The Power of Attorney Act 2023 received royal assent on 18 September having been originally introduced as a private members bill by MP Stephen Metcalfe. Whilst there is no specified date for its enforcement this Act is set to bring about a profound transformation in the digitalisation and accessibility of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).
The primary objective of the Act is to modernise the LPA process by moving it online. This move aims to eliminate the current 19m pieces of paper generated annually by the current paper applications reducing the environmental impact and the bureaucratic bottlenecks. The new online system promises to speed up the registration process and allow errors to be amended simply online rather than the current posting back and forth.
Whilst the aim of moving online will further open accessibility to many more people, the Act still does recognise those who prefer paper-based applications or do not have access to the internet by allowing them to continue alongside the digital ones or use a mix of online and paper.
As with many digital platforms there are concerns about security, privacy and safeguarding. The Act aims to address the safeguarding issue with robust security measures to protect vulnerable individuals from potential exploitation. However only time will tell if this is sufficient.
In summary, the Act represents a big step towards the modernisation and accessibility of LPAs which may significantly benefit both applicants and the legal system.