You may be aware that, in cases where there is an arrangement in place for someone who has become, or could become, mentally incapable, reporting rules relating to deaths have altered slightly. This briefing note, by Cognitive Law’s Renée Ambler, gives an overview of the new requirements.

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) must now be notified on the death of (a) the donor of an LPA (lasting power of attorney) or EPA (enduring power of attorney), (b) an attorney or a replacement attorney, (c) a court appointed deputy or (d) an appointed guardian.

The process for Reporting the Death

The OPG can be notified by phone, email or by post.

If the individual is the donor, the original LPA or EPA (and any copies) must be sent to the OPG. If the individual was subject to a deputyship, the OPG will give instructions on a case-by-case basis.

Upon notification, the OPG will use the Life Event Verification (LEV) system to verify the death. This system obtains data from the Registrar’s Office, so proof of death is not needed unless requested.

If the death necessitates cancellation of an LPA or EPA, the OPG will dispose of the original document upon receipt of proof of death. You can request from the OPG to have the document returned if desired.

The OPG will inform the attorneys that their power is revoked as a result of the cancellation.

If a deceased attorney was appointed jointly and severally (acting in conjunction with others) then the LPA remains valid. The OPG would in this instance stamp the LPA/EPA to confirm the attorney has died and return the document.

The OPG should be notified if a replacement attorney dies even if the LPA has not been changed to let them act on the doner’s behalf. Once OPG confirms the validity of the LPA, if it is still valid, it will be stamped and returned. If no longer valid, the OPG will cancel and dispose of the LPA.

If a deputy appointed by the Court dies, the OPG and the Court should be notified by the executor, personal representative or a family member of the deputy. The Court may appoint a replacement and close any ongoing applications. If appointed solely or jointly, the deputyship will be void but, where appointed jointly and severally, the surviving deputy can continue to act.

The OPG’s duty of supervision ends upon death of the deputy, as the Order will be cancelled by the Court. Exceptions are where the deputy was appointed jointly and severally, the Court appoints a replacement or that a deputy is no longer needed.

If the Court has appointed a deputy and who is no longer living, the OPG will refer the case to the local authority to advise the individual is at risk and has no deputy supporting them.

The register of deputies will be updated accordingly.

The deputyship dies with the appointed deputy, although, the OPG can obtain a final report from the deputy.

In the event of the death of a guardian appointed by the High Court, the Court will revoke the guardianship Order unless more than one has been appointed and not acting jointly.

Where another guardian has been appointed and remains alive, that guardian must apply to the High Court to vary or revoke the order.

Where the individual is left with no guardian, the OPG will refer the order to the relevant agency to make them aware.

The OPG should be notified if a declaration of presumed death is made so the register can be updated accordingly. This declaration ends the guardianship upon receipt by the OPG.

Proof of Death

Evidence is not needed unless requested.

If proof is requested, the correspondent should provide the case reference number, full name, date of birth and last known address of the deceased along with, certificate, record of inquest and electronic verification from the General Records Office.

Written confirmation is also acceptable from a business account or a solicitor, a legal executive, a will writer, a notary, a magistrate or a consular.

If a death certificate is presented, the original or a certified copy must be received. The only exception being where there is a presumption of death of which the OPG would need a copy.

If you require any assistance with regard to reporting requirements, or indeed matters involving incapacity, or planning for it, please contact Richard Bates on:

01273 284012 or