According to the Times Newspaper, officials at the Public Guardians Office for England and Wales expect the biggest growth in population over the next 2 decades will be amongst those older than 65.
The Chief Executive, Allen Eccles, has seen an explosion in the numbers of people applying for Lasting Powers of Attorney following the Mental Capacity Act of 2005.
Last year alone 800,000 LPAs were registered, and the rate of growth is about 7% translating to between 3000 and 4000 registrations a day.
The cost of registering a Lasting Power of Attorney has actually reduced from £120.00 to £82.00. Whilst Allen Eccles is a proponent of the benefits of Lasting Powers of Attorney he does not call upon the Government to Legislate in order to make them mandatory. He is adamant that the Ministry of Justice could do more to widen access to the orders. He notes that the process is “very paper dependent”. He feels that the ideal would be for these matters to be dealt with from beginning to end by digital process. This would allow the documents to be witnessed and signed digitally as opposed to the documents having to be passed from Donor to Attorney by physical process for signature.
He acknowledges that there are certain myths surrounding Lasting Powers of Attorney and most prevalent of which is the view that a person’s next of kin will be able to take decisions for them on an informal basis if they became mentally incapacitated. He notes that there are myths surrounding joint bank accounts. The view appears to be that if anything happened to one person the other could just keep operating the account. He points out that people do not realise that, depending on the bank, if one of the parties loses capacity, the entire bank account can be frozen.
One of the important factors in favour of making a Lasting Power of Attorney is that the Office of the Public Guardian oversees the process and can deal with any referrals complaining of abuse of the process. The Office refers about 250 cases annually to The Court of Protection for investigation. Beefed up efforts to crack down on abuse will be the task of his successor who has not yet been named. Mr Eccles is due to retire from his post shortly.
Clearly the benefits of making a Lasting Power of Attorney continue to attract more and more people on an annual basis. We at DWS can offer this service at a fixed price and if you would like more information on the benefits of such service then you can contact us for more information via the following channels:
Tel: 0116 2999 199