they get older.

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