OPG Demonstrate How They Encourage The Use Of LPAs

Today’s Wills and Probate had the opportunity to speak to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). During the chat, the OPG wanted to raise awareness of their ‘Your Voice, Your Decision‘ campaign, which will writing professionals can get involved in.

‘Your Voice Your Decision’ marketing campaign

Last year we launched our ‘Your Voice, Your Decision’ campaign to raise awareness of, and encourage uptake of lasting powers of attorney (LPAs).

Research used to inform the campaign showed that those from a lower socio-economic background and BAME communities are the least likely to make an LPA.

These groups have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, which is why it’s extremely important to make sure that everyone knows they can plan for their future using an LPA, no matter what background or community they are from.

Research carried out prior to the campaign also highlighted misconceptions around the subject of LPAs. For example, if a couple have a joint bank account and one person can’t make decisions for themselves, 73% of people believe their partner can legally make decisions for them both. This is false.

Another misconception, that 72% of people believe, is that your next of kin always gets the final say in treatment decisions at hospital, if you can’t make them yourself.

In both of these situations a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) could be used to allow someone the donor trusts to step in and support the decision-making process for either their finances or personal welfare.

A financial LPA can be used with or without capacity depending on the donor’s choice.

Overall, the campaign aims to increase awareness of planning for the unexpected and the peace of mind LPAs can bring. It’s important everyone understands their options and what they can do to plan for the future.

Helping a client to consider LPAs

An LPA can cover any eventuality from a diagnosis of a lifelong condition to an unexpected injury. The LPA only comes into effect once the donor has lost mental capacity, or for a financial LPA, the donor can give permission for the attorney to act sooner.

The donor can use the LPA to state how they wish to be treated and how an attorney can act. The attorney should always be someone that the donor trusts and who understands the duties involved. This doesn’t have to be a family member, just someone over the age of 18 who will act in the best interest of the donor.

Multiple attorneys can be appointed, including replacement attorneys. They can act jointly, severally or both, this will be clear in the LPA and attorneys should make themselves familiar with how they are expected to act.

Find out more about what is expected from an attorney.

LPAs can also be beneficial for business owners and can be personalised through instructions and preferences. A financial LPA can appoint trusted members of a business to make important financial decisions on things like managing payroll and day-to-day running.

How you can get involved?

We are looking to work with stakeholders and partners to help raise awareness of our ‘Your Voice, Your Decision’ campaign. We’ve created a partnership toolkit containing campaign materials which means you can get involved as little or as much as you want to.

If you’d like to be involved and for more information, please contact the OPG communications team.

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Making an LPA during COVID-19

If you want to make an LPA now, you can still do so while observing government guidance on social distancing, self-isolating and shielding.

You must read OPG’s guidance for Making and registering an LPA during the coronavirus outbreak.

This guidance is for people making an LPA in England and Wales only.

Please consult the local lockdown restrictions guidance to see if any additional restrictions are in place in your area.

Keep checking the OPG coronavirus response page for further updates.

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