Over the last few months, the pandemic has opened many people’s eyes to the importance of getting their affairs in order. This has led to a significant increase in the number of people setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney in order that those that they trust can make crucial decisions on their behalf in the case of lost capacity or being housebound.

Due to this increase, The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has come under increased strain, leading to lengthy delays for those urgently needing to use their LPAs. This strain, as well as calls to modernise the process, has led the OPG to release the new online service “Use a Lasting Power of Attorney”.

How does it work?

Once an LPA has been registered, the people who require access to it will be sent an activation key. This will allow them to create an account where they can view a summary of the LPA online. They can then create an access code which allows organisations to view the same summary.

How much easier is this than the old process?

As an example, Mr Smith sets up an LPA and appoints his son as the main Attorney. Unfortunately, Mr Smith develops dementia and has to go into care. As the Attorney, his son must arrange for the care fees to be paid and thus needs to organise that payment with the bank. Under the old system, the bank would require a full physical copy of the LPA to ensure that the son has been legally designated to do this. Doing so was a time-consuming and expensive process. With the new system, however, all the son has to provide the bank with is an access code so that they can view the LPA online. This can be done instantly and for free, saving the son time, money and unnecessary stress.

This release follows on from last year’s ‘Track my LPA” service which allows people in the process of making an LPA to track the progress of their application online.

    Does this apply to LPAs that have already been registered?

    Currently, the service will be available for LPAs registered from 17th July 2020 onward. The OPG has plans to open the service to LPAs registered earlier in 2020 as well as some from 2019. They have not, however, set a date for when these will become available.

    The OPG currently do not have plans to open the service for LPAs registered before this time but are actively looking for ways that they might go about doing so.

    We think it is great to see technology being embraced in estate planning in a way that takes a lot of the stress away from people trying to get their affairs in order.

    To learn more about the new service, you can read the government’s press release here:

    To find out more about Lasting Powers of Attorney in general and how we can help you in setting one up, click here.