This week, the UK government has launched a 12-week consultation period into the modernisation of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
An LPA is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions about your finances or health, and to care for you should you lose the mental capacity to look after yourself.
This long-awaited consultation aims to look into the process of both creating and registering an LPA, with a view to modernising the process with a new digital system.
Why do LPAs need to be modernised?
Modernising the process of creating an LPA could offer a more simplified and user-friendly platform. It could also make creating an LPA more affordable and encourage more people to consider making one.
Dangers of simplifying the LPA process
However, simplifying the process also carries greater risks, including making it easier to make mistakes in your application, laying you open to abuse of power, and to fraud.
You should always speak to a specialist SFE solicitor who will be able to understand your circumstances and ensure that your LPA is well-drafted, clearly setting out what you want before it is approved.
LPAs in a digital world
As we all know, in the modern era things are increasingly moving online; digitisation is happening worldwide and it offers a fantastic opportunity to improve many legal services.
However, a fully digitised platform could mean more older and vulnerable people are open to being targeted by fraudsters, coerced, or otherwise abused. The new system must offer appropriate safeguarding measures to ensure people are protected when making such life-changing decisions as signing an LPA.
Solicitors for the Elderly
SFE has been part of the stakeholder group which has assisted throughout the consultation process to provide feedback and advice and we are all glad that solicitors will be able to have their say on such an important matter.
Why do I need an LPA?
There have been many instances of families wrongly believing that being legally married or in a civil partership confers the rights offered by an LPA. This is NOT the case, as the case of Kate Garraway and Derek Draper highlighted.
For someone else to be able to look after your Health and Financial matters if you ever lose the capacity to do so yourself, you must have signed a valid Lasting Power of Attorney – even if you are married.
Speak to Cunningtons solicitors
Contact the Wills and Probate department at Cunningtons solicitors LLP for a confidential and friendly discussion of your LPA requirements.
Bryony Wilmshurst, solicitor, partner in charge of Wills & Probate at Cunningtons LLP and member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), the membership organisation for specialist solicitors who support older and vulnerable people.