The Future of Lasting Powers of Attorney
Since Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney in 2007, not only have many people been stuck wondering if the document they put in place many years ago is still sufficient, they have also struggled to understand the new process required for the latest documents.
The introduction of separate Lasting Powers of Attorney to allow your chosen attorney to assist with your Property and Finances and Health and Care decisions added the responsibility that the documents must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian before use. This was a positive step towards regulating the use of Lasting Powers of Attorney and protecting the person that made the document however in some circumstances, the need to register the document has created unforeseen difficulties.
With the Office of the Public Guardian waiting times at an all time high, and concerns being raised by professionals as to the queries raised by the Office of the Public Guardian regarding the validity of some documents, the Ministry of Justice considered turning the entire application process digital. We have seen this with many Court processes over the years and understand how this can, in some instances, make things much simpler. However, it was decided that although a digital application process may be implemented in the future, paper Lasting Powers of Attorney are here to stay.
This decision was welcomed by The Wilkes Partnership who understand that many people do not have access to the facilities or know-how to allow them to submit digital applications, or simply prefer a more traditional approach to personal paperwork.
This does mean however, that it is crucial that when submitting a Lasting Power of Attorney for registration, you are confident that the document has been drafted and signed correctly. Any errors picked up by the Office of the Public Guardian may add further delays to a process that is already taking 3-6 months to complete, and risk uncertainty as to when your chosen attorneys can begin to assist you with your needs.