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Suggested Changes to Lasting Powers of Attorney by the FCA

 

 Over the last few years we have noticed that more clients are aware of the importance of having Lasting Power of Attorney.  Put very simply, a Lasting Power of Attorney is a document that allows appointed individuals to make decisions regarding your property and financial affairs or health and welfare in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. 

 

The Telegraph has reported that the Financial Conduct Authority suggest that the current procedure for making a Lasting Power of Attorney may be changed.  Currently the Donor (the person making the Lasting Power of Attorney) is required to sign a hard copy of the document (known as a wet signature), indicating their understanding and approval.  Instead, the FCA suggest that the requirement for a wet signature is replaced with an entirely digital process.

 

This has already been met with some disapproval, with critics noting that it may open the door for increased fraud. This was certainly my initial thought. According to Action on Elder Abuse, the elderly are at an increasing risk of financial abuse. Also, with cyber-crime an increasing problem, there is something reassuring about having a wet signature.  

 

In addition, another potential issue has concerned me too.  At Everys we go to great lengths to ensure our clients have a personal service, bespoke to their needs and requirements.  This will include traveling to see clients in villages in the Devon countryside, farms over Exmoor, at hospitals and in care homes.  Having a physical document to take to our clients is very useful as it can help the client appreciate the steps being taken. Furthermore, in rural areas broadband and 4G cannot be relied upon. 

 

Conversely, having the option to complete a Lasting Power of Attorney online would be attractive for many other clients.    Over the last ten years Lasting Powers of Attorney have been streamlined and the cost of registration reduced, and this is the obvious next-step in efficiency. There may also be an advantage for clients who do not have the physical motor skills to sign a document.   

 

Scrapping the requirement for a wet signature altogether would be disappointing.   However, if this does come to pass, Everys will be at the forefront of embracing the changes, ensuring they are implemented safely and securely for the benefit of our clients.  Everys have continued to invest in technology to work for our clients in the most efficient means possible, and our sophisticated systems ensure that all of our offices – from Seaton to Dubai – and departments are connected. 

 

Earlier this month, you may recall that Apple were left a little embarrassed when the facial recognition technology on their latest iPhone X did not work quite as they had intended at their keynote event. Sometimes, even for Apple CEO Tim Cook, technology does not meet all of our expectations.

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