The benefits of an unregistered LPA

Most people who decide to arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney document are usually a little older. They’re planning for their future, and ensuring that if they become unable to make their own decisions about their finances or care treatment, the person they trust the most is looking after their interests. LPA documents need to be registered, which can take up to four or even five months. This is why most LPAs are registered straight away.

Normally, that four to five-month delay isn’t a problem, and if you’re older but in good health, you have the time to wait for the document to go through the registration process. Conditions such as dementia (often the reason that a person initiates an LPA document in the first place) take a while to start affecting your ability to make your own decisions.

However, a Lasting Power of Attorney document isn’t just for those in their golden years. They’re just as applicable for younger people too, and more and more people in their twenties and thirties are creating LPAs in case they suffer a serious accident and are no longer in a position to make their own decisions. But should you register your LPA straight away, or is there an argument for delaying the process?

Why registering an LPA may not be a good idea if you’re younger

As it takes several months to get an LPA registered, the temptation may be to send in the paperwork as soon as it’s completed. However, if you’re younger that may not be such a good idea. There’s a strong possibility that you won’t need to activate an LPA for many years, by which time you may have lost contact with your chosen attorneys. If an LPA has been registered and an individual wanted to change or update the designated attorneys then you would need to go to a solicitor to have a Deed of Revocation drafted for the existing LPA (which effectively makes it null and void) and start the process all over again.

What is the alternative?

Drawing up an LPA is a smart thing to do. We never know what’s around the next corner, and even young people can become incapacitated by illness or an accident. An LPA is something that everyone should have in their paperwork, alongside a will.

Once the LPA has been signed by everyone, it can be kept in a safe place (either at home or with your solicitor), and then activated when needed. However, it’s not essential to register it straight away. Leaving the LPA unregistered up until the point the attorney needs to step in means you can change it if you lose contact with your original attorney, or circumstances change.

If, though, you do lose your capacity to make your own decisions (or through illness fear that you might very soon) then the unregistered LPA can be sent off straight away, avoiding any delays in processing. Your solicitor can help you make the right decision when the time comes.

An example of how it works

A 35-year-old professional creates an LPA Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare that appoints a member of their family and their partner as joint attorneys. Rather than registering the LPA, the individual leaves it with their solicitor to be registered if needed. If that individual then has an accident that means they can no longer make their own decisions then the designated attorneys could then apply to have the LPAs registered straight away. While this may take several weeks, it does mean that the process is already technically ‘half completed’ and all that’s needed to activate the LPA is completing the registration.

The current registration fee for an LPA is £82 per document. This could increase or decrease in the future. The alternative is that the Court of Protection appoints a professional deputy, which takes much longer and is far more costly.

When getting registered is a better solution

If a person is older, has adult children, and their choice of attorneys is very unlikely to change, the best advice is to get the LPAs registered to avoid additional increases in fees and to ensure that the documents are all in order before they’re initiated.

If you’re thinking about an LPA but aren’t sure whether to register it or not, talk to a wills, trust and probate specialist today for confidential, practical advice.