A three-month government consultation is underway to modify the way in which people register Lasting Powers of Attorney throughout England and Wales. These LPAs are set up by lasting power of attorney solicitors on behalf of anyone aged over 18 years old. Typically, these are initiated by older people so they can nominate a trusted person to make financial or health decisions for them, in the unfortunate event that they lose the mental capacity to do so themselves.
Five million LPAs are currently registered throughout England and Wales, but the procedure in arranging these is known to be long and drawn-out. With the pandemic forcing families into making heart-breaking decisions and losing loved ones many years ahead of their time, it’s easy to see why now is the right time to overhaul an LPA system that can be described as archaic at best.
There are two different types of LPAs that you can gain lasting power of attorney legal advice on: Property & Financial Affairs, and Health & Welfare. Applicants can decide whether to register just one of these LPAs or both, and these are entirely separate from will writing. Up until now, the registration process has been paper-based and with considerable backlogs in the system, it means that it could be many months before powers have been handed over to an appointed attorney. Unfortunately, this loss of time has meant that some LPAs haven’t been produced in time and therefore a person’s wishes may not have been followed due to this delay.
The proposed updates to the LPA system involve switching to a predominantly digital system instead; although it is acknowledged that some elderly people would prefer to use a non-digital alternative if they’re unfamiliar or unwilling to use the Internet. By switching online, the plan is that the entire process will become much quicker and will also reform stages such as witnessing which can be aided with the introduction of viable technology.
In the unfortunate event that families need to make quick contact with LPA solicitors due to a quick deterioration in health, then a fast-track service will be made available to expedite the registration process.
For anyone who is concerned about the prospect of technology and fast-tracking opening the doors for fraud and abuse, the government is committed to introducing new safeguarding measures to mitigate against these threats.
The BBC reports a statement by Justine Minister Alex Chalk which reads “A lasting power of attorney provides comfort and security to millions of people as they plan for old age. These changes will make the service quicker to use, easy to access and even more secure from fraud.”
If you would like further lasting power of attorney advice, or wish to discuss an LPA registration, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Hook & Partners. Our team recommend that you contact us as soon as possible so you have peace of mind that your affairs will be looked after. We’re available today on 01268 692 255 or by email at email@example.com.