The Ministry of Justice and Office of the Public Guardian have issued their consultation response on modernising the lasting power of attorney (LPA) process.
The consultation looks at how to make the process more efficient while maintaining safeguards; the remit includes how to improve the witnessing process, how to improve processes around third parties accepting LPAs as well as issues around who can log objections and how they are dealt with.
The consultation response rejected introducing an urgent service on the basis it may slow down the service more generally. It also committed to maintain a paper channel for those who prefer to use it. Under the proposals an LPA can be made totally online for the first time though the government remains committed to keeping the paper route open to those who need it.
The response also recommends identity checks before the registration of an LPA to improve security and is considering whether they should be registered as soon as executed to cut down instances where there are problems with the LPA, but the donor has lost mental capacity.
According to recent research by law firm Hargreaves Lansdown only 13 per cent of people have an LPA in place. This includes only 10 per cent of those aged 55-64 though this increases to one in five (22%) of those aged 65-74. Accidents or periods of ill-health mean younger people may also need LPAs so it is something that should be on everyone’s radar.
Commenting, Helen Morrissey, HL senior pensions and retirement analyst, said: “Even when an LPA is registered attorneys can be frustrated by different approaches adopted by third parties such as banks and there is confusion around how to lodge complaints if you have concerns.
The consultation needs to tread the tricky balance between how to develop an LPA process fit for the modern age while maintaining safeguards protecting loved ones from abuse and coercion.”