The Ministry of Justice has released the Family Court statistics for January to March 2021, revealing that there were 195,734 LPAs received, down 18% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2020.
LPA applications had been steadily increasing, peaking in 2020 – largely brought about by increased publicity and the new online forms introduced in July 2015, making it simpler and faster to apply. As the pandemic took hold LPA applications declined and the first quarter of 2021 saw a significant drop.
Private Client legal adviser at Thomas Mansfield, Emma Howlett, said:
‘The latest UK-wide statistics are interesting. At Thomas Mansfield we have in fact seen a surge of interest in LPAs over the the last 18 months. As much as the pandemic has brought normal life to a halt, it has also sharpened focus on what matters. The future is uncertain and an LPA is a great provision to have made, in the event that you somehow lose the ability to take full care of your property and finances and/or your health and welfare. While the UK-wide statistics show a drop in LPA applications we expect this to increase as the UK exits lockdown and normal life resumes.’
The Family Court statistics also pointed to an increase in the proportion of digital applications and grants issued for probate. Since the Court introduced the online system, simple applications where the person died testate and there are no issues with the Will, have been dealt with efficiently and more quickly than paper applications.
However, the Family Court statistics for the first quarter of 2021 show that where a case has been ‘stopped’ for any reason (in the case of a dispute, issues with a Will or proposed Will, or if an error is identified and a request for further information made), probate grants took 13 weeks on average to be issued, compared to 5 weeks for those that were not stopped.
The full report is available at Family Court Statistics Quarterly: January to March 2021.