The number of lasting power of attorney (LPA) registrations fell by 26.5 per cent during 2020-21 as changes to businesses resulted in backlogs and made the process more difficult.
A Freedom of Information request, submitted by Canada Life, found there has been a significant reduction in the number of LPAs registered in the 2020/21 tax year compared with the previous year.
In total, 636,628 registrations were completed, split between 282,883 health and welfare and 353,745 property and finance LPAs.
This compared with 866,272 registrations in the previous tax year (2019/20) split between 382,130 health and welfare and 484,142 property and financial, which to date is the peak year for registrations.
According to Andrew Tully, technical director at Canada Life, this fall could be due to the process becoming more difficult during the Covid pandemic when many firms had to adapt the way they do business.
Tully said: “It’s a little surprising to see the number of registrations fall during the pandemic, especially given the huge increase in the number of LPAs registered during the previous five years. This is partly due to the processing changes that needed to be made at the start of the pandemic and the resulting backlog caused."
Registrations of LPAs have risen over the last couple of years after an online application process was introduced in 2015.
This led to an increase of 84 per cent in the number of LPAs registered over a five year period.
Tully said: “LPAs are incredibly powerful legal documents and very easy to put in place while you have the mental capacity to do so. At very little cost they can provide peace of mind, and in the event you find yourself mentally incapacitated, you know your affairs and needs would be looked after by the person you nominate.
“We would urge anyone who put off doing this during the lockdowns to dust off the paperwork and finalise it.”
Back in July, the government said it would change the process of creating a lasting power of attorney to a predominantly digital service as a way of improving it and making it simpler to use.
It launched a 12-week consultation looking at the entire process of creating and registering an LPA, with a view to boosting the Office of the Public Guardian’s (OPG) powers to prevent fraud and abuse while introducing a mainly digital service.
The government said the proposed changes would fundamentally alter and update a process that has been in place for decades.
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