Q&As

Is there any relaxation in the usual processes for creating and registering lasting powers of attorney in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

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Published on LexisPSL on 27/03/2020

The following Private Client Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Is there any relaxation in the usual processes for creating and registering lasting powers of attorney in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

Is there any relaxation in the usual processes for creating and registering lasting powers of attorney in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

The cirumstances created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic raise particular challenges for the creation of lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) due to their strict execution requirements, with the donor, their certificate provider(s) and each attorney and replacement attorney being required to sign the LPA form in the presence of a witness. For detailed guidance on LPA execution formalities, see Practice Note: Creating a valid LPA—Execution requirements.

The creation of electronic LPAs has been the subject of much discussion and consultation over the years. The 2013 Ministry of Justice consultation Transforming the Services of the Office of the Public Guardian—enabling Digital by Default stated that it was the Office of the Public Guardian’s (OPG’s) ambition to deliver a fully digital process for making and registering an LPA, where the whole process could be completed online, removing the need for paper forms. However, these proposals received strong criticism from leading professional bodies and the consultation was consequently dropped. The main concern among practitioners was that the use of electronic signatures for LPAs would expose elderly and vulnerable clients to greater risk of fraud, duress and financial abuse. For further information about the Ministry of Justice consultation, see News Analysis: The digital future of the Office

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