The number of people in the UK putting Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) arrangements in place has continued to increase in 2020, with more than 200,000 submitted in the first quarter of this year.
Official data from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) indicated that 239,647 powers of attorney were received from January – March 2020, which represents a rise of 5 per cent on the same period in 2019.
The MoJ stated that the increase in LPAs became much sharper in 2015, with more publicity around the agreements and the introduction of a digital process to make it easier to access.
Here, Donna Smy, a Supervising Partner with Palmers who specialises in Lasting Powers of Attorney explains why putting in place a professionally drafted LPA is so important:
Setting up a 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.
Without an LPA in place, a Court of Protection application is often the only option, but this could be a lengthy and expensive process.
The number of people that opt for an LPA has increased significantly in the last few years, with recent data showing that the figure has tripled in the past five years.
LPAs can be set up with a replacement attorney, and not having one at the beginning of the process can cause complications further down the line. Failing to appoint a replacement would mean that if an original attorney became bankrupt, unwell, refused to act or died, there may not be anyone left to act on the donor’s behalf.
Do I need to build in safeguards?
Building in safeguards and protections is essential when setting up an LPA. These can be things such as restrictions of requirements on the sale of property or family heirlooms, as well as restrictions on gifts and loans in order to protect the donor.
While some individuals may be reluctant to include these safeguards, they can ensure long-term protection, particularly when an LPA is set up well before it is needed. The team at Palmers can help to tailor the documents to an individual’s own circumstances and include additional guidance or restrictions to fully address a person’s wishes on how and when the Attorney’s powers should be used.
It is important to set up an LPA correctly, which can be done with the assistance of an expert.
For help and advice relating to powers of attorney, please get in touch with our expert team.