News | August 11, 2020

New Online LPA Service

In light of the current Covid-19 crisis, many organisations have realised the ever increasing importance of using technology to manage processes which were previously dealt with by postal correspondence. One example of this shift can be seen in the Office of the Public Guardian’s (OPG’s) new online service to help attorneys and donors of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), which was introduced on 17 July 2020. All LPAs which are registered with the OPG from 17 July 2020 onwards will be automatically eligible for the new service.

How does the new service work?

Once an LPA has been registered, the donor and attorneys will be sent an activation key which allows them to create an online account and add the LPA to this account.  They will then be able to give an access code to banks and other financial institutions to allow those institutions to access/ view an online summary of the LPA.  The idea is that the financial institutions will then be able to register the attorneys’ interest on the accounts in question, without needing the attorneys to post a certified copy of the LPA to them, as is currently required. 

It can take weeks from the date of posting for a certified copy of an LPA to be registered with a financial institution, and the aim of this new service is to cut the waiting time from several weeks to a few days.

Will this make life easier for attorneys?

We certainly welcome the idea that this new service will assist attorneys to use an LPA, and carry out their important role of managing financial affairs on the donor’s behalf,  as soon as required. We look forward to testing the new system and hope that it lives up to expectations.  In order for it to be useful for the majority of LPA holders in England & Wales, however, the system needs to be made available for the donors and attorneys of LPAs registered before 17 July 2020. It is planned to extend it to earlier registered LPAs but only to those made from 2019 onwards. No date has been fixed for this yet, and there are currently no plans for making the service available to other registered powers, which is disappointing given that according to the latest report from the OPG there were 4.7 million powers of attorney of all types on the register as at 31st March 2020.  Furthermore there will be concerns that the new system will reduce protections and safeguards for vulnerable adults, and it is unclear at present how the OPG or financial institutions will protect donors from misuse of the access code.