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Sharp drop in power of attorney registrations

John Fitzsimons
Written By:
John Fitzsimons

The number of lasting powers of attorney registered last year dropped by a whopping 30%.

That’s according to a Freedom of Information request from Quilter submitted to the Ministry of Justice, which found that between April 2020 and February 2021 569,138 were registered. That’s down substantially from the 804,589 registered in the year before that.

While numbers have improved in recent months, they have not yet recovered to the levels seen before the pandemic.

Why numbers have fallen

According to Rachel Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Quilter, Covid-19 has been a big factor in that drop. She noted that aspects of getting lasting power of attorney in place ‒ such as getting a traditional “wet signature” ‒ became more problematic, while it took the Office of the Public Guardian around a month to put together guidance on how to apply for power of attorney in the Covid-19 environment.

The fact that it was then taking longer to process applications meant that in April registrations dropped by 70.5% from April 2019.

She added: “While numbers still haven’t returned to their previous levels, they are getting closer and it is encouraging to see that people are getting the much-appreciated piece of mind that having an LPA entails.”

Why would I want lasting power of attorney?

Power of attorney is a legal document, where you give someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf, for example about your money and property.

You can take it out on a temporary basis, for example if you’re going to be in hospital for a while, or you can take out lasting power of attorney which is where that person takes over those decisions once you’re no longer mentally able to do so.

Having a lasting power of attorney in place can make life much easier for your loved ones should you fall ill and no longer be able to make these key judgements. It’s not always the case that your loved ones will be granted access to things like your bank account if you fall ill.

Having lasting power of attorney can help you mitigate against the risks to your money that can arise with things like dementia

You can contact the Office of the Public Guardian for the forms to apply for lasting power of attorney,  and these can be filled out by yourself or through a solicitor.