The Law Society has raised concerns that the online service for lasting powers of attorney (LPA) could be open to cases of fraud and abuse.
LPAs are well established documents that enable you to nominate someone in advance to look after your affairs should you become incapable of doing so yourself at some point in the future.
LPAs can be very helpful but need to be drawn up properly with the help of a solicitor to ensure that they fully reflect your wishes and protect your interests.
In July last year, the government introduced a new system enabling people to make declarations online. The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which administers LPAs, said the changes were needed to cope with increasing demand.
Alan Eccles, Chief Executive of the OPG, told the Law Gazette: “The UK’s population is ageing and age is the commonest reason for losing mental capacity. The significant business challenge is to keep up with the increasing number of applications.
“We had registered more than 250,000 new LPA instruments by the end of the 2013 tax year.
“The estimate for this year was originally 330,000, but we have had to increase the figure to 380,000. The numbers are not expected to plateau until 2044. To avoid being drowned by paper, we are putting LPAs online for the first time, cutting costs and improving speed and accuracy.”
The Law Society has expressed concern that digital LPAs may lack the high level of security found in traditional documents because there is no written signature or independent witness. This means there may be no conclusive evidence that a vulnerable person willingly entered into an LPA agreement with someone they trust.
Anyone who wants protect their interests with an LPA should ensure that all the safeguards are in place and that the document is correctly drawn up.
It is important to note that LPAs do not necessary need to be registered at Court. Many Solicitors will tell you that all LPA’s have to be registered at Court but this is simply not the case. Registering LPAs at Court is significantly more expensive and in the majority of cases is not even necessary.
Our fees at Ison Harrison for LPA’s represent significantly better value for money than many other legal practices whether they be registered at Court or not. Our fees for standard Property and Affairs LPA’s are £200 for individuals and £250 for couples.
Our fees for Property & Financial Affairs LPA’s are £400 and £500 should you require us to register your LPA with the Court. Our fees quoted here are subject to VAT and disbursements.
Please contact Dominic Mackenzie on 0113 284 5086 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or for advice about registering a lasting power of attorney.