Changes to LPA Service Imminent

 

Changes to LPA Service Imminent

The Powers of Attorney Bill that aims to modernise how individuals make Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) by allowing applications to be made and registered online is edging closer, having passed its second reading in the House of Lords on 16 June 2023.

The Private Member’s Bill has received cross-party support in both the House of Commons and House of Lords. It hopes to make the process of creating an LPA more efficient by introducing a fully digital service while also improving the paper alternative.

An LPA is an important legal document that helps people plan for their future. It allows an individual (the ‘donor’) to plan for circumstances where they can no longer make decisions for themselves by granting such powers to another person, known as an ‘attorney’.

An LPA lets an individual choose the people they trust to be attorneys to support them and make decisions for them if they lose the mental capacity to make their own decisions in the future, for example, due to an illness like dementia, or through an accident.

There are two main types of LPA: a health and welfare LPA, which involves decisions about a person’s medical care and treatment, and a property and finance LPA, which relates to decisions about an individual’s money and property.

The number of registered LPAs has increased drastically in recent years to more than six million, although the process of making one retains many paper-based features that are over 30 years old.

Under the current rules, an LPA can be made online, but must then be printed off to be signed and witnessed. The hard copy must then be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to be registered.

While the OPG has a target turnaround time for applications of eight weeks, processing is currently taking between 18 and 24 weeks as the department struggles to meet demand. The latest figures show that, on average, the OPG receives 5,700 LPAs each day — all of them on paper. The number of applications will exceed one million for the first time this year.

Many people find the current process for making LPAs “stressful and needlessly complicated,” said Labour peer Stephen Benn during the Bill’s second reading.

The new Powers of Attorney Bill hopes to make the application process more efficient by introducing a fully digital channel through which applications can be made while also improving the paper-based route and streamlining the overall service.

It will automate many checks that should reduce the risk of errors in the paperwork, which often cause delays in the registration of LPAs, and introduce new safeguards to protect against fraud and abuse.

The Bill will now proceed directly to its third reading having passed the committee stage in the Lords on 4 July 2023 with no amendments. It is expected to come into force later this year.

You can read the full transcript of the Bill’s second reading in the House of Lords by clicking here.

Powers of Attorney Solicitors Alton

Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney can be complex. Although various online options offer DIY services, an LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to be legally effective.

Seeking specialist legal advice is advisable to avoid making errors of judgment in drafting the forms, which can make life unintentionally difficult for your attorneys in the future or even cause the OPG to reject it.

At Bookers & Bolton, our Lasting Powers of Attorney lawyers in Alton, Hampshire, will guide you through the process practically and compassionately. We can help by drawing up Lasting Powers of Attorneys on your behalf or completing the entire registration process for you.

For more information about Bookers & Bolton’s Powers of Attorney services, please click here.

Get in Touch

If you would like further information or advice regarding our lasting power of attorney services, please get in touch with us at 01420 82881, email us at enquiries@bookersandbolton.co.uk or make an online enquiry here.

We can also help you with WillsProbateFamily LawConveyancing and Business Law Services. 

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