New Lasting Powers of Attorney Portal Set to Improve Service
The MOJ and Office of the Public Guardian has confirmed that as of 17th July 2020, a new online service has been launched which improves the management of Lasting Powers of Attorney and people managing their loved ones’ affairs will find it easier to safeguard their finances and wellbeing.
What is the new online Lasting Powers of Attorney tool?
The new digital tool called “Use a lasting power of attorney” unveiled by the Office of The Public Guardian (OPG) has been designed to make it easier for those acting as an attorney to contact organisations such as healthcare providers or banks for example, improving the speed with which they can make important decisions about a loved ones’ property or care. The new digital tool replaces the paper-based system which has been known to cause delays in important decisions and maintains safeguards to protect the elderly and vulnerable from abuse.
The online system will be a welcome relief for attorneys who traditionally would have to rely on a system that can take weeks to process. The online portal now generates a secure code, which when submitted to the online portal will provide a near instant confirmation of their status as an attorney, subsequently authorising them to take necessary actions on their loved ones’ behalf.
Available now to newly registered LPA’s as of 17th July this year, the new online service is part of a wider strategy to transform the work of OPG – to utilise the benefits of digital products and services, and to use smarter ways of working. Importantly, 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 services 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.”
What is an LPA?
A lasting power of attorney ( LPA ) is a legal document that lets people (the 'donor') appoint one or more people (known as 'attorneys') to make decisions on their behalf about property and finance or health and welfare at a time in the future when either due to an accident or ill health, for example, they are unable to make decisions for themselves.
What are the different types of Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney.
- LPA for property and financial affairs – these documents allow the named attorney(s) to manage your financial and property matters including managing bank or building society accounts, paying bills, collecting a pension or benefits if necessary, selling your home
- LPA for health and welfare – these documents allow the named attorney(s) to manage your health and personal welfare issues and can include if need be, medical treatment decisions.
Why should you make an LPA?
An LPA can be one of the most important legal documents you can make. Without it, your 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. Joint bank accounts may even be frozen, and it will be necessary for 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, your affairs could end up being handled by someone who you would have not chosen for yourself.
When setting up LPAs, it is vital that you seek the advice of a solicitor who specialises in this often complex area of law. There is a danger, that without seeking appropriate legal advice, important details will be missed, or errors made when drafting the forms, which can make life unintentionally difficult for your attorneys in the future or even cause the OPG to reject it.
To find out more about making a Lasting Powers of Attorney, you can speak to our expert LPA solicitors who will be able to guide you through the process and discuss the most appropriate solution for you and your circumstances. Call 0800 103 2600 or make an online enquiry
Our offices are open as usual, and we are happy to provide an initial consultation in the method you are most comfortable with, including phone and video call. For in-person consultations, we will ensure they will be in-keeping with social distancing rules.
Drop in to one of our Legal Advice Clinics
We are also open for consultations every Saturday 10am-1pm at our Newport Street office in Bolton. Address: 39 Newport St Bolton BL1 1NE.
No appointments necessary, just pop in to see us, we will be happy to help.