Changes Are Coming To The Lasting Power Of Attorney Service

Changes Are Coming To The Lasting Power Of Attorney Service

September 17, 2021 Off By Glespynorson

Changes are being made to the lasting power of attorney service, previously known as the  enduring power of attorney, to make it safer, simpler and more modern. The adjustments also aim to protect it from fraud and abuse.

A lasting power of attorney can manage and have a say in a person’s financial and welfare decisions, but the system is outdated and in need of modernization. The number of applications has also increased over the last few years to over five million.

A 12-week consultation is taking place, commencing 20th July until 13th October, to look at the process of registering a lasting power of attorney.

The changes planned include:

  • Improve safeguarding to avoid fraud and abuse of the service
  • Make the process simpler
  • Shift to a more digital-focused service

It will investigate how technology can be used to improve the service and make it quicker. The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) may gain more legal power to check identities, preventing fraud and abuse of the system. It will suggest giving the OPG more power in turning away registrants that are a cause for concern.

The current lasting power of attorney service is around 30 years old, so needs updating. Although the consultation will look into taking the system digital, there will still be paper alternatives for those who prefer or can’t use the internet.

A year ago, the OPG launched a digital version called ‘Use a lasting power of attorney’, giving people the opportunity to put in the details of their LPA online.

Nick Goodwin, Public Guardian for England and Wales, said: “More people are taking the vital step to plan for the future by applying for lasting powers of attorney, and we want to make sure that it is as safe and simple as possible to do so.”

“This consultation puts forward proposals which will allow us to make the service fit for the modern world – one that can be accessed online, and which grants OPG the power to conduct thorough checks to protect against fraud while making it easier for people to raise concerns.”

The 12-week consultation will focus on:

  • How witnessing works, including remote witnessing
  • Reducing LPA rejections that could easily be avoided
  • If the OPG will gain further legal authority to carry out more checks, such as identification
  • How to object to an LPA
  • Looking into a new service for when an urgent LPA is needed
  • Solicitors and how they can access the service

Discussing the new changes, Justice Minister, Alex Chalk MP, said: “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.”

What is a lasting power of attorney?

Ultimately, a person can appoint a lasting power of attorney for when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. Once the individual loses mental capacity, the LPA then has the power to make decisions on the person’s behalf.

Usually, lasting powers of attorney are appointed by someone close to them, like a relative, spouse or friend. However, lasting powers of attorney can also be a professional such as a solicitor. You can appoint more than one power of attorney.

What can a lasting power of attorney do?

A lasting power of attorney can have a say in financial and/or welfare decisions to do with the individual who appointed them as LPA. This can include:

  • Managing bank accounts
  • Buying or selling property in their name
  • Claim benefits
  • Purchase items they need
  • Deciding what they eat
  • Deciding where they live
  • Day to day care
  • Social activities

What can’t they do?

  • Make changes to a will
  • Pay themselves using the person’s funds
  • Make a personal gain out of being their LPA
  • Make decisions that will restrict the person’s freedom

Changes to the lasting power of attorney service are expected to be ready after the 12-week consultation on 13th October 2021. Keep an eye on the for any announcements.