Thousands of people will be helped by a new online system which will make it simpler, clearer and faster to apply for Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).
The new web tool can now be used to fill in applications for an LPA - a legal document which allows the applicant to appoint someone they know and trust to make decisions about their welfare, money or property if they were to lose capacity in the future.
It takes users through each page of the application step-by-step, ensuring they have completed it correctly before it can be printed off and submitted.
The web tool has been designed to simplify the process and lead to fewer mistakes because evidence shows a large number of LPA applications have been delayed in the past because of errors on the current paper LPA forms, which can be complicated and time consuming. Almost a fifth of applications contain errors when they are received by the Office of the Public Guardian which manages the LPA scheme.
The Government has also announced that it intends to launch a consultation shortly on options to make the process fully digital – so that forms can be submitted online.
Justice Minister Helen Grant said:
It is really important that people consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney – it means that as they get older, or if they have issues with their health, they would have the peace of mind from knowing that the important decisions about their life are being taken by someone they know and trust. The launch of the digital tool is the first step in making sure the process of getting an LPA is simple, straightforward and secure.
The online application process retains all the safeguards needed to protect people’s interests. They would be able to use the service by themselves or, if they are not confident with the process, with the help of a third party - for example, a friend or family member or a professional such as a solicitor.
Alan Eccles, the Public Guardian, said:
More and more people are taking the important decision to apply for Lasting Power of Attorney and it is right they receive the best possible service. This online tool is the first step in making the whole system simpler, clearer and faster. We are continually looking to identify further improvements and we will soon be consulting on a fully digital process for creating and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney.
This online tool is the first of the Government’s flagship digital services to be delivered and will help people achieve peace of mind about a potentially difficult time in their lives.
Notes to editors:
- To access the new digital tool.
- The number of people taking out Lasting Power of Attorney has increased significantly in recent years, with 150,000 registered in 2010/11 and 183,000 in 2011/12 and 229,000 2012/13 (An increase of 25% over the last year)
- For more information about the Office of the Public Guardian, including forms and details about Lasting Power of Attorney, visit the Justice website.