The number of Lasting Powers of Attorney registered in England and Wales has more than doubled in the last three years.
That is according to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) which published its annual report in July.
Figures show that as at 31st March 2019, 3,847,008 LPAs had been recorded compared to 1,870,393 in March 2016.
Caroline Wallis, Head of the Wills and Probate team at Phillips Solicitors puts this down in part to a greater awareness of the importance of setting up LPAs.
Noting the OPG’s 2018/2019 business plan includes raising awareness and driving up the uptake of LPAs, Caroline said: “This is a significant rise in the number of LPAs. With an aging population as people live longer, there also seems to be a greater awareness of conditions such as dementia.
“Alzheimer’s Society say that there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and that is set to rise to over one million by 2025. By 2051 this is expected to increase to two million by 2051.”
“LPAs certainly have an important part to play in looking after vulnerable people, particularly with the elderly and those with medical conditions.”
An LPA is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf should you lose mental capacity in the future or if you are worried about managing your affairs in the future. This person is called an Attorney.
You can have more than one Attorney and these can be anyone you choose such as family members or close friends. Clearly, they should be people you trust explicitly. One could be a professional adviser, such as a solicitor, who could oversee the activities of the main Attorney.
There are two different types of LPA. One of them covers decisions about your property and finances, and the other covers decisions about your health and welfare. You can choose to have one or both.
You can appoint the same person or persons to be your Attorney for both LPAs or you can choose different Attorneys.
The LPA will only be valid if you have the mental capacity to set it up and have not been put under any pressure to create it.
It must be countersigned to this effect by a trusted third party and registered with the OPG.
Caroline said: “We recommend that everybody has an LPA in place as mental capacity can be lost or diminish suddenly, as a result of a serious accident or suffering an illness.”