Rise in number of young people seeking to manage affairs of older relatives

Rise in number of young people seeking to manage affairs of older relatives

29th August 2023

Our Private Client team are seeing an increase in the number of younger people applying for Deputyship Orders to oversee the interests of a loved one who has lost the capacity to manage their own affairs.

People who leave formalising important documents called Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA), concerning their health and finances and then lose capacity through unforeseen events such as heart attacks, strokes or accidents are behind the increase, says Katie Nightingale, Head of Private Client Business Development.

By leaving it too late results in unnecessary higher legal fees and a far lengthier wait to enable someone’s affairs to be sorted out should they lose capacity.

A LPA is a legal document allowing an individual to hand over the running of their affairs to a family member or friend they trust, allowing that person to make decisions on matters such as their health and wellbeing, or finance and property, either when they lose the capacity to make their own decisions on such matters or if they become physically unable to deal with their own affairs.

Lasting Powers of Attorney, can only be made when a person has capacity to make their own decisions. Once made, they are registered through the Office of the Public Guardian, while Deputyship Orders are applied for by a third party on behalf of a person no longer able to manage their affairs, and this type of order has to go through the Court of Protection. The latter carries ongoing costs in the form of insurance bonds and supervision fees and is a far more costly process.

While Lasting Powers of Attorney arranged in advance of someone losing their capacity usually take around four months to be registered, an application for a Deputyship Order takes a minimum of nine months currently and can cost between £3,000 and £5,000.

Katie said: “Some of the most recent deputyship applications we have received have been on behalf of people aged only in their 50s and 60s who have been struck down by heart attacks and strokes and have lost their capacity.

Of course, there are probably a lot of people who haven’t considered Lasting Powers of Attorney at what these days is still a relatively young age but the increase in deputyships we are seeing demonstrates the importance of a person having their own affairs in order.

A 16-year study in Oxfordshire earlier this year, involving 94,000 individuals, demonstrated a growing problem of young adult stroke – particularly among those earning high incomes.

Between 2002 – 2010 and 2010 – 2018 the number of strokes among people aged 55 and under rose by 67 per cent.

Another report published earlier this year revealed some 170,000 young people aged 16 to 24 in England – equating to five in 100 young men and one in 100 young women – unknowingly had risky high blood pressure.

Katie said: “There is a common misconception that you should start thinking about Lasting Powers of Attorney at about the time when you start thinking about putting your affairs in order in later life or going into a care home, but due to the stresses of the 21st Century and the lifestyles we lead this really isn’t the case.

Wills exist to protect our wishes after we have died. If you are alive but incapacitated due to a life-changing accident, illness or simply old age, Lasting Powers of Attorney exist to protect your wishes concerning your health and financial interests, and alleviate problems such as bank accounts being frozen, uncertainty over what should happen to your property or shares, or where you should live if you are unable to remain in your own home.”

For further advice on LPA’s or any other Private Client matter, please contact our friendly team who will be happy to assist.