Power of attorney reforms are important for our ageing population
Posted on 15th May 2023
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows you to give someone responsibility for your finances, property or care if you’re unable to make decisions for yourself. You can choose a partner, friend, relation or trusted professional.
As the UK population ages, making these arrangements in good time is becoming increasingly important. It provides reassurance that your wishes are respected, even if you can’t explain them for yourself.
Streamlining the LPA process
The process for registering LPAs and making updates when needed is time-consuming. A Powers of Attorney Bill is now making its way through parliament. Its proposals aim to streamline the process and improve verification of people acting as attorneys to prevent fraud or abuse.
Having LPAs allows people to make provision for the future. It’s a safeguard in case they lose the mental capacity to make choices for themselves due to illness or injury.
As a diagnosis of dementia becomes more likely for older people LPAs provide extra protection for the vulnerable. With someone else to help manage their affairs LPAs can help reduce fraud, scams or other abuse.
How the LPA process might change
Two significant changes are proposed in the new Bill. It aims to make the process of registering an LPA safer, easier and more sustainable. It will also allow more people to provide certified copies of powers of attorney, including chartered legal executives. This will speed things up when and LPA comes into effect.
LPAs were introduced in 2007 to provide more flexibility and protection than the previous enduring power of attorney (EPA) arrangements. Now people want to use digital services to improve access and simplify the process. However, to do this, new safeguards are needed.
The proposed amendments are intended to:
• increase safeguards, especially for someone making an LPA
• improve the process of making and registering LPAs
• make LPAs as practical an affordable as possible.
To do this, the Mental Capacity Act and the legal framework for lasting powers of attorney will have to change.
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