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More than a million new lasting power of attorney were registered in the UK during 2023

More than a million new Lasting Power of Attorney were registered in the UK during 2023.

This figure relates to first-time registrations of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and marks a 37% increase on the 2022 total.  These figures were published in a new report from the Family Court that analyses data they collected between October and December 2023.

The Family Court believes the main reason for the increase is the introduction of online applications which has made it quicker and easier for anyone to apply for an LPA.  However, our rapidly growing elderly population is undoubtedly another contributing factor.

What is Lasting Power of Attorney?

Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables you to give those you trust most – your ‘attorneys’ – the authority to help you make important decisions relating to your finances and property.  An LPA also empowers your attorneys to make these decisions for you if you are no longer able to make  them for yourself.

There are two types of LPA, one for property and financial affairs and another for health and welfare.  You can have the same attorney for both types or appoint different people for the different types but you will need to submit different applications for both.

A property and financial affairs LPA allows your attorneys to make financial decisions involving and take the required actions relating to the management of your bank accounts, bills, property maintenance expenses and any benefits you receive (as long as they keep their own money separate and maintain accounts of how your money has been/is being used).

A property and financial affairs LPA also allows your attorneys to access your funds so they can pay your mortgage and other bills and even sell your home if this becomes necessary.

Should you lose mental capacity, a health and welfare LPA will enable your attorneys to make crucial decisions as to where you live, finding and funding the medical and social care you need, how you will wash, dress and be fed and whether it is in your best interests to be moved into a care or medical facility.

Why should you join the 1m and register a new Lasting Power of Attorney?

While granting someone lasting power of attorney is a huge decision, there are many important reasons to do so.  These include:

  • Giving you full control of who represents your best interests (the friend, family member, or professional adviser you trust most) and exactly which decisions your attorney can make on your behalf.
  • The knowledge your wishes will be respected even if you are unable to oversee or direct them yourself.
  • Preparing for future incapacity by making sure someone you trust can make the most important decisions should you become unable to make these decisions yourself.
  • Peace of mind that your finances and property will be managed properly if, for example, you find yourself in hospital for a period of time. It is one less thing to worry about during a stressful time.
  • Peace of mind that the decision regarding your health and welfare will be made by those who know you best rather than state employees should you become unable to make these decisions.
  • Saving you and your family from a potentially complex legal dispute over your affairs, wealth and assets are managed should you become mentally incapacitated.

For us, the most important considerations involved in setting up an LPA are:

– To be very careful when choosing your attorneys. This should include discussing your ideas and the responsibilities you want them to take before you begin any formal application.  You need to be absolutely sure they are comfortable assuming these responsibilities and willing to execute them.

– To take legal advice from a specialist. This will make sure your LPA/s are not only correctly drafted and registered but also that each accurately reflects your exact wishes.

If you would like to register Lasting Power of Attorney or simply find out more about the process and the benefits of registering an LPA, please contact our hugely experienced Wills, Tax, Trusts & Probate team today.