The Law Society has raised concerns about plans to let individuals obtain sweeping powers to make calls on core aspects of vulnerable people’s lives via an entirely online process.
The concerns come after UK government set out plans to digitalise the process of obtaining Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) through which friends and family members are able to gain sweeping powers over the lives of people with diminished mental capacities.
In a consultation, the Law Society raised concerns about the digitialisaiton of the LPA process, as it warned that vulnerable people could suffer terrible consequences.
The Law Society called on the government to ensure “sufficient safeguards” are in place to prevent people from taking advantage of vulnerable people by obtaining Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).
The body that represents lawyers in England and Wales, also said the government should ensure its services remain accessible, as it raised concerns the current digital service is “complicated and hard to use, even for those who are digitally literate”.
The industry body said there are still “significant ambiguities” as to what the digitalised process will look like, as it said the government should ask whether its reforms to modernise the system are in the interests of the most vulnerable people.
Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “The consequence of an attorney making a poor decision could be the loss of all their assets, being put into a care home against their current or past wishes, or even their premature death.”