LEGAL EAGLE: Taking a fresh look at role of a Lasting Power of Attorney
Q: What is a Lasting Power of Attorney? A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal instrument which allows you to appoint someone, known as an attorney, and gives them legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.
These decisions can be in relation to either your property and finances or health and welfare.
Q: What is the current process?
The current process for obtaining an LPA is a predominantly made by way of application using a paper form. It can be a lengthy process of up to a few months to complete and we therefore recommend taking steps to make an LPA at the earliest opportunity.
The Government have now launched their 12-week consultation which will examine the current LPA process. There may be some changes as a result of this consultation, and we should know more about the implications of this in the coming months.
Q: What changes to LPAs are the government considering?
The consultation will consider the following:
Amending the LPA process to a predominantly digital service, with alternative arrangements remaining in place for those unable to access the internet;
Widening the Office of Public Guardian’s powers to check identities and to stop/delay the registration of an LPA if it has any concerns;
The process of objecting to an LPA being created, changing who can object and when people can object. Additionally, making objections a more straightforward process in order to prevent potentially abusive LPAs;
The role of witnessing and whether this should be conducted remotely or abolished;
The possibility of introducing further safeguarding measures against fraud and abuse;
A fast-track system for those who need to urgently set up an LPA. For example, for a relative who has had a sudden change in their health.
Whether it would be possible for an integration of the new online service with solicitors’ case manager systems or how solicitors will access the online service otherwise.
The consultation launched on 20 July 2021 and will run until 13 October 2021.
Ben Hoare Bell LLP regularly advises people making Lasting Powers of Attorney or Deputyships. If you would like further advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Court of Protection Team on 0191 565 3112 or email [email protected] For further information please visit www.benhoarebell.co.uk.