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Firm Warns That Changes to Powers of Attorney May Leave Older and Vulnerable at Risk

Caroline Casagranda

Blandy & Blandy LLP has joined fellow members of Solicitors for the Elderly in warning against Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposals to turn the Lasting Powers of Attorney registration process fully digital.

An LPA is a legal document that allows a person to appoint trusted individuals to make important decisions about their finances and property on their behalf. Under the current process, a ‘wet signature’ – the physical signing of the document – is required by individuals who wish to register an LPA. But in a paper released on Thursday, the FCA called for a fully digital system, whereby documents could be registered completely online.

Caroline Casagranda, a partner in Blandy & Blandy LLP’s Probate, Tax & Trusts team, said: “Lasting Powers of Attorney are extremely important and complex documents. We are concerned that the Financial Conduct Authority’s proposal to digitise the LPA process and remove the need for a ‘wet signature’ will put many people at greater risk of fraud and financial abuse.

An LPA requires the understanding and consent of the person involved and, in the absence of capacity, can provide others with consent to take control of their assets and financial affairs and future healthcare decisions.

Without the witnessing of a physical signature family members or other parties could look to register a document on someone else’s behalf, potentially without their knowledge.”

Lawyers in Blandy & Blandy LLP’s team are members of Solicitors for the Elderly, an independent, national organisation of over 1,500 solicitors, barristers and chartered legal executives, who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people and their families.

Blandy & Blandy LLP was recently named as the only top tier firm in the area advising on ‘private wealth law’ in Chambers High Net Worth Guide and the firm is also top ranked in both Chambers UK Guide and The Legal 500.

For further information or legal advice, please contact caroline.casagranda@blandy.co.uk or a member of our team.