Modernising Lasting Powers of Attorney – Simplifying the process or Simply increasing the risk?

Lasting Powers of Attorney are legal documents allowing you (the Donor) to plan for your future by appointing someone you trust (your Attorney) to manage your affairs in the event you are unable to do so yourself.

For further information our Guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney can be accessed by clicking here.

The steady increase in individuals being diagnosed, or at risk of being diagnosed, with dementia places an increased importance on ensuring your Lasting Powers of Attorney are in place before it is too late. We, at Leonard Gray LLP, have seen a rise in popularity as clients are realising this necessity.

Whilst the ‘incapacity crisis’ continues it is inevitable that the process of creating and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney will look to be modernised.

The current paper-based process requires the Donor, Attorneys and Certificate Provider to sign the Lasting Powers of Attorney correctly in a particular order and with a suitable witness. If done incorrectly this causes delays and problems with the application.

It is proposed by the Office of the Public Guardian and the Ministry of Justice that the entire service becomes predominantly digital, replacing the current paper-based system.

The objectives of the modernisation include:

  • increase safeguards, especially for the donor;
  • improve the process of making and registering an LPA for donors, attorneys and third parties; and
  • to achieve sustainability for OPG whilst keeping LPAs as affordable as possible for all people in society.

Whilst this modernisation is likely to simplify the process and may encourage more individuals to have Lasting Powers of Attorney, an encouragement we welcome, the digitisation increases the risk of fraud and abuse. For example, there is no evidence that the donor has willingly entered into the legally binding agreement. Therefore, safeguards must be put in place to protect those most vulnerable.

In light of the above, the value of seeing a Solicitor to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney remains as important as ever, not only to ensure the appropriate advice is given but to ensure that there is no risk of fraud or abuse.

Should you wish to arrange an appointment or for further information, please contact the department’s secretary, Michelle Bright, on 01245 504904 to arrange an appointment to see one of our solicitors.

Sigourney is a qualified Solicitor in our Private Client team. She has over 5 years' experience in a range of Private Client work including probate matters, Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection work. She is personable, approachable and sensitive to difficult situations. She endeavours to provide clients with clear advice in a supportive manner.