Preparations can begin by talking to the donor. You want to be as ready as possible in advance of making any major decisions.
But, there is one very important thing to check before you begin acting as an attorney for a donor.
Unless you have it already, you must register a lasting power of attorney (LPA) with the OPG.
The OPG has produced several lasting power of attorney valid examples. The different versions also have an explanation of what makes them valid.
Note: The LPA becomes registered when the Office of the Public Guardian has stamped it ‘VALIDATED-OPG’.
Property and Financial Affairs Attorneys
The LPA is key when you are starting as a property and financial affairs attorney. It might grant you permission to make decisions for the donor even if they have the mental capacity to make their own fiscal decisions.
So what is your role if the LPA does not give this permission? In this case, you would need to wait until the donor lacks mental capacity before you start making decisions on their behalf.
Health and Welfare Attorneys
The process differs somewhat when you are starting as a health and welfare attorney. The donor must lack mental capacity before you start making decisions for them.
Having started making decisions, you must also tell any people with an involvement in the donor’s care. As a rule, this would include:
- The family members and close friends of the donor.
- The donor’s doctor and any other healthcare staff involved.
- The donor’s care workers, social worker, and other social care staff with an involvement.
Note: Be prepared to show proof of your identity and the original LPA (or a certified copy) to any of the staff involved.
It is not uncommon to have the names of some people with a role of taking over as a replacement attorney. The lasting power of attorney will show a list of any replacement attorneys (if applicable).
You must wait for any such attorneys to stop acting before you start helping the donor to make decisions. The LPA will conform if you are not the only attorney involved. If this is the case, you may need to be making decisions along with the other attorneys.
ALSO IN THIS SECTION
In a Donor’s Best Interest | Making major decisions as an attorney that retain human and civil rights.
Stop Acting as an Attorney | LPA would end after disclaiming the attorneyship or when the donor dies.
Searching the Office of the Public Guardian Registers
You can search Public Guardian registers to check if someone has an attorney or a deputy acting for them. You will need to fill in form OPG 100. The service is free and it usually takes less than one week to get a reply.