An Update On The Digital LPA Progression

Last week, we brought you news that the first ever electronically signed Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) that has been registered by Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), was received by Seb Shakh, the WillSuite and Love Legal Director.

Although this was heralded as a step in the right direction for the sector, it was revealed that the LPA had indeed been posted five months earlier. The electronic signature could potentially pave the way for further innovation and technological advances.

However, it seems there has been a slight hitch, as the OPG seemingly don’t want to digitise the LPA process.

The OPG’s view is that the LPA isn’t in line with their guidelines on electronic signatures. However, Seb believes they don’t have any guidelines on this matter, as there was no guidance against it being signed digitally at the point when it was registered and as such is believed to be validly executed.

Seb took to LinkedIn to share his frustrations with those in the sector, and actively sought out a response from the OPG.

He wrote:

“5 months is a very long while to wait for the vulnerable and those needing an LPA to grant access to assets while sheltering.

“Would love clarification from the Office of the Public Guardian – After the changes in guidance, will further LPAs signed electronically be accepted or is this a one-off? Would it be accepted if submitted electronically? As a deed, will remote witnessing be accepted? After digitising the LPA usage process, are further developments in the pipeline to improve the registration process?

“Look forward to seeing if the banks take any issue….we’ll test it this week.”

The Office of the Public Guardian responded:

“Hi Seb, thank you for your questions and for generating awareness around LPAs. We’ve sent you a letter relating to your application, and hope this helps with what you need.

“For the benefit of your peers and those interested in this thread [on LinkedIn], we’d just like to clarify that we don’t accept digital signatures for LPA applications, though we are working towards modernising our services in the future.”

As part of their ‘Your Voice, Your Decision‘ campaign, the OPG tweeted:

“Did you know you can’t witness signatures via video calls when making a #LastingPowerofAttorney? ​

“​All signatures must be made and witnessed in person, and not over a laptop, smartphone or tablet.​

“To start your lasting power of attorney, visit Personal computer http://gov.uk/opg

Speaking to Today’s Wills and Probate, Seb revealed:

“The OPG have asked me to revoke the LPA within 2 weeks (and have offered another free of charge), however as the LPA was signed in full accordance with the rules set out in the mental capacity act, I am confident it is valid so will allow the matter to progress further and receive clarification by a Judge to set the precedent.”

Do you think that the LPA process should be digitised?

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