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LPA registrations decline during coronavirus pandemic, figures reveal

The number of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) registrations fell sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, a major study has revealed.

The figures, published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), suggest that later life planning has taken a back seat, despite the risk of life changing accidents and illness remaining the same.

Caroline Dobson, an Associate Director with Mander Hadley, who specialises in later life planning, said: “An LPA is a legal document that allows someone – usually a family member or close friend – to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if you’re no longer able to do so.

“For example, someone diagnosed with dementia can ask their Attorney to pay their bills for them or decide where they should live and what medical care they will receive.

“Importantly, LPAs should be established and agreed upon ahead of time, as gaining similar rights after an unforeseen accident or illness may require permission from the courts, which could take several months.

“Despite this, the latest research shows that the number of registered annual LPAs has fallen “significantly” during the pandemic – placing families at risk in the event of unforeseen events.”

According to the MoJ, there was a 30 per cent drop in LPAs registered between April 2020 and February 2021, compared to the previous 12 months.

Caroline added: “It is important to remember that an LPA can only be registered while you have mental capacity – once you’ve lost capacity it’s too late.”

“For those who have not got around to putting in place an LPA or haven’t had the chance to have a conversation about one with a relative, now is the time to put the task back at the top of your to-do list.”

For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with our expert later life planning team.

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