Changes to the Lasting Power of Attorney process
Posted on 18th August 2021
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) help to protect you, your family, and your loved ones if you are unable to make decisions for yourself temporarily or in the longer term.
The current process to create and register your LPAs is largely paper-based and very detailed. This is one of the reasons why only 14% of British people have LPAs in place.
The government has now launched a consultation about the use of technology to reform the LPA process, improve access, and speed up the service.
Proposals to reform the LPA process
The proposed changes will modernise a decades-old process. While the intention is to make it a digital service, it is recognised that alternatives will be needed for those unable to access or use the internet.
The consultation includes proposals to increase the legal powers of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to check identities and to delay any registrations that cause concern. It will also look at making the process for objecting to a registration simpler to help stop potentially abusive LPAs.
Simple, speedy, and safe
The aim of the proposed changes is to make the service easier to access, quicker to use, and more secure from fraud.
The 12-week consultation ends on 13 October. It will review:
how witnessing LPAs currently works and whether remote witnessing or other safeguards would be beneficial
ways to reduce the likelihood of an LPA application being rejected due to avoidable errors
whether the OPG should have the legal authority to carry out further checks such as verifying identities
options to allow people to object to an LPA or the process, including when it would be appropriate for objections to be made
possibilities for a new urgent service for those who need an LPA quickly
how to improve the way professionals can access the service.
Why change the LPA process?
Using digital technology could streamline the process, making it faster and easier to administer. Since the OPG’s operating costs are funded by the fees it charges, improved efficiency will help to keep costs down.
In 2019 to 2020, the OPG received 19 million sheets of hard copy LPA applications and posted out a similar amount of paperwork. The consultation identifies the inefficiency of handling such high volumes of paper and the impact on staff requirements, equipment, and storage.
LPAs are an important step to help people plan for the future. Making sure the process is safe and simple will be important to encourage more people to make it a priority.
However, any changes won’t be implemented quickly as amendments to the Mental Capacity Act will be needed.
You can find out more about the proposals online.
Don’t delay, if you don’t yet have LPAs in place, please get in touch.
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