A New Era of Lasting Powers of Attorney: Unveiling the Powers of Attorney Act 2023

In recent years, the demand for a more accessible and expedited procedure for creating Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) has grown significantly in England and Wales. The Powers of Attorney Act 2023, which received Royal Assent on 18th September 2023, embodies a monumental step toward meeting this demand. This legislation heralds a new era by introducing electronic LPAs and robust identity verification measures, aimed at making the process quicker, easier to access, and more secure for thousands who rely on LPAs annually in Shropshire and Mid Wales.

The LPAs, first introduced in 2007, enabled individuals (Donors) to designate trusted persons (Attorneys) to manage their financial and personal affairs on their behalf. Despite minor modifications over the years, the requirement for a “wet” signature and a physical document remained, often making the process tedious and time-consuming especially during urgent situations. However, the Powers of Attorney Act 2023 has revolutionised this by introducing the option to prepare an LPA digitally, thus eliminating the necessity for a physical document and in-person signatures.

One of the cornerstones of this Act is the development of a new online system by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), designed to streamline the creation and registration of LPAs. This digital transformation is anticipated to significantly reduce the processing time, which previously could take up to 20 weeks. Moreover, the Act mandates identity checks for those applying for the LPA, a step forward in enhancing the security and integrity of the system, ensuring the protection of vulnerable individuals from potential abuses. The Act also alters the registration protocol; now only the Donor is authorised to register the document, a shift from the earlier practice where Attorneys could also register it at a later date. Additionally, the OPG will take on the responsibility of notifying parties named in the LPA during registration, with a provision for objections to be lodged by third parties, adding an extra layer of scrutiny to the process.

“The reforms encapsulated in the Powers of Attorney Act 2023 are a commendable response to the legal community’s calls for modernisation of the outdated system. These changes, poised to take effect this November, are long overdue”, according to Nicola Pugh, a partner at PCB Solicitors and Head of the Wills and Probate Department. “The Act embodies a substantial stride toward modernisation, making the LPA process more user-friendly and efficient, a crucial requirement in the contemporary fast-paced world.”

For more information on how to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, feel free to contact Nicola Pugh and the Wills and Probate team at PCB Solicitors, who are always ready to offer the requisite guidance and support. You can contact us here.

PCB Solicitors have offices across Shropshire and Mid Wales including Shrewsbury, Telford, Church Stretton, Ludlow and Knighton with availability for appointment in Welshpool, Bishops Castle and Clun.