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Many people have misunderstandings about lasting power of attorney, Which? finds

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any people are confused about how lasting power of attorney works, according to Which?

Lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document where one person gives another the power to make financial decisions on their behalf if they ever lose mental capacity.

But Which? said it is concerned to find many people have a poor understanding of how it works and why it is needed.

An LPA can only be registered while someone still has mental capacity – after that it is too late. But Which? found concerning evidence that many people do not know this.

It’s important to bust key myths about LPAs

It surveyed 2,000 people across the UK and found that nearly nine in 10 (85%) said they know what LPA is.

But one in six (16%) mistakenly think that someone loses access to their financial accounts once the legal document is registered.

Among those surveyed who do not have an LPA, seven in 10 (70%) said they were healthy so did not need one. Meanwhile, three quarters (77%) of people incorrectly thought an LPA could be set up at any time in life, suggesting they are at risk of putting it off until it is too late.

Which? also said its research has found over the years that attorneys encounter problems when registering with banks and other financial firms.

It said common issues reported for more than 8,000 of its members with a registered LPA were a lack of knowledge among staff (60%), complexities in the process (38%) and delays (28%).

Which? said it had heard from people who were asked to register in-branch during the Covid-19 pandemic, even at banks where online registration was an option.

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