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The dangers of online lasting powers of attorney

View profile for Chloe Hammond
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The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has recently released plans to become almost entirely digital, with paper being a rare exception by 2025. This includes how they interact and offer their services and the creation and registration of lasting powers of attorney.

Alan Eccles, of the OPG, has stated the following in respect of digital lasting powers of attorney:

‘More and more people are taking the important decision to apply for lasting powers of attorney and it is right they receive the best possible service. This online tool is the first step in making the whole system simpler, clearer and faster. We are continually looking to identify further improvements and we will soon be consulting on a fully digital process for creating and registering lasting powers of attorney.’

The guidelines for completing a digital lasting power of attorney state that the donor must sign the form before it can be registered.

However, a partner, family member or friend can help to complete the online form. If the application is completed online there are many unanswered questions such as; Does the lasting power of attorney correctly reflect the donor’s wishes and requirements? And has the donor been pressured into completing the form without fully understanding what a lasting power of attorney entails?

There needs to be significant protection in place to ensure the donor fully understands all aspects of the document and that there is no pressure on them to enter into it. This protection is not provided in respect of online applications, as anyone can complete the form.

If you have any questions in relation to lasting powers of attorney or you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact one of our wills, trusts and probate specialists. I am based in our Colchester office and can be contacted on 01206 217350 or chloe.hammond@birkettlong.co.uk.

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