Modernising the Power of Attorney system

Woman holding elderly mans hand

The BBC recently reported that Ministers plan to overhaul the legal process where individuals appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf in relation to property, finances, health and welfare, should they lose the ability to make those decisions themselves.

This is welcome news to both professionals and clients alike, given the current registration process can take up to fifteen weeks.

A ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ (LPA) is a legal document where a person, known as the ‘donor’ gives another person or persons, known as the ‘attorney(s)’ authority to make decisions on their behalf.  The donor must create the Power of Attorney, it is not something that the attorney can execute on the donor’s behalf.

There has of course been a surge in applications, as the pandemic appears to have focussed people’s minds on the importance of planning for the future, and it is believed that over 4 million Lasting Powers of Attorney are currently registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

The proposals are for the service to become predominantly digital, however those with no access to the internet will have alternative methods available to them.

There will be a three-month consultation period, which will look at how technology can be used to make the process more efficient both in terms of time and accessibility. It is also thought that the Government will be looking at the plausibility of a fast-track application process, for use by families where a relative has suddenly taken ill.

Lockdown has made it apparent just how important online services are, with the World using this method to communicate and collaborate, therefore the modernisation of this system should lend itself to a smarter way of working and a quicker service.

If you are considering preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney or have any questions in relation to the same then, please do not hesitate to contact Stephanie Napier on 024 76 231000 or