Lasting Power of Attorney registration drops 30 per cent during pandemic

Following the disruption to process for applying a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), as a result of the pandemic, there has been a significant drop in the number registered over the past year.

A Freedom of Information Request submitted by financial advice and wealth management firm Quilter to the Ministry of Justice, revealed there was a 30 per cent drop in the number of LPAs registered between April-20 and Feb-21, compared to the same period the previous year.

While numbers have improved, they have still not recovered to their pre-pandemic levels. With February this year 25 per cent below February 2020.

Rachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Quilter says: “At the beginning of the pandemic everyone rushed to figure out how they could continue to offer services that previously required physical contact. Things such as getting a wet signature became problematic. In the instance of applications for Lasting Power of Attorney it took the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) about a month to produce guidance on how to apply in the Covid-19 environment.

“On top of this, the OPG expressed they were seeing large levels of enquiries and it was taking longer than usual to process applications.  It is no wonder we saw the year-on-year level of registrations drop by 70.5 per cent for the month of April alone.

“While numbers still haven’t returned to their previous levels, they are getting closer and it is encouraging to see that people are getting the much-appreciated peace of mind that having an LPA entails.

“For those who were put off by the difficulty of registering an LPA at the beginning of lockdown, or haven’t had the chance to have what can be a difficult conversation, you must put the task back at the top of the to-do list. A LPA can only be registered while you have mental capacity – once you’ve lost capacity it is too late.”