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Power of attorney system to be simplified

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The government has unveiled plans to modernise the way lasting powers of attorney are created and written.

The number of registered lasting powers of attorney – or LPAs – has reached more than five million in England and Wales, but the mostly paper-based application process can be long.

Under the proposals, the service would become predominantly digital with alternatives for those unable to use the internet.

It is hoped the changes would protect people against fraud and abuse.

An LPA is a legal document, where you give someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf, for example about your money and property.

They are often used by older people to choose someone they know and trust to make decisions for them were they to lose capacity in the future – but can be made by anyone over the age of 18.

Having an LPA in place can make life much easier for your loved ones should you fall ill and no longer be able to make key judgements. It’s not always the case that your loved ones will be granted access to things like your bank account if you fall ill.

Justice Minister, Alex Chalk, said: “A lasting power of attorney provides comfort and security to millions of people as they plan for old age. These changes will make the service quicker to use, easy to access and even more secure from fraud.”

Nick Goodwin, Public Guardian for England and Wales, said: “More people are taking the vital step to plan for the future by applying for lasting powers of attorney, and we want to make sure that it is as safe and simple as possible to do so.”

Research earlier this year revealed a sharp drop in power of attorney registrations during the Covid 19 pandemic due to difficulties with the application process.


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