The government has announced a 12-week consultation (running from 20 July 2021 – 13 October 2021) which will examine the entire process of creating and registering a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), in order to strengthen and modernise the system.
An LPA is a legal document which allows people to appoint someone else (an attorney) to make decisions about their welfare, money or property. However, despite their importance, which has been starkly emphasised during the pandemic, the process of preparing and registering an LPA retains many paper-based features that are over 30 years old.
The consultation will broadly examine a number of issues, including:
- how technology can be used to reform the process of witnessing, improve access and speed up the service;
- whether the Office of the Public Guardian’s remit should be expanded to check identities and stop or delay any registrations that raise concern;
- how the process for objecting to LPAs can be made simpler to help prevent abusive LPAs from being registered; and
- whether a new urgent service can be implemented for families that need to register an LPA at short notice (for example, due to a sudden change in health).
A simpler and digitalised system will provide a welcome relief for practitioners and families alike, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in applications taking up to 20 weeks to be processed.
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.