The Ministry of Justice and Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) have announced a new 12 week consultation to look at Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s) and how to make them fit for the future. The consultation runs until 13 October 2021.
Over the last few years, the number of LPAs have increased - currently over 5 million are registered.
The OPG wants to ensure:-
- New and improved safeguards to protect against fraud and abuse;
- A simpler and easier to use process; and
- A shift to a predominantly digital service.
This means they want to increase the powers of the OPG to prevent fraud and consider how technology can be utilised to reform the process and speed up their service.
When combatting fraud and abuse, they want to widen the OPG’s powers to check identities or delay registrations where they have concerns. Whilst they want to move to a digital service, there will still initially be the option for paper forms to remain.
This comes a year after the OPG launched their digital service “Use a lasting power of attorney”. Have you accessed the site yet?
They have also confirmed that the consultation will look at:-
- How witnessing works, and whether remote witnessing or other safeguards are desirable.
- How to reduce the chance of an LPA being rejected due to avoidable errors.
- Whether the OPG’s remit should be expanded to have the legal authority to carry out further checks such as identification verification.
- How people can object to an LPA and the process itself, as well as when is the right time for an objection to be made.
- Whether a new urgent service is needed to ensure those who need an LPA granted quickly can get one.
- How solicitors access the service and the best way to facilitate this.
They do state however that any substantial changes will require amendments to the Mental Capacity Act 2005
You can head over to the Government website and read more of the consultation and respond with your thoughts on how to make the LPA process fit for the future.