Photo ID: not just for elections

 19 May 2023
Photo ID: not just for elections

The recent local elections in England and Wales saw the requirement for proof of ID as a requirement to vote for the first time. The photo ID accepted at the polling station included:

  • A UK issued passport
  • A UK Driving Licence
  • A Blue Badge (disabled parking)
  • Various travel cards issued by the government including an Older Person’s Bus Pass
  • ID card from the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • Defence Identity Card

Interestingly, the government website stated that “You can still use your photo ID if it's out of date, as long as it looks like you.” However, it had to be the original document/card, not a photocopy.

Voter Authority Certificates

Voters could also apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate. However, a BBC report suggested that only 4% of the estimated 2 million voters without photo ID had actually applied for the Certificate. No official stats were available on the number of voters who came to vote but were turned away due to lack of ID.

Why is photo ID a concern for my estate planning?

As we age or our health declines, we may decide we no longer want to drive, or travel abroad. So we let our driving licence and passports lapse and go out of date. (This is often the case with elderly parents too.)

This can become an issue when photo ID verification is required under the UK Money Laundering Regulations. If you consult a financial advisor for the first time, your advisor will need sight of original or certified copies of identification as follows:

  • A current passport or driving licence
  • A utility bill or bank statement no more than 3 months old

Money Laundering ID checks also need to be carried out for trustees of new trusts .

Even if you have previously shown your financial advisor photo ID, you may need to do so again to someone else for any further arranged financial agreements, such as equity release. As Equilaw, a specialist firm in equity release, explain:

“We are required, by your Lender’s solicitor, to guarantee your identity in accordance with the Money Laundering Regulations requirements. To do this we must have sight of original government-issued photographic identity evidence e.g. a valid driving licence or passport.”

Wills and photo ID

The Society of Will Writes advises member that they must “take all reasonable and proper precautions to verify identity”.

This means that when you want a will written by a professional will writer such as Paul, you will need to provide two forms of ID. One must be photo ID and one is proof of current address, such as a utility bill. The list of accepted photo ID documents are a passport or a valid UK driving licence or an EEA member state ID card. (If none of these are available, a photo travel card or bus pass may be acceptable.)

If you need to retrieve a will or documents from a professional storage company, they will require ID from all the executors. So it’s important to remind your own executors they need to keep their ID up to date too! After all, you may want to update your will on several occasions during your lifetime.

Proof of ID for elderly parents.

Proof of ID can be particularly tricky for your ageing parents if they still take care of their own affairs. They might also struggle with the online forms and digital photos that might be required, and the potential requirement for their photo to be countersigned by a person (not family) who has known them for a set number of years.

If you have Lasting Power of Attorney, you may not need photo ID for the parent you are attorney for, but you will inevitably need it for yourself!

Photo ID: keep it up to date

UK driving licences are a standard form of identification, and also cost-effective to renew. If you are aged 70 or over, you can renew your British driving licence for free online, so long as:

- You meet the minimum eyesight requirement

- You aren’t prevented from driving for any reason

If you’ve not done this before, you’ll need to register and for that you need:

- An email address

- Addresses of where you’ve lived for the last 3 years

- Your National Insurance number (if you know it)

- A valid UK passport number (if you want to change the licence photo)

You can also apply via post if you wish.

Don’t drive anymore? No problem.

The point here is that you do not need to be actively driving in order to retain your driving licence. So long as you meet the government criteria, and tell the DVLA of any relevant medical conditions that might affect your driving, you can potentially renew your licence as required.

Older drivers in particular may need to complete a medical questionnaire and possibly attend an eyesight examination at an approved optician. The DVLA will inform you if this is required. You may also have or be issued a short-term medical driving licence which will last for no longer than 5 years.

Paid for and free passports

If you need to renew or replace your adult passport, this currently costs £82.50 to renew online or £93 using the paper form. Concessionary passports (free of charge) are only available if you were born on or before 2 September 1929, so that’s aged 94 and above!

However, we’re back to the question of identity again:

“A customer whose identity has been confirmed and who is entitled and eligible for a British passport, will qualify for a concessionary (free) passport, if both the following points apply:

- they were born on or before 2 September 1929

- at the time of their application, they hold any British nationality”

Other photo ID schemes

There are other photo ID cards available such as the Post Office PASS card. However, these are primarily used to confirm your age, and may not be recognised as a valid form of photo ID as they are not government issued.

In summary

Makes sure you keep at least one form of photo ID valid, so you can always prove your identity for travel, and to access financial and some health-related services.

Looking for help with your estate planning?

Contact us here at Panthera Estate Planning. You can book an appointment either as an online call or in person at our offices near Waterlooville, Hampshire.

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