All Lasting Power of Attorney documents must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before the attorney may exercise any authority. This applies to both financial and welfare documents. During the Coronavirus pandemic how do those working in the NHS find out whether a patient has an attorney who can make decisions about important issues such as their medical treatment and life sustaining treatment.
How to check if an LPA has been registered
The OPG have received a surge in urgent enquiries seeking to find out whether someone has registered a lasting power of attorney (LPA) or enduring power of attorney (EPA) and who has been authorised to act as attorney. Due to the importance of LPA’s and EPA’s during the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, the OPG have changed how they process requests and are prioritising COVID-19 patients.
Making a request to the OPG
The OPG holds an online database detailing all LPA’s that have been registered. The EPA database is non-digitised and therefore requests may take longer to be dealt with.
In light of Covid-19, urgent requests can be made to the OPG by email but as this applies to keyworkers only it must be an official address such as ‘@gov.uk’ or ‘@nhs.uk’. The email must contain certain details, or the request will not be accepted.
The OPG are aiming to respond to all requests made between Monday and Friday within hours. Any weekend requests should be dealt with as a priority at the start of the week. The fast turn-around and streamlined process by the OPG is much welcomed by many at this time and highlights how important having access to an LPA or EPA is under the current circumstances.
Requests can also be made to the OPG to find information concerning deputyship court orders.
Are there other options
We store all of our client’s original LPA’s and EPA’s and can provide you with a certified copy of the document quickly.
As a matter of course we also suggest that a certified copy is made available to your GP and attorneys as soon as your LPA is registered. By doing this we hope that, if necessary, we can streamline the process should your attorney need to rely on your LPA or EPA.
If you would like further information on making or using an LPA or have questions concerning this article, please contact our Private Client team.