A Telford-based law firm is urging local residents of the potential pitfalls in applying for a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) online, following recent proposals calling for the introduction of a digital-based service.
PCB Solicitors has highlighted a number of concerns regarding the proposed scheme which has been unveiled by the Office of the Public Guardian and if brought into force will see the introduction of a completely paper-less application process.
Pauline Davies of PCB Solicitors, said: “Having a Lasting Power of Attorney is vital in ensuring individuals’ finances and assets are looked after if he or she becomes incapable of making decisions for themselves, perhaps due to mental incapacity or a short term illness. By appointing an LPA, the individual is giving legal responsibility to a selected person to make decisions on their behalf, and because of this, it is essential that the process is completely flawless.
“With recent figures suggesting that more than one million people in the UK will have some form of dementia by 2025, ensuring that important life decisions are made by those the individual wishes to make them is ever more vital. While it’s not just the elderly who suffer from dementia and therefore require such protection, it is traditionally this generation who are more likely to apply for an LPA, and so the implications of having the whole process online should be carefully considered.
“Despite the growing number of ‘silver surfers’ in the UK, a report by the National Office for Statistics highlights that 67% of those who have no internet access are over the age of 65, and yet this will be the core group anticipated to be applying for the service online. This throws up questions relating to the accessibility of such a system to almost an entire generation, as well as significant security issues. Traditionally, individuals would appoint a solicitor to help them with the application process which would require the document to be countersigned by an independent person chosen by the donor. With a wholly online system, this requirement would be removed and the verification element eliminated.
“The most important thing is to make sure that the system works for all individuals and while there is certainly grounds to suggest that for many, an online process would be beneficial, this should be considered alongside the existing system so that it serves the whole population and avoids not only the negative effects of discrimination but those related to security.”
A consultation by the Ministry of Justice is currently in progress regarding the provision of the new online service which is due to close on the 19th October 2012.
For further information or to talk to a member of the PCB Solicitors’ team, please contact the Shrewsbury Head office on 01743 248148 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 01743 248148 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit the website www.pcblaw.co.uk.
PCB Solicitors LLP is a modern partnership, with offices in Shrewsbury, Craven Arms, Church Stretton, Broseley, Knighton, Ludlow, Telford, and Worcester.
Member since: 23rd February 2012
PCB Solicitors LLP are a modern law firm with a full range of legal services for both commercial and private clients. We aim to stand out from the crowd by providing consistent quality, value for money...