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Confused about LPA - can someone explain?

(13 Posts)
ZaZathecat Mon 14-Mar-16 15:26:47

I have both LPAs for my DM who has dementia. Although she's relatively early stage and lives 'indepentantly' (with a lot of help from me), she is unable to deal with officialdom and cannot understand anything financial or admin-y any more so I do all that.
However, when I phone someone, e.g. British Gas, and they ask do you have Power of Attorney, I am not sure what to say. I understand the LPA is there so that Power of Attorney can be granted easily when it becomes necessary. However what I don't know is, when is it deemed necessary? Who decides? And how do you get it invoked, if that's the word?
Thanks in advance.

whataboutbob Mon 14-Mar-16 16:35:56

hi ZaZa. There are answers to all your questions. The LPA gives the attorney the power to deal with all the person's affairs as if they were the person in question. You can close and open bank accounts, switch money around, sell property etc so it is a very powerful document. You cannot use it unless it is registered and unlike maybe the old one you can;t keep it in the bottom drawer for years then get it registered. Utility companies, banks etc won;t deal with you unless you have a POA (the exception would be if your mum was there with you at the branch and gave permission).
To get power of attorney you need 1) the person concerned to agree to it by signing the relevant form, downloadable from the internet of available by post if you ring the Office of the Public Guardian 2) a responsible person who knows the person to state that the person has capacity ie they understand what they are signing for. That responsible person can be the GP/ a solicitor/ a priest. You also have to name a person/s to be informed: someone else who knows your mother. You fill the entire form in (with great care as it is quite complicated and any errors/discrepancies will mean it gets sent back to you) and send it to the OPG along with the fee (I think it's £130). It can take months to get registered and sent back to you all stamped so you can start using it. I believe the current wait time is about 12 weeks. Hope this is helpful, post again if you have any more queries there are lots of knowledgeable people on these pages, who've been through the process .

Tartyflette Mon 14-Mar-16 16:45:37

If your mother is up to it, you and she could go along to her bank branch and ask for you to be a 'named person' or her account; this means they will speak to you about her financial affairs and you can act for her, pay bills and sign cheques (pp) . You both fill in the forms and you will need to take photo ID , ideally passport, so they can see that you are who you say you are. You don't (or didn't) need to show an LPA.

ZaZathecat Mon 14-Mar-16 16:54:12

Thanks for the tip Tarty. Sorry Whatabout, I already have the LPAs, what I didn't understand was how do you invoke them? Or is an LPA actually power of attorney - I.e I already have ir? Will the LPA itself allow all the authorities etc to deal with me?

QuerkyJo Mon 14-Mar-16 16:57:35

I registered the LPA with British Gas who after some initial stalling were helpful. I did not have to send the original they accepted scanned copies.

They also offer elderly customers special service like a meter reader, large print bill, and a free gas appliance safety check.

I have all my step,fathers post delivered to,me. It is £65 for a year and you just complete an online for,, print it and take it all to,the post office with your ID. This has been a godsend for bills, hospital appointments and banks.

QuerkyJo Mon 14-Mar-16 17:01:30

Yes the LPA will allow you to,speak and act for your mum. You have to,let each company you deal with Know. Start with the bank. Then the doctors. I take it with me whenever I go somewhere new with my step dad. Hospitals and doctors are pretty good. Other organisations not so.Some want to see originals others are happy for p/copy.

bilbodog Mon 14-Mar-16 18:02:30

The lpa does have to be registered with the office of public guardian - if it's got official stamps on it then it has been registered, or do you mean you and your mother have just filled In the form?

Needmoresleep Mon 14-Mar-16 18:17:07

I have a POA, but to be honest when dealing with utilites it is much easier to just lie and pretend to be your mother. I did get the POA registered with banks, the Inland Revenue and for Council Tax, and others, mainly with UK based call centres were pretty understanding. But others, especially Talk Talk, were so rude and obstructive at what was a very difficult time, that it was simpler to phoe back, give a false name and get the business done.

Make sure though that you have mail forwarding set up so you then get the correspondence. You just take the POA document into the Post Office, fill out their form and pay whatever.

The LPOA document is long and difficult to replace if lost, and expensive to have certified. I have tried to minimise the number of times I send it off, if need be by going into banks and letting them take their own copies, or making an appointment with the nearest Inland Revenue Office. I am normally honest, but some utility complanies seem to have no interest in making things either pleasent or easy.

whataboutbob Mon 14-Mar-16 21:54:14

Sorry Zaza invoking is not a term I have come across in relation to LPAs. The main thing is whether it has been registered with the office of the public guardian (if so it should have their stamp on every page) and then you can start waving it about when you go into a bank, the tax office, the utility company offices etc. You don't have to wait until the person has lost capacity to start using it, if it has been registered (i'm fairly confident on that but am willing to be corrected if someone knows better).

ZaZathecat Tue 15-Mar-16 08:09:28

Hi and thanks all. Yes Whatabout, the LPAs are registered, I was just under the false impression that an LPA wasn't a 'real' PA until somehow it was officially decided that the person was incapable of making a decision. I know my dm is not capable so I will go away and start 'waving it around'!

whataboutbob Tue 15-Mar-16 20:06:45

Definitely you go girl! I must admit I was nearly apologetic when I first used mine, I couldn't believe I had that much power and that people were not looking at me with suspicion (even though i have always used it only in Dad's best interests and the whole POA thing has involved a mountain of work for me).

ZaZathecat Wed 16-Mar-16 08:50:04

I hear you whatabout!

bigbluebus Fri 25-Mar-16 19:31:48

I found that utility companies and insurance companies were happy to speak to me as long as I could pass the phone over to DM just for her to confirm that it was OK for them to speak to me. I did not have LPA or POA. DM had capacity but didn't really understand financial matters as DF had always dealt with them in the past. SHe was also hard of hearing and struggled on the phone.

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