The Government has digitised its lasting power of attorney service to speed up the process at which those acting on behalf of a friend or relative can take action.
The new system, unveiled by the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) replaces the current paper-based process which can take several weeks for documents to be requested and confirmed between organisations and individuals.
The online tool will allow those acting as an attorney to provide a secure code, which will instantaneously confirm their status and authorise them to make decisions about the person’s welfare, money or property, according to the OPG.
The new tool will maintain existing checks to protect the elderly and vulnerable, including whether someone has the legal right to act as an attorney.
The decision to digitise the service follows a rise in the number of registered lasting power of attorneys in recent years to more than 4 million.
Nick Goodwin, public guardian for England and Wales, said: “More people are taking the important step to plan for the future and apply for a Lasting Power of Attorney, and we want to make sure those they entrust with making vital decisions on their behalf receive the very best possible support.
“Our new digital service will ensure attorneys can make effective and efficient decisions when managing their loved ones’ affairs – without the delays a paper-based services can cause.”
Gordon Andrews, financial planning expert, Quilter, commented: “It is very pleasing to see the government bring lasting power of attorney into the digital age, allowing people to quickly act on behalf of their loved ones.
“We are hopeful this is the first in a long line of changes to make managing your financial affairs and welfare matters much more efficient and less daunting.
“The number of lasting powers of attorney registered has grown in recent years, and it should continue to be recognised that having one in place is just good life planning. It is a great opportunity for financial institutions to utilise this new service to improve customer outcomes and provide attorneys to act quickly soon after the lasting power has been registered.”