Major reforms announced for the Lasting Power of Attorney process

22nd July 2021


Lasting Power of Attorney was introduced in 2007 as part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, replacing the previous system of Enduring Power of Attorney which had been in place since 1986.

The number of people acting with lasting power of attorney (LPA) has grown significantly over the past few years to reach a total in excess of five million. In contrast the process of registering a LPA has hardly changed since its inception.

The process remains largely paper-based, with some forms being over 20 pages long with in excess of six signatures required, which must be signed in a certain order. Lasting Powers of Attorney must also be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to become effective.

On Tuesday 20th July it was announced that a 12-week consultation had launched, with the intention of modernising the process.

In particular looking to implement:

  • New and improved safeguards to protect against fraud and abuse
  • A simplified and easy to use application process
  • A predominantly digital service
  • An increase in OPG powers to prevent fraud and abuse

This will bring the process in line with the updates of recent years within the Court of Protection and wider court system. The OPG now has an online forum for deputies to use to submit their annual reports. Tax returns can be submitted online, and the Court now has an e-filing system for documents to be filed electronically. These modernisations have streamlined the procedures and allowed for things to be dealt with faster and easier. They have also allowed any queries to be answered quickly, creating a better service for both professionals and individuals.

The current paper-based application process can take many months to reach the stage where powers are handed over. The proposals under this review would see the service move into the modern age, with a paper-based option remaining for those unable to use the internet.

The government is also set to consider creating a fast-track option for those who need to set up an LPA for someone who has suffered a sudden change in their health.

Justice Minister Alex Chalk said: "A lasting power of attorney provides comfort and security to millions of people as they plan for old age. These changes will make the service quicker to use, easy to access and even more secure from fraud."

This is certainly something for solicitors, deputies and individuals who work in this area to watch, as any substantial changes would require amendments to the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Share This Post