Modernising Lasting Powers of Attorney

The lasting power of attorney (LPA) was introduced in 2007. It was designed to provide more flexibility and greater protections than its predecessor, the enduring power of attorney (EPA). However, as our world increasingly shifts online, the public now increasingly want access to their services digitally. Digital channels undoubtedly improve access and speed of service. However, they also require us to consider the safeguards that are necessary for protection.

Last month, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in collaboration with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), published a consultation on plans for how lasting powers of attorney can be modernised. A recent article published in the Law Gazette considers the safeguards that must remain in place as a means to protect the vulnerable.

Older mature couple using laptop at home.

What are the Benefits of Modernising LPA?

According to the OPG, the modernising LPA project aims to improve the process of making and registering an LPA. This can be achieved by increasing safeguards, improving access and ensuring OPG is working sustainably while keeping LPAs as affordable as possible.

The advancement of digital channels has transformed the way people think, act and perceive the world. As a response to such advancement, LPA services are being adapted to meet the needs of the public.

What Are the Concerns About Power of Attorney Reforms?

The ambition of the MoJ and OPG is to use technology to improve our LPA services, but the reforms have brought about concerns. Modernising LPAs leads to concerns regarding compromised safety and the limited access for people who aren’t online.

Law Society president Stephanie Boyce said that she supports the government’s aim, but ‘has areas of genuine concern’ regarding the LPA reforms. She added that ‘the consultation does not explain how the new proposals will impact paper channels for LPAs. Many people – such as those in care homes or people with learning difficulties – will need to make an LPA via a paper process’, which is made difficult by the new digital service.

It is also important that the current safeguards of the LPA regime are not lost in the modernisation. The current safeguards stipulate the need for an independent person – the certificate provider – to form an opinion that the person knows they are signing. After the LPA is registered, there is time for anyone to raise concern, and, if necessary, the Court of Protection can decide that the power should not be registered with the OPG.

Couple signing document

Responding to The Power of Attorney Reforms

The OPG have stated that the power of attorney reforms will NOT completely remove paper from the process. As part of their work, they have considered exactly how they can ensure a paper channel with equivalent safeguards, to be provided for those who need it.

If you have concerns regarding the power of attorney reforms, contact our expert team at A M Davies for advice. We have helped many individuals create LPAs tailored to their individual needs. The great advantage is that our clients know for certain that the LPAs they have made are correct, effective and safeguarded.