On the 17th July 2020, The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) launched a new digital service, called ‘Use a lasting power of attorney’ tool which will improve the process, making it easier for those acting as an attorney to contact organisations like banks and healthcare providers. The online tool is set to improve the speed with which they can make important decisions, such as those regarding the care of property of a loved one and will maintain safeguards to protect the elderly and vulnerable from abuse.
Use a Lasting Power of Attorney
The new digital tool replaces the paper-based system which has been known to take weeks to process causing delays in important decisions. The new online portal will allow those acting as an attorney to submit a secure code, which when activated will provide a near instant confirmation of status as an attorney and the power they hold – authorising them to take actions on their loved ones’ behalf.
The new digital service available now to newly registered LPA’s, is part of a wider transformation of the work of OPG – to make better use of digital products and services, and to utilise smarter ways of working. Crucially, the new tool will maintain existing checks, including to confirm that someone has the legal right to act as an attorney along with the powers they may be entitled to – which will continue to protect the vulnerable and elderly from abuse of an LPA.
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 ones’ affairs – without the delays a paper-based service can cause.
But this is just one part of our ambitious transformation programme and we are constantly looking at how we can improve as an organisation to benefit the public and our partners.”
Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows people to appoint one or more people (known as an attorney) to make decisions on their behalf about property, welfare or money were they to lose capacity to make decisions for themselves in the future. Whilst LPAs are traditionally used by older people or those concerned about ill health, they can be used by anyone at any age. Over recent years, many more people are taking the important step to plan ahead, with the number of registered LPAs increasing to more than four million.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney.
- LPA for health and welfare – allows the named attorney(s) to manage your health and personal welfare issues or medical treatment decisions.
- LPA for property and financial affairs – allows the named attorney(s) to make decisions regarding financial and property matters including: managing bank or building society accounts, paying bills collecting a pension or benefits if necessary, selling your home.
Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, family and loved ones will not have the right to make decisions for you or handle your affairs in the way you would have wished should you lose capacity to do so in the future. Gaining control will require an application to be made to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a deputy to handle your affairs. This procedure can often be lengthy and expensive. Additionally, someone who you would not have chosen for yourself could end up being the person who handles your affairs for you.
Larcomes Specialist LPA Solicitors
This area of law can often be complex, so it is vital that you seek the advice of a solicitor who specialises in these matters. Without seeking appropriate legal advice, it is likely important details will be missed or crucially, errors made when drafting the forms which can cause the OPG to reject it or make life unintentionally difficult for your attorneys in the future.
To find out more about making a Lasting Powers of Attorney, you can speak to our specialist LPA solicitors who will be able to guide you through the process and discuss the most appropriate solution for you and your circumstances. To speak with one of our Lasting Power of Attorney team please give us a call on 023 9244 8100 or make an online enquiry.
Please note that this article is not intended as legal or professional advice. This is a general news article only and updates to the law may have changed since it was published.