Solicitors are concerned that the government’s decision to allow electronic signatures to be used on lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) could create opportunities for fraudsters.

A recent poll by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) analysed responses from 410 solicitors and found 92 per cent were in favour of retaining wet signatures, with potential fraud cited as an issue with the new system.

However, the government remains focused on making the LPA signing and registration process fully electronic.

The vast majority of respondents said that up until now they had never been concerned about the authenticity of a signature on an LPA or the identity of anyone involved, generally because signings had taken place in the solicitor’s presence.

In a statement, the OPG added: “Where it was reported that there were concerns, usually a fresh LPA was produced and signed in the presence of the solicitor to ensure the document was genuine. Around 16 per cent of respondents said that they never check a signature on the LPA against an exemplar.”

The survey also found that solicitors differed from their clients on the subject of why people generally made LPAs. The majority of the lawyers pointed to individuals wanting to plan ahead generally, but the OPG found that more people were actually making LPAs as a result of a particular event, such as a dementia diagnosis.

Fraser and Fraser remains fully operational and is here to deal with any probate or missing beneficiary queries you may have during this exceptional time. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with business development manager Nick Howitt. We are able to offer all our services remotely and we have secure video conferencing facilities.