OPG Aiming To Reduce Average Age Of LPA Users

Despite the fact that the uptake in Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPA) has grown exponentially in recent years, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is looking to educate more people into the importance of safeguarding their personal and financial circumstances if they lose capacity.

Since 2013, the use of LPAs has tripled. The 800,400 registered LPAs in 2019 has dwarfed the modest 273,583 recorded in 2013. Even in the past three years, the use of LPAs has risen by a third since 2016.

Whilst the UK seems to have recognised the importance of protecting an estate and the wishes of the donor if they lose capacity, the OPG is looking to diversify the audience considering using an LPA.

In particular, the OPG is keen to introduce planning for capacity to a distinctly younger audience. By aiming to target people over the age of 18, the OPG hope that they will reduce the average age of those considering the people they could trust to make decisions on their behalf if the worse happens.

Through the ‘Your Voice, Your Decision’ campaign, the government is hoping to reach a younger audience as well as reaching a more ethnically diverse audience.

As the younger generation consider an appropriate candidate to manage their affairs if they lose capacity, the issue of longevity and the need to constantly amend the intended attorney has been raised as a potential barrier that may hinder the use in younger members of society.

The OPG’s Safeguarding Strategy 2019 to 2025, states:

“We believe that all adults over the age of 18 should make an LPA so that someone they trust can make decisions for them in case they lose mental capacity.

“We want to lower the average age of our users and help more people from different backgrounds make LPAs.”

Peter King, partner at Nockolds, said:

“While action by the OPG may be increasing, misconduct is notoriously difficult to detect, so these numbers likely represent the tip of the iceberg.

“Many LPAs are now created without any professional advice. Unfortunately, the system is open to abuse, and with most banking now conducted online, there is little to no oversight of the transactions that take place.

Martin Parrin
May 3, 2019