The Office of the Public Guardian (“the OPG”) provides protection to individuals in England and Wales who may not have the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves.
One of the OPG’s responsibilities is to maintain an accurate register of Deputies appointed by the Court of Protection, either in a Property and Affairs or Welfare capacity. That is partly to ensure that the OPG can meet its supervisory function and reporting requirements to the Court of Protection and to ensure that their data is accurate. A list of Protected Persons and Attorney’s acting under a registered Power of Attorney are also retained by the OPG, as is a record of any dismissals, revocations, deaths or changes under any of those powers.
To help ensure that the OPG can actively manage their internal records, there is a duty to notify the OPG on the death of the following people: –
- Donor of a registered Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) or Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA);
- Attorney acting under a registered EPA or LPA;
- Replacement Attorney under an EPA or LPA;
- Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection;
- Death of the Protection Party subject to a Deputyship order.
You must notify the OPG as soon as possible on the death of a Deputy or a Protected Party. This should be done formally, in writing, quoting the case reference number, full name, date of birth and the last known address of the deceased person. In addition, one must supply the OPG with formal confirmation of the death which can be any document from the list below:
- A completed solicitor’s death verification form;
- A copy of a letter from someone able to confirm the date of death (non-exhaustive list) such as:
- A solicitor, barrister or advocate authorised to practice in the country where the declaration is made;
- A legal executive who is a member of the Institute of Legal Executives;
- A Will writer who is a member of either: the Society of Will writers or the European Association of Will writers;
- A doctor or surgeon registered in the country where the declaration is made;
- A notary public or any person allowed to administer oaths in the country where the declaration is made;
- A magistrate;
- A chartered accountant;
- A funeral director;
- An officer of a bank;
- An officer of the DWP responsible for administering benefits;
- A social worker registered to practice in the country where the declaration is made;
- A local government officer responsible for administering benefits or council tax;
- A care home manager or owner;
- A consular or embassy official, if the person died abroad;
- A Local Authority Holder of the Office of Deputyship Officer.
- A certified certificate issued by the Registrar General, a Superintendent Registrar or a Registrar of Births and Deaths;
- The equivalent of a (copy) certificate issued abroad by the appropriate registration authority if the person died abroad.
On the death of a Deputy, the OPG’s supervisory jurisdiction will end, unless the Deputy was jointly and severally appointed with another individual, where the OPG remains involved and its functions will continue and extend until such time as the Court appoints a replacement Deputy.
The OPG will usually request that a final financial report be submitted by the Deputy’s personal representatives to account for expenditure, transactions and decision making up until the time of death.
On the death of a Protected Party, the Deputyship comes to an end, however the OPG will still request a final account up until the date of death, before estate administration matters are considered.
For further information about of the processes followed by the OPG when a death is reported, there is a useful Public Guardian Practice Note which can be accessed here.