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Do I need to register my LPA?

I regularly have enquiries from people confused about whether or not their powers of attorney must be registered, they've heard different things from different people. This confusion comes chiefly from the fact there are two systems in place; one for LPAs and the other of Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs).

Before 2008 EPAs were the only option for a person who wanted to appoint trusted people to act on their behalf. These documents could actually be used as soon as it was signed by all relevant parties, it only had to be registered if the donor (the person who's affairs the document covers) had lost or was losing mental capacity. At that point the registration documents would need completing and sending to the Office of the Public Guardian along with the registration fee.  

LPAs replaced EPAs in 2008 and one of the major changes they introduced required the documents to be registered before they could be used (please see my video on the difference between EPAs and LPAs to find out the other changes). Some people create and sign their LPA but then leave it in a drawer for years until they need it, at this point the donor or one of the Attorneys would need to register it. Registration (at the time of writing May 2020) takes around 10 weeks and so it is not advisable you leave registration until you actually need it, my advice is to register it as soon as you create it.

To get registered, they have to be sent off to the governing body called the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The current fee for registration is £82 per power of attorney but there are various ways to reduce the fees depending on your income and/or any benefits you receive (see How much does it cost to register an LPA for more information).

Just to clarify, there are two different types of LPA that an individual can take out, one for their property and finances and one for their health and welfare. In essence, a person looking to create powers for all of the areas of their life would need both types and would pay two lots of £82.

So in summary for LPAs to be used, they must be registered in advance before they can be used. EPAs can be used before registration so can help the Donor at any point and that is where the confusion creeps in.