The number of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) arrangements in England and Wales continues to rise, with 691,746 applications to register received in 2020/21 according to the Office of the Public Guardian. While this represents a substantial decrease from the 917,553 applications received in 2019/20, it is worth remembering that only 43,113 LPAs were registered in the year 2008/09. Furthermore, in August 2014 the total number of registered LPAs was just over one million, while there are now over 5.3 million registered in England and Wales.
The dramatic rise in LPA registrations over the last decade is in large part due to the increasing number of people affected by dementia and related conditions (including Alzheimer’s disease), which account for roughly 70,000 deaths in the UK every year – the country’s leading cause of death. The mortality rate has more than doubled since 2010, with reasons including the ageing population, more effective treatment of other conditions such as heart disease and the growing dementia diagnosis rate. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are currently around 900,000 people living with dementia, a figure which is projected to rise to almost 1.6 million by 2040.
When a person loses their mental capacity after developing a dementia condition such as Alzheimer’s disease, another person, normally a family member, will need to make decisions on their behalf. For this reason, many people choose to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney following a dementia diagnosis to ensure that their best interests are safeguarded as the condition progresses. Once mental capacity is lost, it can be a costly and complicated process for a third party to assume responsibility for a person’s finance and property and/or health and welfare affairs. A Lasting Power of Attorney arrangement therefore represents a sensible, practical and cost-effective means of planning ahead.
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