Entirely Digital Lasting Powers of Attorney Coming Soon
Rebecca Stapleton 03-11-2023
For some time, there has been a clear need and desire from the general public and legal professionals for the Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”) to modernise the process for creating and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPA”).
Currently, the OPG are taking a minimum of 20 weeks to register LPA applications as they are all handled manually, and must be submitted on paper. If there are any errors in the LPAs they must be posted back to the person who prepared the LPA. The paper LPA then needs to be rectified and then posted back to the OPG. Clearly all of this can be very time-consuming.
Following the introduction of the Power of Attorney Act 2023 which achieved royal assent on 18 September 2023, it will be possible for LPAs to be made completely online, as soon as the OPG's IT system is properly up and running.
It is hoped that the digital reforms will streamline the LPA process, allowing some administrative tasks to be automated by the OPG making it a much more efficient service.
The introduction of the Power of Attorney Act 2023 has also introduced new safeguards to protect vulnerable donors from fraud and abuse. This includes ID verification designed to scams and fraudulent LPAs being registered.
Despite the new Act generally being welcomed by legal practitioners, and the public, some concerns remain regarding the usability of the OPG’s IT system. Government online services tend to be complicated and difficult to use even for those who are computer literate. With this in mind, a paper process will remain for those who are unable to use the internet or for those who are particularly concerned by the processing such an important legal document digitally.
The online platform is currently being developed by the OPG and solicitors will need to wait for more information as to when it will be available. This information should be forthcoming in the next few months.
At Samuels Solicitors, based in Barnstaple, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience in preparing all types of Lasting Power of Attorney applications, whether they relate to your property and finances, or to your health and welfare.
If you are thinking about putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place or if you need some advice regarding their legal effect, please get in touch with one of our trusted professionals who will be happy to talk you about this complex area of law.