Standard Life has hit out at new power of attorney rules on the first anniversary of their introduction.
Julie Hutchinson, estate planning specialist at Standard Life, says the changes were too complicated and can "in no way be presented as successful”.
In October last year, the enduring power of attorney (EPA) was replaced by what has been called a lasting power of attorney (LPA).
There are two types: a welfare LPA, allowing the attorney to make healthcare and welfare decisions on someone’s behalf, and a property and affairs LPA, which gives the attorney the authority to deal with property and finance.
Hutchison says although the change was intended to provide greater safeguards against abuse, the LPA is much more expensive and difficult to obtain.
"Clients have complained about increased costs and are unwilling to pay for them," she says.
"There are higher registration costs plus higher legal fees, as the document is a longer and more complicated one.”
She considers the increased cost to be a huge disincentive and predicts there will be a review of procedures due to high levels of complaints.
“Clients are not happy with the cost and a possible review indicates the Government knows the rule change hasn’t worked," she adds. "It has achieved the opposite to what it intended.”
Previously, people were able to buy a form from solicitors or online, whereas the LPA incurs legal fees and must be registered with the Public Guardian, as well as taking a considerable amount of time, Hutchison says.
“It’s frustrating for advisers as it can be so slow. In some cases people have died before it’s sorted out.”
In contrast to England and Wales’ convoluted new document, Scotland simplified its law in 2001 and, since then, 100,000 new powers of attorney have been created.
“More people are doing it because of the simple application form and legal fees are not high," she says. "So there is a model elsewhere.
“While 25% of people in the UK have an attorney, obviously 75% do not. It’s the most important document after the will."
If you would like to comment on this story, contact:
Tel: 020 7484 9794
HL and Liberty SIPP slowest
Lifetime and annual allowances
'IFAs bore the brunt'
'Recovery or boom'