In 2020, the Office of the Public Guardian made the digital service for using the LPA available. Until then, an Attorney faced the wearisome job of providing a paper copy of the legal document to every institution they dealt with. And, as there was only one original, an Attorney would have to make copious ‘certified copies’ to mitigate the risk of losing the one and only OPG-validated paper copy.

So, thank goodness for the arrival of the digital age. Now, to verify that you have a valid LPA, you simply send the code that is provided by the digital service to whatever institution you’re dealing with. Well, that’s the theory. In practice, that is not my experience, and neither is it the experience of many others, if Twitter is to be believed.

Why do the banks want a paper copy?

Very often you will find that banks and financial institutions won’t accept the digital version and still demand to see a paper copy. This leads to the laborious task of getting your original validated copy certified by a solicitor, for which you must pay. Then you have to send the certified copy by registered mail, to ensure that it will get there. This obviously takes day, not minutes, and involves further cost.

It may be that banks’ compliance teams haven’t caught up with the fact that digital versions are valid. But they’ve had plenty of time to update their procedures and now, if a bank can see that there is a valid digital LPA, it should be accepted.

Now valid for LPAs since January 2016

This service was originally only for LPAs registered on or after 17 July 2020 but, last year, that was expanded to include LPAs registered on or after 1 January 2016. See our article on Activating your LPA for more details on using the digital service and a paper copy.

What if the donor has lost capacity? 

If the donor has lost capacity, you should send the assessment or letter you received when the capacity test took place, to verify that the donor has indeed lost capacity. This will be necessary for a Health and Wellbeing LPA. With a Finance LPA, it will be needed if the donor has stated the LPA is active only if they have lost capacity.

What if there are instructions or preferences?

Important: If the LPA has instructions and preferences,
you might need to show organisations the paper LPA.

Most LPAs don’t contain instructions or preferences. In the small minority of cases where there are instructions or preferences listed on the LPA, third parties can still request sight of the paper document to check these the first time they access the LPA.

What can organisations see when they access the LPA summary?

Valid Digital LPA Donor and Attorney details can be accessed through a secure access code. These details include:

  • Names, addresses and DOB
  • How Attorney decisions are made
  • Whether there are instructions or preferences (although the specific instructions and preferences aren’t included)
  • When the LPA can be used
  • Date the donor signed the LPA
  • LPA registration date

Use an LPA online Youtube demo


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