Making It Easier to Plan for Mental Incapacity

Gabrielle dell portrait.

Gabrielle Dell

Senior Solicitor

Phone 01264 325840


Reform of the lasting power of attorney process is one step closer to coming into force, after receiving Royal Assent.

No date has yet been set for the Powers of Attorney Act to take effect, but it’s hoped that when it does it will simplify and streamline the way in which lasting powers of attorney are made.

A lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that protects the interests of a person who has lost mental capacity. There are two types: one that appoints someone (an ‘attorney’) to make decisions about property and affairs, and one that appoints a ‘health and welfare’ attorney to handle decisions about the person’s medical care and living arrangements (among other things). As private client solicitors, we regularly help clients put these in place in readiness for what may be to come. And clients take great comfort from knowing that, should they go on to be unable to make decisions for themselves, they have an attorney in place who will step in and do that for them.

Making a lasting Power of Attorney is, as with most offline processes, a little clunky. There are forms to fill out by hand and there is usually some toing and froing as the registration runs its course. These difficulties could soon be ironed out by the reforms which take the offline process online and will, the government claims, make it ‘quicker, easier to access and more secure for the thousands of people who make and rely on a lasting power of attorney every year’. Digitalisation will speed up registrations and enable mistakes to be rectified online (in contrast to the current regime in which paperwork is posted out). There will be a better paper process in place for those who can’t use the internet. And fraud protection will be strengthened by allowing identity checks to be made on those making the application.

We are all for better ways of doing things, and modernising the lasting Power of Attorney process stands to significantly improve the experience of those people who just want to get the right plans in place for the future. Making a lasting power of attorney is a wise move, whether you go on to lose mental capacity or not. Removing some of the frustrations around this and bolstering security at the same time, can only be a good thing for people and families.

To make a lasting Power or Attorney, or to find out more about their benefits, contact our team on 01264 353411.

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