OPG outline vision for reform of LPAs

Following the release of a consultation on the future of LPA’s the OPG has outlined their vision in a blog on their website.

Calling for proactive engagement with the consultation from around the community, the OPG have said

“Our ambition is to use technology to improve our LPA services, without compromising safety or limiting access for people who aren’t online, and the launch of our consultation marks an important next step in making LPAs safer, simpler and fit for the future.”

“Our modernising LPA project aims to improve the process of making and registering an LPA by, increasing safeguards, improving access and ensuring OPG is working sustainably while keeping LPAs as affordable as possible.”

“Responses to the consultation will help shape how we make the changes needed to build a sustainable service that meets user needs.”

The key themes from our proposals will be explored through a series of online workshops, the details of which can be found here: https://publicguardian.blog.gov.uk/2021/07/22/modernising-lasting-powers-of-attorney-safer-simpler-and-fit-for-the-future/

Responding to the news and consultation, James Cook, Partner at Collyer Bristow LLP said:

“An increasing number of LPA registrations has highlighted the importance of these documents whilst also highlighting the time delays and flaws in the current system.  A potential reform of the LPA process should therefore be welcomed as the current system is still open to potential abuse and is cumbersome and slow.

“I am hopeful that the reform will focus on safeguarding and simplifying and streamlining the process.  That said, the use of technology to solve these longstanding problems should be approached with caution as demonstrated by other areas of the court system that have not necessarily benefited from an increase in speed and efficiency as a result.”

Ann Stanyer, Partner at Wedlake Bell LLP said:

“The consultation on lasting powers of attorney needs to result in more safeguards for older people. It is a shame that the safeguards first introduced with LPAs have been removed since they were introduced including compulsory notification requirements and identifying the capacity in which the certificate provider acts.

“The executive summary suggests that ‘ people increasingly expect to be able to access government services online’. I would be interested to see the statistics on this. I do not know of many older clients who would prefer to access online services rather than face to face. Certainly the younger generation would opt for an online world but surely we should be concerned about how our older population access services that directly affect them? In a world where our older population is being side lined we should do all we can to keep legal protections in place.”

While Owen Byrne, Partner at BDB Pitmans, adds:

“We very much welcome the government’s announcement of a consultation on modernising Lasting Powers of Attorney.”

“Lasting Powers of Attorney are as much a part of sensible estate planning as having a Will and we advise clients to consider them at an early stage and have them registered sooner rather than later.”

“Without LPAs in place, a deputyship appointment might be needed from the Court of Protection and the time and cost in doing that is disproportionate in many cases to the size of the estate. If a client is shown the costs and paperwork for an LPA versus the costs and paperwork for a Court of Protection application, the conclusion is simple.”

“Any changes to the system to make LPAs easier to put in place, whilst retaining sufficient safeguards for those making the powers, are welcomed, particularly the proposal for a fast track where there is a sudden need, because registration is currently taking 20 weeks. Care homes generally won’t wait 20 weeks for financial arrangements to catch up with someone’s arrival.”

The consultation is open for 12 weeks and will run until 13th October. Read the consultation in full and respond here: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/opg/modernising-lasting-powers-of-attorney/ 

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