7. How to make an LPA
To make an LPA you will need to complete a form. There are separate forms for the two different types. You can choose to fill in a paper copy, or fill it out online. Either way, the form needs to be printed, signed and sent to the Office of the Public Guardian. Both include guidance notes which are extremely useful and should be read carefully.
If you don’t have access to the internet, and would like to complete the forms online, Alzheimer’s Society offers a Lasting power of attorney digital assistance service to help people create and register LPAs. It is also available to anyone who feels they don’t have the skills or confidence to use a computer to complete the forms themselves. Forms are completed on your behalf by one of our trained volunteers using an online tool created by the government. You can access the service by contacting Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122. The service does not offer legal advice.
Once you have completed the LPA form, you will need to get someone to sign it to state that you have the mental capacity to make an LPA. This means:
- you have the ability to make this decision
- you understand what an LPA is, what your options are, and the consequences of making it, and
- you made the decision yourself.
There is a section within the application form for them to sign, and the person who signs this part is called the certificate provider. They can be:
- a professional, such as your doctor, social worker or a solicitor
- someone who has known you for two years, but is independent – that is, they aren’t a family member or an attorney and they will not benefit from the LPA (there is more information about this in the guidance notes).
You also need to get someone to witness you signing the form. Each attorney must also sign the form to say that they agree to act as your attorney if needed in the future, and that they understand the duties this involves.
You will also have the option to list one or more ‘people to notify’ on your form. These are people who you want to be alerted when the LPA is registered, if you don’t plan on registering it right away. This could be anyone you choose, for example a friend or relative. The purpose of this is to give you an additional safeguard. It is only an option, so you don’t have to name someone. However, many people like the protection it can offer, and the reassurance of knowing that people will be kept informed of what is happening.
When you have completed an LPA form, you will need to register it with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used. Some people choose to wait to register the form, and there is no set timescale on when it must be registered. However, it can be reassuring to get it registered so that you know it is valid. If there are mistakes on the form, it can’t be registered. If this happens and you only find out later, when you no longer have capacity, you wouldn’t be able to make a new one. It takes an average of 9–12 weeks for the form to be registered, so many people find it helpful to register the LPA straight away so it is ready when it is needed.
There is a fee for registering each LPA, so if you are registering a property and affairs LPA and a health and welfare LPA, you will have to pay twice. You may not have to pay the fee if you cannot afford it. The OPG can advise you about this.