11 Mar 2009 10:50 AM
Power of attorney forms to be cheaper and simpler

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE News Release (032/09) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 11 March 2009

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) forms will be overhauled to make them simpler to complete and cheaper to register, the Public Guardian Martin John said today.

The overhaul follows a public consultation on key aspects of the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Changes will see the forms incorporate previously separate guidance, more use of plain language and the cost of registration coming down to £120 from the current £150.

Justice Minister Bridget Prentice said:

"Helping people plan for an uncertain future when they may lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves is very important. Consulting the public has helped us to know where we can to improve services to make it easier for them to make these plans."

LPAs enable people who are concerned for their mental capacity, or those who want to plan for such a time, to choose a person to look after their personal and financial affairs.

Also, following the consultation:

* A new level of supervision of court appointed deputies will be introduced from 1 April 2009. This will give short-term intervention where needed, especially for lay deputies and when it is not always clear at first what level of supervision is needed.

* There will be no increase in fees for the Court of Protection.

* The cost to register an LPA from 1 April 2009 will be £120.

The Public Guardian, Martin John, said:

"We have listened to people's concerns about the length and complexity of the forms and we have responded. For example, we have reduced the risk of errors through improved design and have included guidance to make completion simpler.

Reducing the LPA registration fee demonstrates our commitment to provide a cost effective service and to encourage take up of such an important safeguard.

"We aim to deliver a service that is easy to understand and use, and improving the forms is a key step in that direction. We will continue to involve the public as we seek to further improve our services to them.".

Notes to Editors

1. The response document Reviewing the Mental Capacity Act 2005: Forms, Supervision and Fees can be found at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/consultations-with-response.htm

2. The consultation can be found on http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/reviewing-mental-capacity-act.htm

3. The forms have been redesigned with help from Solicitors For the Elderly.

4. The review will continue to look at other areas of how well the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is working over the coming months. Further details will be outlined on the OPG's website http://www.publicguardian.gov.uk and through customer and stakeholder newsletters issued by the OPG.

5. The OPG registers enduring and lasting powers of attorney, supervises deputies appointed by the Court of Protection and investigates any concerns raised with it in relation to deputies or registered enduring or lasting powers of attorney.

6. Deputies are appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions for people when they lack capacity when the Court decides it is in the best interest of the person that a deputy is appointed.

7. Registering an LPA currently costs £150 per form.

8. EPAs which are the precursor to LPAs cost £120 to register.

9. For more information about the Mental Capacity Act 2005, please visit http://www.publicguardian.co.uk.

10. For more information and interview requests, please contact the Ministry of Justice News Desk on 020 33 34 35 36.

ENDS

http://www.justice.gov.uk