Power of Attorney process to become quicker and safer
The Power of Attorney process is being brought into the 21st Century as the whole system is currently being simplified, streamlined and going online.
Powers of Attorney Act 2023
The Powers of Attorney Act 2023 has received Royal Assent. As well as simplifying the system, it also creates safeguards to protect against fraud by allowing online checks on the identity of those applying for a Lasting Power of Attorney. The digitalisation will also improve processing time and hopefully reduce errors along the way.
With the ageing population, people have become more aware of the need for health, welfare and financial protections in later life.
There has been a significant increase in the number of people making Powers of Attorney, and the number registered centrally is now almost 6 million. The Office of Public Guardian says that around 19,000 more Lasting Powers of Attorney a month are being registered than before 2020.
Until now, it has been a heavily paper process, but the new system should speed up registration and pick up any errors, which can then be fixed online, rather than taking time to have documents posted back and forth between the applicant and the Office of Public Guardian.
“This is a significant milestone in this area of law but will not affect the way clients go about making a Power of Attorney. We would always advise getting a professional solicitor involved, but by going online, we hope the process will become much more secure and quicker for our clients,” said Private Client Solicitor Joanne Jones.
“The protections and digitalisation involved in the new process bring this area of the law into the modern age. Having extra protection for clients, and a faster service is something which we welcome,” she added.
About Lasting Powers of Attorney
Broadly speaking, there are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, which allow clients to choose someone trusted (the Attorney) to make decisions on their behalf about either property and financial affairs or health and welfare issues if mental capacity is an issue.
- Lasting Power of Attorney was introduced in 2007 as part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This replaced the previous system of Enduring Power of Attorney that had been in place since 1986.
- Although LPAs are a private agreement between individuals, the Office of the Public Guardian must register an LPA before it can be used.
- The Use an LPA service is only eligible for LPAs registered after 1 January 2016.
- The reforms were based on a Ministry of Justice consultation response in May 2022.
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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.