You may have heard by now about the talk to digitalise Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).
On the 9th of December 2022, the Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons. This Bill plans to modernise the process by allowing LPAs to be made online which would also assist the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) in clearing the backlog in paperwork that they have been having for some time, something which many of us are frustratingly aware of. There will still be an opportunity to complete the document by hand for those that do not or cannot use the internet.
Figures state that it is currently taking up to 20 weeks on average to process an LPA application, although many would argue the time is longer.
It is proposed there will be better safeguards to protect the donor in that:-
- Only the donor will now be able to register the LPA rather than extending this to the attorneys
- There will be new ID requirements that will need to be met for an application to be accepted
- The OPG will be required to notify all parties when a request to register an LPA is made
- Widen the group of people who can object to the LPA so that it extends to not just those named in the LPA
- Provide for new forms of evidence of the LPA to be created and accepted
In addition to the above, it is proposed that the Bill enables Chartered Legal Executives to certify LPAs. Currently, the only people that can certify an LPA are:
- The donor – if they have capacity
- A solicitor
- A notary; and
- A stockbroker.
Whilst this is proposed to make the process more seamless and manageable, it seems there are more administrative tasks that will need to be undertaken by the OPG. Therefore we would ask whether this is in fact likely to create further delays given that paper forms will still be accepted.
The biggest issue is the concern that the Bill fails to address the needs for LPA certification to expressly state or include consideration of the donor’s capacity which is the most important safeguard, and one that was raised by the Law Society.
An LPA is an incredibly important document, and if you wish to put LPAs in place, you should contact a fully trained and insured Member of The Society of Will Writers today. You can find a member by clicking here or, contacting us directly.