Modernisation of Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lara Harriette is a trainee solicitor at Stephen Rimmer LLP.
The Government's consultation into making digital Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) was published in May last year and looked at improving witnessing, introducing identification checks and creating a clearer process for objecting to the registration of an LPA.
Lasting Powers of Attorney allow a nominated person or persons (known as Attorneys) to make decisions on behalf of the donor (person making the Lasting Power of Attorney).
With the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic being a catalyst, there has been a push for a faster and more digital approach. It is thought that a digital approach would help to increase efficiency with the Office of the Public Guardian currently taking around 20 weeks to process the applications.
Once the Bill, which is currently at its second reading in the House of Lords, has been enacted, donors will be able to make online applications. They will still be able to use paper applications if preferred thereby giving the public flexibility and more options.
Concerns have been expressed as to the level of safeguarding such digitalisation can offer from potential fraud. Whilst the regulation is said to set out the identity verification requirements, concerns have been raised as to whether this is sufficient measure to provide protection for often vulnerable donors.
The Law Society said in their recent article “The proposed digitalisation … fails to make considerations for the most vulnerable and significant ambiguities remain’. Stephanie Boyce, the president at the time said “While we support the Ministry of Justice and OPG’s aim of improving the LPA regime by making it digital we have areas of genuine concern”.
For more information on Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact our experts in our Private Client Team for a free initial consultation on 01323 644222 or please visit our website and start your Power of Attorney online https://customerservices.stephenrimmer.com/site/lpa-form/