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The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has today announced a new online tool to help people who are making decisions on behalf of others using “Lasting Powers of Attorney”. A Lasting Power of Attorney (commonly referred to as an LPA) allows an individual (known as a ‘donor’) to appoint others to make decisions for them (in relation to either property and financial affairs or their health and welfare). The LPA cannot be used until it has been registered at the OPG.
The OPG’s new online tool aims to assist attorneys by allowing them to contact organisations like banks and healthcare providers more easily. The aim of the system is to improve the speed by which attorneys can make important decisions on behalf of their loved ones, such as those relating to their banking, care and property.
Nick Goodwin, Public Guardian for England and Wales, said: “Our new digital service will ensure attorneys can make effective and efficient decisions when managing their loved ones’ affairs – without the delays a paper-based service can cause.”
At the moment, to begin acting, an attorney is required to provide organisations such as banks and healthcare providers with the physical Lasting Power of Attorney document or a certified copy (a copy which has been signed by an authorised person to confirm it is a true copy of the original) and proof of both their and the donor’s name and address. This process can take several weeks.
The new system will speed the process up by allowing those acting as attorney to provide a secure code which, when submitted to the online portal, will almost instantaneously confirm their status as an attorney and the power they hold – thereby authorising them to take actions on behalf of the person they are representing.
The new tool will maintain existing checks, including confirmation as to whether someone has the legal right to act as an attorney and the powers they may be entitled to, to help protect the vulnerable and elderly from abuse.
The new system can be accessed at www.gov.uk/opg
For expert advice in connection with Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact our Wills & Probate team on 01926 422 101 or 02476 229 582.