30 January 2019
Huge rise in challenges to decisions made by those with lasting powers of attorney
According to the Office of the Public Guardian, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of applications (759,956) for a family member or friend to be granted a lasting power of attorney (LPA) in the year to April.
Ten years ago, only 52,472 applications were made - less than 14 times the number being received now. A lasting power of attorney allows someone to make financial or welfare decisions on your behalf, when you are no longer able to do so.
Meanwhile, the number of people applying to the Court of Protection to challenge decisions made by those with lasting powers of attorney, on behalf of their vulnerable friend or family member, has also increased from 16,407 in 2008 to 38,945 in 2017.
These challenges are perhaps happening more frequently since the majority of applications (60%) have been made by people over 60 years old, giving grounds for people to challenge the applicant’s capacity, when a lasting power of attorney application was made.
To help avoid any misuse of position, Lucy Wood, partner and practice group leader of wills, trusts and probate team, has highlighted where a lawyer can really help when someone is thinking about allowing a friend or family member to have lasting powers of attorney:
- Although LPAs can be created without one, a lawyer can fully explain the pros and cons and what an LPA means for the donor.
- A lawyer can make sure that the donor has capacity and that there is no undue influence in appointing their attorneys.
- Lawyers are a good sounding board when the client is deciding on who is appointed and how they can act.
- Lawyers can even add an extra safeguard by storing the LPA until needed as it is a live document once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
- Lawyers can be appointed as attorneys too, in more complex situations.