Power Of Attorney

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auzzie | 18:20 Fri 17th Apr 2009 | Law
7 Answers
My Mum-in-Laws sister has senile dementia. We contacted the Office of Public Guardian for help in applying for Power of Attorney. They advised that we fill in the enduring power of attorney forms. Three times, whilst completing the form, i contacted the OPG to confirm details and whether a court of protection was required. I told them that my aunt-in-law was totally incapable of reading/signing/ understanding anything. But i was assured that the form was correct and that we should put a note saying that she was mentally incapable of signing the document. So this is what we did. Sent the form off two months ago. Today we ring the OPG to see what was happening with the form. My mum-in-law was told that she had not completed the Court of Protection form and that they cannot go any further without it. She had not received any correspondence from them stating the form was incomplete. When i checked out the web site it states that a court of protection form was not necessary for enduring power of attorney. So this time i rang the OPG who eventually get round to telling me that the form we had sent in 2 months ago was in fact the wrong form and that we should be applying for deputyship!! Aaargh. This apparently takes 16 weeks!! We have already wasted 8 weeks waiting for their response. Can somebody please confirm if it is in fact a deputyship that we are after. I have no faith with the OPG. Nobody has given us any advise that we can rely on. We dont want to fill in any more unnecessary forms. Cant afford a solicitor to do this and my aunt-in-law only has a small pension which has been earmarked by the home she is going in.


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you definately cant do power of attourney, as the person granting someone else the power to be their attourney has to have mental capacity. I am surprised the OPG and their website talked about enduring POA as that was changed in 2007 to lasting POA (LPA)
I dont know anything about deputyship or court of protection though.
a quick look on the opg website now says you have to apply to the court of protection ing.htm
You were alas asking for the wrong thing - you cannot obtain a power of attorney for someone who has already lost capacity. (I suspect you gave them the impression you already had an EPA and wanted to register it but it does sound as though there was bad miscommunication)

And yes - you do need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed Deputy. 16 weeks sounds optimistic from what I've heard. The forms are horrendous.

Well that assumes you want to take control of her finances - you could just walk away from the problem and leave it to the home/local authority to take care of things. If all she has is a small pension it might be the best option.
Unfortunately the realities of EPA and Guardianship come as a surprise to many people rather too late.

If you are suddenly incapable of managing your own affairs and do not have these arrangements in place, even your spouse does not automatically have the power to make decisions on your behalf.

They can apply to the courts to get it but until this is complete your affaris are managed by public servants!

So unless you are happy for a public servant to make life and death decision on your behalf, make arrangements for EPA and Guardianship to be set up with people you can trust. Essentially you need a document that assigns these rights in the event of your becoming incapacitated.

Do not wait until you are old. You could become incapacitated tomorrow.
i say this very often, but new epa's were done away with in 2007. The new name is Lasting power of attourney (LPA)
No doubt that trivial change of name cost a fortune, resulted in a lot of paper being wasted and made a lot of money for some consultant.

Can't speak for UK but I believe in Aus they are still EPAs.
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Thank you everyone for your replies. I have to say i have found the OPG very unhelpful. I fully explained the situation everytime i rang, one time was because i had read about the Court of protection and i needed clarification. I was assured that epa was the way to go and that i should put a note that the donor was mentally incapable, of which i did. The OPG are in serious need of customer service and in particular that they mustn't assume that everyone that rings, knows what they are talking about. Anyway i have it confirmed that it is the "deputyship" that we require. After two months of the wrong forms sitting in the wrong office with no communication from the OPG, i now have to start again!! :(

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