Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a really good idea.
If you ever lose the ability to make decisions about your health and welfare, or your money and property, it allows you to nominate someone to act as your Attorney and make those important decisions for you. Equally, you might be nominated to act as the Attorney for someone you know.
An LPA is a legal document that is most commonly used by older people in case they lose the mental capacity to make their own decisions. They can be set up by anyone over the age of 18, and can also be used on a temporary basis, for example, if you’re overseas for a while and unable to sign documents over here.
Already, over five million LPAs have been registered in England and Wales.
Currently, the application process is complex and it can take months for the power to be handed over to the Attorney. The Government is therefore planning to overhaul the system to make it quicker and easier to use.
A three-month consultation is being set up to examine how to make the process predominantly digital (with an alternative option for people with no internet access). The objectives include:
- Quicker access to the service
- Easier witnessing process
- Fast-track option for relatives of someone who’s suffered a sudden change to their health
- Simplified objection process
- New safeguards to protect against fraud and abuse
You should still engage with a solicitor when setting up an LPA, because the planned streamlining of the process doesn’t take away from the fact that the legal implications need to be carefully examined and understood.