Powers of Attorney Act 2023
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The Powers of Attorney Act 2023 aims to digitise the process and make it faster, easier, more accessible and secure. It will:
- speed up registration time by picking up errors earlier and allowing these to be fixed online
- allow checks on the identity of those applying for an LPA to prevent fraud
- allow for an LPA to made digitally
- widen the group of people who can make an objection
- expedite the objection process
- allow chartered legal executives to certify copies of LPAs
The changes follow a perceived need to update and streamline the service after a significant increase in LPA applications in recent years.
A paper process will be maintained for people unable to use the internet.
In a statement, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, Lubna Shuja, said:
“We support the act’s aim to improve access to powers of attorney through a new digital route, while ensuring that people can still make an LPA via a paper process too.
“Maintaining this paper route is essential to ensure that vulnerable people are not disadvantaged by the government’s proposals.”
Lubna also commented on the act’s limitations: “The Powers of Attorney Act could have done more to provide additional support for certificate providers.
“The act fails to make it clearer that the certificate provider has a responsibility to confirm the donor’s mental capacity and set out the requirements for fulfilling this role.
“For example, a certificate provider should be required to ask questions to test whether they can safely form an opinion as to whether the donor has mental capacity.
“They should also be required to record and store how they formed their opinion in case this is needed later.
“While this has not been included in the act, we are pleased that the Ministry of Justice has pledged to provide additional support to certificate providers.
"We are committed to working with the government to achieve this.”
The online system and additional safeguards are being developed by the Office of the Public Guardian.
Extensive testing will need to be carried out to ensure the process is simple to use, works as intended and is secure.