New service to make Lasting Powers of Attorney easier to use
A new service has been launched to make Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) safer and easier to use.
The new digital ‘Use a lasting power of attorney’ tool has been launched by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which administers LPAs.
The online service will help those acting as an attorney to contact organisations like banks and healthcare providers more easily. This will improve the speed with which they can make important decisions, such as those related to their loved one’s care or property.
The current paper-based process can take weeks, as documents need to be requested and confirmed between organisations and individuals, before being posted as physical copies.
The new system will allow those acting as an attorney to provide a secure code, which when submitted to the online portal will confirm their status as an attorney and the power they hold – authorising them to take actions on their loved one’s behalf.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that 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 if they lose capacity in the future - but can be used by anyone at any age.
The number of registered LPAs has increased enormously in recent years to more than 4 million.
The new service is currently only available to newly registered LPAs and is part of a wider transformation of the work of the OPG – making better use of digital services and using smarter ways of working.
Crucially, the new tool maintains existing checks to protect the vulnerable and elderly from abuse of an LPA. These include confirming whether someone has the legal right to act as an attorney and the powers to which they may be entitled.
Nick Goodwin, Public Guardian for England and Wales, said: “More people are taking the important step to plan for the future and apply for a Lasting Power of Attorney, and we want to make sure those they entrust with making vital decisions on their behalf receive the very best possible support.
“Our new digital service will ensure attorneys can make effective and efficient decisions when managing their loved one’s affairs – without the delays a paper-based service can cause.”
The new system can be accessed at www.gov.uk/opg The Office of the Public Guardian is now working on extending this system to LPAs that are already registered.
Please contact Jamiel Zaman or Jonathan King if you would like advice about setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney.