Warning Issued For ‘Risky’ Online Legal Tool
- 16th November 2016
- Benjamin Jones
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Loosemores Solicitors has backed the recent Solicitors For The Elderly (SFE) report which raises serious concerns about the Government’s Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) online tool for creating a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a powerful legal document that allows a person to appoint trusted individuals to make important decisions about their healthcare and finances on their behalf, in the event of a loss of mental capacity through an accident or illness such as dementia.
Maria Cosslett (Partner and Head of Wills, Probate, and Trusts Department of Loosemores Solicitors) and a fully accredited member of Solicitors For The Elderly (SFE) explains:
“The prospect of being able to submit an LPA application entirely digitally and without the guidance of a professional is extremely concerning, and raises some serious questions around the potential for fraud and financial abuse.”
The complexity of a Lasting Power of Attorney application can be especially daunting for someone who isn’t professionally trained and accredited to process it.
The SFE report concludes that since the release of the online tool in May 2014, there has been a drastic increase in the number of rejected initial LPA applications. This is due to increased errors occurring.
Not only do these issues prolong the application process and lead to further costs being incurred, but failure to correctly record details may also lead to banks, hospitals and other institutions refusing to follow instructions.
Failure to have a specialist lawyer oversee the process of assigning an attorney also leaves the donor susceptible to being a victim of fraud or coercion.
The ‘Do-it-Yourself’ online tool increases the likelihood of a completely fraudulent Lasting Power of Attorney being registered in the donor’s name without their consent, and, the likelihood of the donor being pressured to sign something that they do not necessarily understand or agree with.
Maria Cosslett is a regulated, qualified, specialist lawyer who will listen to your needs before advising you on your best LPA solution.
Maria offers one-to-one support, specialist advice, and convenient home visits if needed.
For a free initial consultation with Maria, please call Loosemores Solicitors on: 02920 224433
To Download the Full SFE Report please visit http://www.sfe.legal/public/the-risks-of-diy-lpas