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FOI reveals significant fall in lasting power of attorney registrations during pandemic

  • A fall of 26.5% in registrations of lasting power of attorney (LPAs) in 2020/21 compared to the previous tax year (636,628 registrations)
  • Previous five tax years had shown growth of 84% in LPA registrations (471,272 in 2015/16 to 866,272 in 2019/20)

Following an FOI request1 by Canada Life, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed there has been a 26.5% reduction in the number of lasting power of attorneys (LPAs) registered in the 2020/21 tax year compared to the previous year. In total, 636,628 registrations were completed, split between 282,883 health and welfare and 353,745 property and finance LPAs.

 

This compares to 866,272 registrations in the previous tax year (2019/20) split between 382,130 health and welfare and 484,142 property and financial, which to date is the peak year for registrations.

 

The rise in registrations of LPAs follows the introduction of an online application process in 2015 and a follow-up awareness campaign, which led to an increase of 84% in the number of LPAs registered over a five -year period.

 

Andrew Tully, technical director at Canada Life commented:

 

“Lasting power of attorneys put in place a valuable safety net and can provide significant reassurance at hugely difficult times. LPAs can be registered for health and welfare needs, when you might need someone to make decisions on your behalf around medical needs, daily routines or even decisions on moving into care. LPAs can also be registered for someone to make decisions on your behalf around property and financial needs if you are unable to do so yourself.

 

“It’s a little surprising to see the number of registrations fall during the pandemic, especially given the huge increase in the number of LPAs registered during the previous five years. This is partly due to the processing changes that needed to be made at the start of the pandemic and the resulting backlog caused.

 

“LPAs are incredibly powerful legal documents and very easy to put in place while you have the mental capacity to do so. At very little cost they can provide peace of mind, and in the event you find yourself mentally incapacitated, you know your affairs and needs would be looked after by the person you nominate.  We would urge anyone who put off doing this during the lockdowns to dust off the paperwork and finalise it.”

The Ministry of Justice and Office of the Public Guardian has just finished a 12-week consultation2 on the process of making lasting powers of attorney safer, simpler and fit for the future. Moving to introduce new and improved safeguards, shifting to a predominately digital service and making the process simpler and easier to use.

 

  1. Source: Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Justice, answered on 22 November 2021. Copy available upon request.
  2. Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lasting-power-of-attorney-service-to-be-made-safer-simpler-and-fit-for-the-future