If you are looking after an elderly or vulnerable relative or friend, you may need to know whether they have signed a Lasting Power of Attorney or whether a deputy has been appointed to act for them.

When someone loses the ability to manage their own affairs, it is usually necessary to have either an attorney or a deputy in place to deal with matters on their behalf.  

How does someone get an attorney or a deputy?

An attorney is appointed under a Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA. An LPA is a legal document made by an individual appointing one or more attorneys whom they have chosen to deal with their affairs, should they ever be unable to do this themselves. The attorney is generally a close relative.

You can make an LPA for your property and financial matters or for health and welfare issues. It is often recommended to put both types of LPA in place to give you a level of certainty for the future.

If someone does not have an LPA and they are no longer able to make their own decisions, then a relative will usually need to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order. This is an order appointing a deputy to deal with the patient’s affairs. The order will set out what authority the deputy has and what decisions they can make for the patient.

This is a more complex process than signing and registering an LPA and it is best if someone can put an LPA in place while they still have mental capacity wherever possible.

If you are helping an individual who can no longer make their own decisions, you may want to find out whether they have appointed someone to assist them. If they have not, then you can decide what steps you need to take, for example, applying for a deputyship order.

Finding out if someone has made an LPA or a deputy has been appointed for them

The Office of the Public Guardian or OPG keeps a register of LPAs and deputyship orders. It also has a register of Enduring Powers of Attorney or EPAs, which are an earlier version of the LPA and slightly different. It is no longer possible to make an EPA, but ones that were signed before 1 October 2007 can still be used.

If an LPA has been registered, which it must be before it is used, then the OPG will have a record of it.

You can ask the OPG to search their records by filling in form OPG100. The form is available online and should be emailed, faxed or posted to the OPG.

You can find out the following information:

  • Whether there is a registered LPA, EPA or deputyship order
  • The date on which the document was registered or the court order made
  • The name of the person to whom the power or order relates
  • Their date of birth
  • The names of the attorneys or deputies
  • Whether the authority relates to property and financial affairs or health and welfare issues or both
  • Whether there are any restrictions imposed on the actions of the attorney or deputy, although you will not be given details of what these are
  • How the attorneys and deputies have been appointed to act, ie. whether they can take decisions unilaterally or whether they must do everything together
  • Whether the LPA, EPA or deputyship order is registered, cancelled, revoked or expired
  • What date the deputyship order will expire

Information will not be provided if the registration of an LPA or EPA is in progress or if a deputyship order has been applied for but the order has not yet been made.

You can ask for some additional information that is not held on the registers, which the OPG may consider providing.

Filling in form OPG100

You will need to provide your name and address when filling in the form, as well as the individual’s name, address and date of birth. 

If you are requesting additional information, you are asked to explain why you need the information and what steps you have taken to obtain it from the individual in question. The OPG will consider what you say when deciding whether to provide further information. 

There is no cost for submitting the form. 

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