Paper-based Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) forms are continually confusing users – who are making errors at registration which could easily be eliminated.

The comments come from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) – which was set up by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in a bid to protect UK citizens who may not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The Government advises that anyone over the age of 50 should have an LPA to accompany their Will.

However, according to the OPG, the same mistakes are cropping up time and again on paper-based LPA forms – mistakes which could be easily avoided if users pursued the relevant advice of experienced legal professionals.

Following a 10-week research project into LPAs which involved citizens, charities, utility companies and legal professionals, the OPG revealed several of the all-too-common mistakes made, which were:

  • signing incorrect pages/sections
  • not signing documents in the correct order
  • missing off key signatures or dates
  • mixing up and/or losing pages
  • failing to send forms to multiple organisations involved

Since the research project, the Office has called for an investigation into introducing a new digital LPA system, in hopes that such software could alleviate common errors.

According to Caroline Hufton, of the OPG: “96 per cent of [the] current reasons for errors at registration could be eliminated with the removal of paper.

“Developing a digital LPA could solve a lot of these problems, as well as reducing costs of postage and printing for both users and OPG,” she added.

However, in all cases, there is no substitute for sound legal advice.