There are currently around 2.4 million Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs) registered in England and Wales. This figure is set to rise with an increasingly aged population and attendant increased risk of more and more people losing the mental ability to deal with their financial affairs. It’s estimated that 850,000 people in the UK already suffer from dementia.
Today’s Times (13 October) carries the headline “Duke of Westminster’s £8bn fortune escapes death duties”. It’s reported that, on the face of the probate just granted in respect of the late Duke’s estate, personal wealth of £616 million was, for the most part, left on life interest trusts for his widow, Natalia.
The Financial Conduct Authority has published a paper suggesting that more should be done to enable individuals (“donors”) to make, register and store Lasting Powers of Attorney online. These proposals may save time, paper and energy, but there is a real risk that safeguards designed to protect individuals will be compromised.