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New Power of Attorney Act 2023 becomes law

View profile for Olivia Kersey
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A new bill aimed at speeding up and simplifying the registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney has been passed by Parliament. The Powers of Attorney Act 2023 became law on 18 September 2023.

Currently, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) deals with the registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) using a paper-based system. The OPG has said it has increased staffing levels to deal with the vast amounts of documents received, with more than six million LPAs registered, and over 19 million pieces of paper submitted each year. The government believes that switching to an online service will streamline the process and reduce errors.

Once the digital system is in place, those making an LPA (known as ‘the donor’), will need to register the document once it has been signed. They will be able to do this wholly online if they choose. There will also be the option to use a paper-based system or a mixture of online and paper.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

An LPA is a legal document which can be used to appoint someone to assist with your affairs. There are two types of LPA; one which deals with your property and finances (ie what you own), and another that deals with your health and welfare (ie your personal care).

Under a property and finances LPA, you can appoint someone to assist you with your affairs (if you want their help) whilst you are still able to make your own decisions. If you ever lose the ability to make decisions for yourself (known as losing mental capacity), then whomever you have appointed can deal with your financial affairs on your behalf.

Under a health and welfare LPA, you can appoint someone to make decisions about your health and personal care on your behalf, if you ever lost the ability to make or communicate decisions for yourself.

Once you have made and registered an LPA, it can be kept as a safeguard in case it is ever needed.

Should I make and register a Lasting Power of Attorney?

LPAs are highly recommended. If you were to become unable to manage your own affairs, your loved ones could face difficulties without an LPA as no one would legally be able to make decisions on your behalf, without applying to the court.

If you put a property and financial affairs LPA in place, your attorney will be able to assist you with ensuring your bills are paid, as well as helping to look after your home and ensure your finances are properly managed. Without an LPA, your family might need to apply to the court for a deputyship order, which can take many months to process and is usually significantly more expensive.

Once you have made an LPA, it will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it becomes active. It is generally advisable to register an LPA straight away, so that it is available immediately, should it ever be required.

The registration process is taking around 22 weeks at the time of writing this blog, and so there is a delay between when the document is made and when it becomes usable by your attorneys. The OPG may have questions as well, which could also delay matters.

If you are considering making LPAs we would always recommend that you take professional legal advice on the preparation of the documents, and your options as to what powers you can include, as the person making the LPAs. The documents can be prepared for free online using the website, however by preparing the documents without professional advice you will not receive guidance tailored to your personal circumstances and wishes. The result of this could be that your LPAs will not in fact achieve what you want them to. In addition, this may not be discovered until it is too late, ie when your attorneys come to use the document(s). This can result in a deputyship order being needed, adding further cost and delay to your family and loved ones assisting with your well being or affairs.

Changes taking effect with the new Powers of Attorney Act 2023

Under the new Act, it is for the donor to arrange for an LPA to be registered and this needs to be done as soon as the LPA has been made.

The OPG will take over notifying the list of any ‘people to be told’ named in the LPA. It will be open to anyone with a valid concern to raise this with the OPG.

Identity checks will be carried out on those applying to register an LPA.

When will the new digital system be available?

There is no set date yet for the new digital system. Amy Holmes, Public Guardian for England and Wales has said: “Our focus now is on continuing to develop, test and refine a new online platform and improved paper process to ensure we provide a service that will include additional safeguards and suit the needs of all our customers.”

In the meantime, making and registering an LPA in the ordinary way is still recommended, so that it is in place and ready to use.


Contact us

If you would like to speak to one of our lawyers who specialises in Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact us on 01252 733770 or by email at . We will be happy to provide details of our procedure and fees and arrange an appointment for you to meet with one of our expert LPA lawyers at our Farnham office.