Changing power of attorney processes within banking

I have no idea how to go about what I am about to suggest but, at a time when you really need things to get a bit easier, registering a LPA with the various banks, pension providers, government agencies, share registrars etc takes an age and can be quite costly.

Firstly, why don't we havet an informal process? If I have registered a LPA with 'bank 1' why can't I get them to speak with 'bank 2' etc (at my request) so that I don't then need to go through the same rigmarole with them?

Secondly, what about something more formal? The OPG could operate a digital system whereby Attorneys could hold an 'account' with them. This account would contain the LPA and there would be functionality that would allow Attorneys to share the account info with financial service providers. Attorneys could even upload documents to prove identity etc - although I know institutions usually insist on originals.

This second idea would cost money but the institutions subscribing to it could fund it out of the cash they'd save not having to wade through treacle with the Attorneys and the paperwork in a face-to-face registration environment. It might also take out some of the delay and cost associated with posting documents. It would certainly take away the prospect of losing documents in the post. Sharing info in this way already exists to some degree with the DVLA and their facility to allow motorists to share driving licence details with third parties such as hire companies.

I haven't thought everything through, such as avoiding fraud, and security of the data (that would need better brains than mine) but surely, in this day and age, an online process to at least handle some of the issues would make sense.

What about Attorneys being able to generate time-limited access codes to give to financial service providers. These providers would be registered to use the service and could use the codes to check the documents were in order and then open accounts for the Donors Attorneys etc.

As things stand with me, I have two certified copies of a LPA for my other half. I send one out to service providers (and always ask for it back) and have the other in case the first goes missing. The original is kept safe in case I need to replace my certified copies.

Whilst it only costs about £10 to get a certified copy, caring duties can make it quite difficult to get out to get the certification done. On top of that, when using it to open savings accounts, the £10 cost has the effect of reducing the savings interest rate you get anyway.

I'm currently waiting for one bank to send my copy back before I can send it out to another bank - it's taking ages!

Does anyone else have a view or are most people happy with the process as it stands?


  • mrcol1000
    mrcol1000 Posts: 4,789 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary
    I think I would rather have a long drawn process to be able to take over someones bank account than it being too simple and quick. Would rather have to wait than be a victim of fraud.

    I took over my fathers bank account with the power of attorney document from solicitors, with the ink on the stamp still wet. Although it took a few weeks to issue me with a bank card and cheque they let me take £250 cash out of his account there and then to settle some of his building debts.
  • Terry_Towelling
    Terry_Towelling Posts: 2,279 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Fair enough mrcol1000.

    In truth, if it were just a single bank account I'd probably have the same view. I have upwards of 20 organisations to get around and caring full-time does make that tricky - even getting to a post office needs planning.

    Indeed, for my wife's main bankers I managed to get someone in to look after her whilst I went to the bank with the original LPA and did the necessary. On its own that was reasonably quick and certainly not difficult but it could have been improved if I could have allowed the bank to log-in to an online LPA account. For online-only banks there is no 'visit' option and documents have to be copied/certified and posted .

    I don't want to be a victim of fraud either, hence I stated that this angle would need to be thought through by appropriate people. That said, many people are quite happy with online banking and the thought of being defrauded through that medium doesn't seem to put them off. Perhaps that is because of the fraud guarantees that banks offer.

    I don't buy the argument that something quick and easy is necessarily bad or more open to fraud than something long and drawn out (apart from contactless plastic card payments) but I can see how a face-to-face meeting perhaps offers comfort and a feeling of security - I even found it to be a bit of respite to spend 2 hours with bank staff away from my caring duties.

    I think the essence of what I would like to see is the removal of the need to obtain and post certified copies of an LPA but perhaps I got a bit carried away with my thoughts thereafter! Maybe reliance on the postal system to continue sending passports, driving licences, council tax bills, bank statements etc is fine but to have to faff about getting certified copies of an LPA is something that should be avoidable.

    The solicitor I ended up using charged £10 per document. Fine, said I and, trying to be a bit smart, said 'I only have 1 document - but I want 2 copies. Is that still £10'. Of course that doubled the cost. So what! I hear you all cry. Well, I could have had a 24 page document and paid £10 for a copy, so why does 12 pages done twice costs double that. Same amount of copying, stamping, signing but twice the price - that's not right.

    Anyway, I digress. I still believe there is merit in a digital reference store for LPAs but perhaps only registered financial institutions and the like should be able to access it. Clearly, no one else thinks the same, or at least no one in this part of the forum does.

    Oh well, time to get back on my head.
  • Hi Terry

    I fully agree with you. We are in the process of registering my mother in laws LPA with the various banks.
    Now with many banks closing branches and with mergers it is becoming a significant challenge. I too do not trust the postal system and with banks only offering a 10 day turn around, it can take months to accomplish.
    Another gripe of mine is some banks will not even tell you if she had an account. With one high street bank (the one with a Spanish name), we know she had some savings with them, but they will not talk to us unless we can provide some evidence that she does/did hold an account with them. So they potentially could sit on her money for ever.
    I get that this is a major fraud avenue, but with a little bit more due diligence between both parties around proof of identity etc, much can be avoided.
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