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Is your Lasting Power of Attorney up to date and accurate?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can provide considerable peace of mind to you and your family when it comes to ensuring that your financial and health affairs are managed effectively should you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself.

Considering the importance of these documents, it is worrying to learn that nearly 130,000 LPA applications were rejected over the last five years due to mistakes.

New data acquired by wealth managers, Quilter, via a Freedom of Information (FOI) show that in the last year alone 29,000 applications were rejected.

In 2022, there were a total of 777,741 registered applications for LPAs. This is an eight per cent decrease compared to the pre-pandemic period in 2019 when 842,778 applications were registered, according to the Office for Public Guardian (OPG) which provided the FOI data.

It’s worth noting that there has been an improvement since 2020 and 2021, when the number of registered LPAs was 22 per cent and 16 per cent lower, respectively.

Looking further into the FOI data provided by the OPG, the study found that, on average, it took 91.5 working days to register and process an LPA application during the 2022-23 period.

However, the shortest processing time was 20 days, which was reserved for highly urgent cases. Meanwhile, the longest processing time recorded was 983 days!

Why are LPAs commonly rejected?

The OPG can reject an LPA on several different grounds, but here are the most common reasons:

  • Information: Failing to include the right information, such as the date when the donor, attorneys, or certificate provider signed the LPAs can lead to a rejected application. You should ensure all of the correct information is included before submission of an LPA.
  • Signing order: It is crucial to follow the correct signing order when completing LPAs. The donor should sign the LPAs first, followed by the certificate provider, and then the attorneys. Finally, the person registering the LPA must sign again. LPAs signed in the wrong order are not permissible.
  • Witnesses: Parties frequently make the mistake of using witnesses who are not permitted by law, such as an attorney witnessing a donor’s signature, which creates an inherent conflict of interest.
  • Unactionable requests: LPAs may become unworkable if the donor appoints attorneys to make decisions in one way but includes instructions which conflict with the nature of that appointment.

Do you require help drafting or updating an LPA? Please contact our experienced team of experts today.

Emma Sommerville

Senior Associate - Wills, Probate & Older Client Services

I specialise in Wills, probate and estate administration, trust preparation and administration, and powers of attorney.