Time is of the essence when it comes to putting a lasting power of attorney in place

Kristel Clarke, Watsons Solicitors
May 19, 2023

A Cheshire-based wills and probate solicitor is stressing the importance of having a lasting power of attorney (LPA) in place, with waiting times on the rise.

Kristel Clarke, a member of the private client department at Watsons Solicitors, is urging people to assess their current documentation to safeguard loved ones.

An LPA is a legal agreement designed to protect people who can grant decision-making powers regarding finances and property to another person.

Families are being forced to wait up to 20 weeks for their LPA to be registered – more than double the normal wait time of around eight – with delays leaving thousands without the required authorised security they need if a relative falls ill or becomes incapacitated.

With dementia more prevalent than ever and an increased number of people over the age of 65, having plans in place has never been more important.

Kristel, an accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly, a national organisation of more than 1,700 lawyers in the UK who support older and vulnerable people, said: “The delays, which have come as a direct result of the pandemic slowing down the approval system, are concerning.

“Given the waiting period, it would be beneficial for people to start thinking about having an LPA in place ready for when it is needed.”

A bill to modernise the application process to allow claimants to register their details online, is currently passing through parliament.

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is currently receiving around 4,000 applications a day – around 80,000 sheets of paper – all of which are scanned by hand and add to the backlog.

Families, however, can contact the OPG if an urgent claim needs to be made or to apply for deputyship at the Court of Protection, which gives people some of the same powers as an LPA.

Kristel added: “Whilst the OPG is there in the most critical of cases, it could be a while before the bill to allow people to register online is passed.

“To avoid any extra stress at what is likely to be a difficult time, it is important to get the wheels in motion regarding an LPA as soon as possible.”

To speak to someone at Watsons Solicitors about lasting power of attorney, please contact enquiries@watsonssolicitors.com or call 01925 571212.

Watsons Solicitors, which has been established for more than 60 years, specialises in family lawemployment law, wills and probate, and conveyancing.

The team of experienced solicitors holds various accreditations and memberships of professional bodies relevant to their expertise, while the firm’s partners oversee all areas of work.

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