Tuesday, April 23, 2019
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows a person to appoint another individual to make legal and health-related decisions on their behalf, in cases of lost mental capacity. The number of new LPAs in the United Kingdom have tripled over the last five years, from 273,600 in 2013 to 800,400 in 2018, according to a law firm by the name of Wilsons.
People may be living longer, but the chance that their quality of life may deteriorate also increases, raising the numbers likely to lose their decision-making capacity during their lifetime. The Office for National Statistics projects that 14.3 million people will be aged 65 and over in the United Kingdom in 2026, well above the 11.3 million that were in that age bracket in 2016.
Alison Morris, a partner at Wilsons, says that people should be thinking about making an LPA early on. "LPAs act as an insurance policy because it is not just the elderly who lose decision-making capacity. It can happen to anyone at any age.” But some lawyers are concerned that they can put people at risk of exploitation by those that they trusted the most. Court actions against people with LPAs for vulnerable people rose by 71% last year, according to data released in December by Nockolds, a law firm. These numbers show that the Office of the Public Guardian made 465 applications to the Court of Protection to censure or remove “deputies” in 2017-18, up from 272 in the previous year.
See Lucy Warwick-Ching, Record Rise in Decision-Making Powers Given to Friends and Family, Financial Times, April 19, 2019.
Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.