Digitisation of Lasting Powers of Attorney

Posted: May 22, 2018
Wills and Probate

Local solicitor Lee Baron, from Painters Solicitors based in Kidderminster, has joined fellow members of Solicitors for the Elderly in warning against proposals to turn the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) registration process fully digital.

A Financial LPA is a legal document that allows someone to appoint trusted individuals to step into their shoes and make important decisions about their finances and property on their behalf. Under the current process, a ‘wet signature’, or the requirement of physically signing the document, is compulsory for those who wish to register an LPA. But the Financial Conduct Authority have recently called for a fully digitised system, where documents can be registered online.

Lee Baron said: “We are extremely concerned by the Financial Conduct Authority’s push for digitised Lasting Powers of Attorney. Although we welcome initiatives that make them more accessible, this may also have the opposite effect and put people off entering into these documents, particularly with those who are less technologically savvy and require some guidance from legal professionals. It is also the security of older and vulnerable people that is paramount.

“Removing the requirement of a physical signature could potentially put thousands of people at risk of fraud and abuse.

“LPAs are extremely powerful and complex documents, and the prospect of being able to take control of someone else’s bank account and property so easily is frankly reckless. It is the additional barriers we currently have in place that lower the chance of this abuse occurring.

“We also advocate for younger people to enter into LPAs, as the sooner this is done, the earlier you and your family can have peace of mind. Anyone over the age of 18 can enter into an LPA, so it is never too early to prepare for your future and have extra controls over your assets, at a time when you may need it most.”

Please speak to a member of our Wills and Probate team for further advice about Powers of Attorney.