Improving Powers of Attorney
The process of managing a loved one’s affairs is to be strengthened and modernised under major reforms announced recently. Saul Caplan a director of BTMK Solicitors said, “More people are taking the vital step to plan for the future by applying for lasting powers of attorney and it is essential to make sure that it is as safe and simple as possible to do so”.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows people to appoint someone else (an attorney) to make decisions about their welfare, money or property. They are often used by older people to choose someone they know and trust to make decisions for them were they to lose capacity in the future – but can be made by anyone over the age of 18.
The number of registered LPAs has increased drastically in recent years to more than five million, but the process of making one retains many paper-based features that are over 30 years old.
A 12-week consultation has been launched which will examine the entire process of creating and registering an LPA – with a view to boosting the Office of the Public Guardian’s (OPG) powers to prevent fraud and abuse while introducing a mainly digital service.
It will examine how technology can be used to reform the process of witnessing, improve access and speed up the service. The consultation will propose widening the OPG’s legal powers to check identities and stop or delay any registrations that raise concern. It will also look at making the process for objecting to the registration of an LPA simpler to help stop potentially abusive LPAs.
The proposed changes will fundamentally alter and update a process that has been in place for decades. While the service will become predominantly digital, alternatives such as paper will remain for those unable to use the internet.
If you would like assistance with a lasting power of attorney call Saul at BTMK Solicitors on 01702 238516 for further information.