Applications for registration of lasting powers of attorney have doubled to 3,850,000 in the last three years, allowing more people to take control of the affairs of a loved one in the event of ill health.
In excess of 800,000 applications were made in the first four months of 2019, according to official data from the Office of the Public Guardian, which is a part of the Ministry of Justice.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows individuals to appoint a trusted family member, friend or a professional adviser to make decisions for them in relation to their property and financial affairs or health and welfare or both should they lose the capacity to make these decisions for themselves. It is possible to appoint more than one attorney and to name replacements in case an original attorney becomes unable to act on a permanent basis.
Experts have warned that while the number of applications has risen significantly, this is still only a proportion of the people who require assistance with making decisions.
If a person loses capacity without having made a power of attorney, it may be necessary for an application to be made by to the Court of Protection for a deputy to be appointed to manage their property and financial affairs. It is unlikely that a deputyship would be granted to enable health and welfare decisions to be made by an individual and these would fall instead to be made by doctors or local authorities under statutory powers.
Applying to be appointed as a deputy is a much longer and more complicated process and the costs are significantly greater. The person appointed as the deputy may not be the person who the person lacking capacity would have chosen to act.
Appointing a power of attorney is an important decision, for help and advice, contact our expert team today.