The Office of the Public Guardian in England and Wales (OPG) has launched an online service for attorneys acting under a Lasting Power of Attorney. The service will enable attorneys to prove their status to banks and other organisations.
Once the document has been registered, the attorney will be sent an activation key to enable them to create an account and add the Lasting Power of Attorney to that account. The attorney can create an access code and provide relevant organisations with this code so that it can view a summary of the Power of Attorney and authority of the attorney. The intention is that the new system will be more efficient, replacing the current paper-based system.
OPG Scotland – what does an attorney need to do to begin acting under a Power of Attorney?
When an attorney begins acting for the grantor they need to show any relevant organisations the certificate of appointment to prove their authority to act. Powers of Attorney are registered with the OPG Scotland electronically but there is currently no online system for attorneys in Scotland and there do not appear to be any plans to put this in place at the moment.
Does an online service safeguard the interests of the grantor?
Given that we rely so heavily (now more than ever) on the internet it seems a natural step forward for the OPG to launch an online system for attorneys. Although the current safeguards will still be in place for the grantor, this new system in England does raise some questions in terms of protecting the grantor and potential abuse of the system. With any digital system there is a risk of fraudulent activity or abuse, particularly where the access code falls into the wrong hands. There are significant risks to be considered before putting a similar system in place in Scotland.
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