New Online Service To Improve Lasting Power Of Attorney

Today saw the launch of a new online tool, allowing attorneys to contact banks and healthcare providers, that will replace the paper-based system and maintain safeguards to protect elderly and vulnerable from abuse.

The Office of Public Guardian (OPG) has stated that the new tool will help those with power of attorney to implement decisions about their loved one’s care or property. By replacing the paper-based process, which can take weeks due to documents being requested and copies needing posted, the speed at which decisions can be made will be drastically quicker.

The new system will allow attorneys to provide a secure code, which when submitted to the online portal will nearly instantaneously confirm their status as an attorney and allow them to take actions on their loved one’s behalf.

In recent years, the number of registered Lasting Power of Attorneys has increased dramatically to more than 4 million and more people are already planning this important document for the future.

Only available from today (17 July 2020) the new service is part of a wider transformation by the OPG, which looks at more digital products and services.

By maintaining the existing checks, which include confirming whether a person has the legal right to act as an attorney and the powers they hold, this will ensure that the vulnerable and elderly are still protected from the abuse of an Lasting Power of Attorney.

Nick Goodwin, Public Guardian for England and Wales, said:

“More people are taking the important step to plan for the future and apply for a Lasting Power of Attorney, and we want to make sure those they entrust with making vital decisions on their behalf receive the very best possible support.

“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 services can cause.

“But this is just one part of our ambitious transformation programme and we are constantly looking at how we can improve as an organisation to benefit the public and our partners.”

Justice Minister Alex Chalk said:

“This new innovative system will make a real and positive difference to people dealing with what can be an emotional and difficult process.

“It is just the latest example of the way we are using technology throughout the justice system to create better, more effective services for the public.

“The new system has been tested by various stakeholders, including the Department for Work and Pensions and HSBC UK, who aim to use it to maintain services to their customers during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Maxine Pritchard, Head of Financial Inclusion & Vulnerability – HSBC UK Retail said:

“We’ve worked closely with the Office of the Public Guardian on the design and development of the new service to create a much-improved journey for our customers.

“The ongoing pandemic has brought challenges to us all and we’ve been working hard to ensure our customers, and their care network, are able to get the support they need. We’ve enabled a digital registration of Power of Attorney, removing the need for customers to visit a branch. We’re now able to authenticate the document so we know it’s genuine and of course the customer experience is greatly improved.”

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