The office of the Public Guardian last week reported that it had received over 210,000 applications to register a Lasting Power of Attorney over the preceding year, meaning that applications have more than trebled over the past three years. Just 64,000 applications were registered in 2009.
LPA’s first came into effect in 2007, under the Mental Capacity Act. The Act permits anyone over 18 years of age to appoint an ‘attorney’, somebody responsible who would be able to manage their affairs for them if they became incapacitated or unable to make decisions for themselves. Commonly this can occur in old age due to progressive conditions such as dementia, but it is always worth bearing in mind that incapacity could arise suddenly or temporarily, due to illness or an accident.
The Office of the Public Guardian is aiming to ensure every UK citizen over the age of 18 has an LPA registered.
‘Our ambition is to change the demographic of the customer base so that we see more younger people, including members of the armed forces, preparing for the future.’ Chief Executive Alan Eccles has stated.
In our previous blog of 23rd July 2012, we reported that most people consider a Power of Attorney to be something they would consider later in life, however granting power of attorney can be an important precautionary step because sadly mental or physical incapacity can occur at any time following an illness, disability or an accident. We reported the tragic case of a woman who was unable to access her own money and provide for her family after her husband was left in a coma following a vehicle accident.
It is not just financial issues which can be devolved to an attorney. You may wish to give someone you trust responsibility for your health and welfare as well, on matters such as organ donation after death, whether to receive life sustaining treatment or whether they should remain in your own home or accept residential care. These are issues about which people often have strong and resolute opinions, but neglect to make adequate provisions for them, meaning that their views and wishes risk being ignored if they are unable to communicate them themselves.
It is common for people to receive advice in confidence from a Solicitor before granting an LPA. Your Solicitor will also ensure you receive confidential, impartial advice and that you are capable of granting an LPA in favour of someone else of your own free will and volition. This can prevent the LPA being challenged or disputed by other people against the wishes of the person who grants it.
All information is correct on the date of posting.