Figures released by the Ministry of Justice have revealed that the trend of increasing take-up of lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) continued over the course of 2022.
Annually, there were 771,822 LPAs registered in 2022, up 9% compared to the previous year. There were 5,919 EPAs in 2022, down 13% on 2021. In total, there were 777,741 Powers of Attorney in 2022, up 9% from the year before.
This comes despite a 6% drop in the number of LPAs registered in the final quarter of 2022 – 177,182 in total – when compared with the same period last year.
This data comes against the backdrop of the Powers of Attorney Bill currently going through Parliament.
Brought by Conservative MP Stephen Metcalfe, the Bill is aiming to modernise the lasting power of attorney (LPA) process by allowing for applications to be made digitally and/or on paper, with the electronic record used as evidence of the LPA’s registration.
Those supporting the Private Members’ Bill have cause for optimism, as explained by Irwin Mitchell’s Ian Bond:
“Rarely for a Private Members’ Bill, the government has indicated its support for the Bill as it matches broadly with the objectives that the Office of the Public Guardian and Ministry of Justice identified in their recent project on modernising LPAs.”
Bond went on to further explain the Bill’s proposals:
“The Bill seeks to bolster safeguards and explicitly permit a third-party to object to the registration of a LPA, which is an important protection.
The Bill also allows Chartered Legal Executives to certify copy powers of attorney alongside solicitors thereby correcting an historic omission.”
Bond welcomed the proposals set out in the Bill, though recognised that “not everyone is able or willing to use modern technology,” adding that “this should be catered for, but not be the reason to hold back.”
Bond did, however, concede his disappointment that the Bill “did not include the Law Society’s recommendation that certification should expressly include consideration of the donor’s capacity”.