Government announces Lasting Power of Attorney “revamp”

23 May 2022

Please read my latest blog on Lasting Powers of Attorney: recent key developments before reading the below.

Since writing the above, the government has announced plans to modernise and strengthen the Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) process, by which a person can appoint attorneys to manage their affairs in the event that they lose capacity, following last year’s consultation on modernising the system.

In summary, the major reforms will be:

  • New safeguards to protect against fraud and abuse
  • Process to be made simpler, quicker and easy to use
  • New digital service to reduce application errors and speed up registrations

Increased safeguards

Plans to strengthen safeguards to protect vulnerable individuals from abuse or fraud include new identification checks requiring official documents or information, for example a passport, driving licence or Government Gateway account. The Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”) does not have face-to-face contact with the parties to an LPA and the plan is therefore to take advantage of technology to digitally verify identities.

Appropriate alternative safeguards will remain in place for those who cannot or choose not to use digital routes (please see further exploration of this below).

New online service

Under the new system, it will be possible to create an LPA completely online for the first time, bringing the system up to date which is much needed given that the current process of making an LPA still has many paper-based requirements which are now over 30 years old.

The paper system for LPAs will remain in place following the Law Society’s submission to the consultation which said that many vulnerable people, for example those with a brain injury, degenerative cognitive condition or learning difficulties may need to still rely on the paper process. The submission also flagged that five million people over the age of 55 do not have access to the internet, and it is important that the paper channel has been retained to avoid negatively impacting vulnerable, disabled or older people.

Digitisation of the system will not only help reduce errors in LPA documentation by ensuring these are picked up and resolved early in the process, but will also drastically improve the OPG’s carbon efficiency and sustainability (an organisation which currently handles more than 19 million pieces of paper per year). 

Final thoughts

These proposals have been developed with the help of various stakeholders including representatives from the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, the Law Society, STEP and Mencap, and are a reflection of the need to carefully balance modernisation in an ever developing digital world, with safeguarding the rights of vulnerable people and protecting those who have lost capacity to manage their affairs.

Further information

If you have any questions relating to the information presented above, please contact Lucy Bluck in our Private Client team.

About the author

Lucy Bluck is an associate in Kingsley Napley's private client team, where she acts for clients in relation to various matters including the preparation of wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney, lifetime succession and estate planning and the administration of estates.


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