I was concerned to read about suggestions from the Financial Conduct Authority on removing the requirement for a physical signature on a lasting power of attorney.
An LPA is a powerful legal document that allows a person to appoint trusted individuals to make important decisions about their health and financial assets if they are no longer able. It requires the understanding and consent of the donor, but without the witnessing of a physical wet signature, what is to stop a family member or friend registering a document on someone else’s behalf, perhaps even without their knowledge?
Only recently, former Court of Protection judge Denzil Lush called for the courts to handle such affairs in a bid to safeguard against the rising number of abuse cases, most of which he said were committed by the victims’ families.
Modern technology has revolutionised many, often antiquated, areas of the law, but I would like to see more detail before I lend my support to this. If it improves people’s access to legal services then I welcome it wholeheartedly, but not if it could risk exposing the elderly and vulnerable to fraud.
David King, Slater and Gordon, Cardiff