Update from the OPG on LPA delays

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has published an update explaining the reasonings behind the delays when registering Lasting Power of Attorneys.

The update reveales that the OPG is “working hard to continue to deliver services”, and they can understand people’s frustrations, but they continue to do all they can to reduce the backlog.

The update reads:

“We believe people should register their LPAs in advance of needing it, so don’t delay in sending your LPA application if it is completed. Remember it won’t come into effect until you lose mental capacity, or until you give permission to your attorney to make decisions on your behalf (only for financial LPAs).”

Having staff working from home and adhering to social distancing guidelines are said to be the reasons behind the backlog. Since the pandemic began the OPG implemented new online tools to help with the remote working. However, as lockdown restrictions have eased in England and Wales, there has been a surge in applications which has resulted in the OPG falling behind again.

The update continues:

“While we’re working to process applications as quickly as possible, please allow up to 15 weeks from receipt of your LPA for applications to be registered.”

The full update is available here.

An Office of the Public Guardian spokesperson also said:

“Applications for Lasting Powers of Attorney are increasing and we expect them to be close to pre-pandemic levels shortly.

“We have extended working times to process applications more quickly.”

The OPG also provided guidance to Today’s Wills and Probate as follows:

• We recognise that the Covid-19 pandemic has made it more difficult to get a Lasting Power of Attorney and we published guidance in April on how to do this safely while maintaining social distancing.
• The Ministry of Justice intends to consult on modernising LPAs this summer in order to identify how we can help people create and access LPAs more quickly and improve our safeguards to best protect the public from fraud and abuse.
• In July, we launched a new online service to make it easier for people to manage their loved one’s affairs and to safeguard their finances and wellbeing.

The latest registered and published figures on LPAs can be found here. The latest figures from October to December 2020 reveal a decrease in LPAs. There were 191,414 LPAs received, down 14% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2019. And annually, there were 736,493 LPAs received in 2020, down 18% compared to the previous year.

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