Lasting Powers of Attorney – What’s new?

In 2007 Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPAs”) came into force replacing Enduring Powers of Attorney which existed at that time. The reason for replacing Enduring Powers of Attorney with LPAs was to try and prevent fraud and abuse of vulnerable people, to incorporate new checks and balances to prove that the donor had sufficient capacity, and to ensure that the Donor was not under any undue influence when drawing up the same.

The first of these checks and balances was to include a person to be notified when the LPA was registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. If the person to be notified had any concerns regarding the Donor or the Attorneys, they could raise their concerns with the Office of the Public Guardian and object to the documents being registered.

The second check and balance is the role of the Certificate Provider. Currently, a Certificate Provider must be a person that has known the Donor for at least two years and who is more than just an acquaintance, or alternatively the Donor can appoint a GP or Solicitor. The role of the Certificate Provider is to ensure that the Donor understands the purpose of the LPA, that no fraud or undue pressure is being used to encourage the Donor to create the LPA and that there is nothing else that would prevent the LPA being created.

Earlier this year, the Office of the Public Guardian confirmed that they would simplify the LPA forms. The new forms are designed to be easier to use, are much shorter than the current forms and use plain English.

As of 1 July 2015, the new LPA forms:

Remove the requirement to notify someone of the registration of a LPA at the Office of the Public Guardian. This is now an optional requirement.

Only require the need for one Certificate Provider. Previously, if you did not notify anyone that you were registering the LPA at the Office of the Public Guardian you had to provide two Certificate Providers.

No longer require details of the Certificate Provider’s qualifications and confirmation of how they know the Donor. Details required from the Certificate Provider have been reduced so that they only need to provide their name and address.

Incorporate the registration application pages, in order to encourage the immediate registration of the LPA.

Although the LPA forms have been simplified the question that remains however is whether relaxing the need for people to be notified and details of how the Certificate Provider knows the Donor will allow more scope for fraud and abuse when drawing up LPAs?

In any event, you must ensure when drawing up your LPA’s that you trust your Attorneys to act with integrity and to always act in your best interests. To prevent abuse taking place with your LPA’s, talk to one of our specialist Solicitors at Prince Evans Solicitors today, who will be able to assist you further.

Written by Abigail Pfister, Solicitor, Wills, Trusts and Probate Team