Number of Lasting Power of Attorney arrangements increases

The number of people in the UK putting Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) arrangements in place has continued to increase between March and August 2020, with more than 200,000 submitted in the period.

The data was published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), finding that the increase in LPAs started in 2015, with more publicity around the agreements and the introduction of a digital process to make it easier to access.

What do I need to know when setting up an LPA?

Lasting powers of attorney (LPA) can be set up in respect of personal health and welfare, or property and financial affairs, or both. In both cases, one or more attorneys can be appointed, as well as replacement attorneys.

If you do not have an LPA set up, then a Court of Protection application could be the only option, but this could be a lengthy and expensive process.

The number of people that create an LPA has increased significantly in the last few years, with recent data showing that the figure has tripled in the past five years.

A replacement attorney should be considered. Without one many complications can arise, for example, if the original attorney becomes ill or indeed dies this could mean that the LPA becomes redundant. This is of particular concern where the donor has lost capacity by then and thus the only way of dealing with the person’s assets would be through an expensive Application to the Court of Protection.

Careful consideration should also be made when appointing a replacement as to when they take over, especially if you have appointed more than one original attorney. For example, should they take over if just one attorney passes away or should they take over only when both attorneys who were originally appointed pass away. These are important considerations which a person should discuss with the expert adviser.

Should I consider building in safeguards?

You can include guidance in the Lasting Power of Attorney and you can also include specific instructions as to how your attorneys should act. Care, however, must be taken not to make it too restrictive.

It is essential that you get expert advice before considering this. Not all instructions or guidance are binding and some may even invalidate the Lasting Power of Attorney. In other words, the Office of the Public Guardian will not accept it. If you have more than one original attorney you should also consider how they will act with the other attorney.

For example, should they act jointly so that both of them have to act together, or can they act separately? Whatever safeguards you put in can include restrictions on, for example, a sale of property provided that they obtain, say, two estate agents valuations and so on. As mentioned above, these points must be discussed fully with the expert adviser.

For help and advice relating to powers of attorney, contact our expert team today.

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Jeffrey Cohen

Jeffrey Cohen

Senior Associate Solicitor, London, Head of Wealth and Succession Planning team at Mackrell.Solicitors
Jeffrey is Head of the Private Client department of Mackrell.Solicitors’ London office and joined the firm in May 2014. Jeffrey is a highly experienced private client lawyer and focuses on all aspects of private client law, wealth management, tax and trust law including estate and inheritance tax planning.