Justice Minister Lord McNally has announced plans for the whole lasting power of attorney (LPA) application process to be moved online for the first time, making it simpler, clearer and faster for people of all ages to apply.
LPAs are legal documents which allow the applicant to appoint someone they know and trust to make decisions about their health and welfare or financial affairs if they were to lose physical or mental capacity in the future. The vast majority of the 700,000 LPAs currently registered in the UK (94 per cent) are for over 60s, with almost half for over 80s, and the Government wants to make sure more people have one in place.
According to the minister: “By putting the LPA application process online and cutting the cost we are making it cheaper, simpler and faster to apply – we are making that possible and helping hard working people with the cost of living at the same time.”
The plans were announced as the next stage in the programme for transforming the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which runs the LPA scheme.
They are part of a consultation which includes proposals for:
Fully digitising the LPA application process.
Simplifying the forms and application process for LPAs.
Improving supervision of those appointed to manage people’s affairs.
Reviewing the information provided in searches of the LPA register.
The digital application process will retain all the safeguards needed to protect people’s interests. They would be able to use the service by themselves or, if they are not confident with the process, with the help of a third party – for example, a friend or family member or a professional such as a solicitor. Paper applications will still be accepted.