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New practice: Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) launches online service for attorneys appointed under Lasting Powers of Attorney

People appointed by Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in England and Wales will welcome a new online service they can use to prove to third parties, much faster than before, that they are legally entitled to act on behalf of the person who appointed them.

October 2020

This update was published in Legal Alert - October 2020

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

An LPA is a legal document which allows a person (the ‘donor’) to appoint someone else (their ‘attorney’) to make decisions about their welfare, money or property.

The online service, ‘Use a lasting power of attorney’, applies to English and Welsh LPAs registered with the OPG on or after 17 July 2020. It will enable an attorney dealing with banks, healthcare providers or other organisations to prove that they are entitled to act on their donor’s behalf within just a few days, rather than the weeks that it could take under the previous paper system.

Once an attorney and the donor who appointed them have registered their LPA, they will receive a registration number and activation key that they can use to set up an online OPG account. They add their LPA to their account, and can then create an access code to give to a third party so it can see a summary of the LPA. Once they have done so, they can track which people or organisations have been given access.

The OPG has issued useful FAQs on its website.

The OPG has said it hopes to extend the service to cover some LPAs registered before 17 July 2020 in due course, perhaps going back as far as 2019.

Those wishing to use the new service – which is voluntary - may wish to take specialist legal advice to ensure that they understand any risks associated with it, such as a donor inadvertently releasing keys and codes to potential fraudsters, and risks of hacking.

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