The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) have recently revealed their new digital portal which will assist Attorneys acting under a Lasting Power of Attorney in contacting financial institutions and healthcare professionals.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Under a Lasting Power of Attorney, a person has the ability to give power to named individuals who will then act as Attorneys for them. The Attorneys can then make decisions for that person if or when they are unable to do so for themselves.

Power can be given under a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs and separately under a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare. These documents cannot be used until they are registered with the OPG.

Once registered, Lasting Powers of Attorney can be stored away until they need to be used.

What does an Attorney need to do?

If a person loses capacity, their Attorneys will need to liaise with their various financial organisations and health care professionals. They will need to provide them with a copy of the Lasting Powers of Attorney, so that they are formally recognised as being able to act on behalf of the person.

Currently, the original Lasting Power of Attorney, or Solicitor certified photocopies have to be sent to each organisation, which can take several days or even weeks.

How will the OPG’s new digital portal change the process?

The new digital portal will mean that those acting as an Attorney can make contact much faster and therefore speed up the process, which is essential when having to make important decisions for loved ones.

The digital process will provide the Attorneys with a secure code which they can submit to the online portal which will instantaneously confirm their status as an Attorney. The digital platform has been introduced to help protect against abuse of a Lasting Power of Attorney. With current social distancing restrictions, this will come as a warm welcome to those Attorneys needing to make crucial decisions in potentially small time frames.

Lasting Powers of Attorney are an important tool in preparing for the future and not only suitable for elderly clients.

If you would like assistance with preparing and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney, please get in touch.