Putting in place a lasting power of attorney (LPA) is to be simplified but it is still important to receive proper legal advice before making them.
Following feedback by users of the current system, the changes will come in from this July.
LPAs allow you to appoint people to act on your behalf in case you cannot manage certain decisions and responsibilities in your lifetime. They are relevant to adults of any age and have become increasingly important as the risk of mental incapacity grows through a combination of illness, accident or old age.
The property and financial affairs LPA can also be helpful for those capable of managing their finances but who may need an attorney to step in on certain occasions, for example a business person who may be overseas for an extended period.
The first change is that the registration documents will be incorporated into the main forms creating each type of pasting power of attorney (property and financial affairs, and health and welfare). This is to avoid duplication and errors. The existing forms can only be registered if they have been fully completed before 1 January 2016. After this date the new format applies.
The second change is simplification of the language used within the new combined forms. This is in response to criticism about the clarity of the current forms, including key information that the person making the document must read before signing.
The third change is the removal of the second certificate provider. One of the requirements for making an LPA is the provision of a certificate by a person in one of several categories (such as a solicitor or GP). This records that the person making the LPA understands the document and that there is nothing, including fraud or undue influence, which should prevent it being created.
At the moment, if you do not want anyone to be notified of the registration, then you are required to provide two certificates. This can be difficult for those who do not have anyone to notify and no-one to provide the second certificate. This requirement was often avoided by people naming someone not well known to them to be notified.
Improvements to the LPA process are always welcome, as long as adequate safeguards remain in place to avoid abuse or fraud.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.