Why are more men registering LPAs than women?

I was rummaging about in the Family Court Statistics looking for statistics on the Court of Protection (no I don’t know why they’re categorised under ‘Family Court’ either), when I noticed that there are now statistics on the age and gender breakdown of persons with registered Lasting Powers of Attorney.  I’ve made these into a couple of graphs.

The first graph shows that LPAs are still mostly made by older people – typically between the ages of 70 and 90.

LPA age breakdown 2014

So they appear to be instruments that people use to prepare for age related cognitive impairments such as dementia, rather than other kinds of impairment (such as a brain injury) that might occur at any point in a person’s lifetime.

The chart on gender had me really puzzled, however.  It seems that the majority of registered LPAs are made by men, not women:

LPA gender breakdown 2014

I found this surprising, as we know that statistically there are more women living in the UK than men, and that becomes even more pronounced in older age.  See, for example, this chart from the Office of National Statistics:

I’m not really sure why men are more likely to make LPAs than women, and I wondered if anyone else had any ideas?

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10 thoughts on “Why are more men registering LPAs than women?

  1. Dear Lucy
    in Australia you need to have an Enduring Power of Attorney document witnessed by a particular class of people – a lawyer, court registrar, trustee company employee or licensed conveyancer. This will come at a cost. Often people will complete LPA documents as part of their Estate Planning. So I am speculating here:
    Men more likely to see a lawyer to “put their affairs in order”, get a will, make LPA etc.
    The higher the income, the more likely you will make plans such as a will, LPA as part of your estate planning. Men have higher incomes than women and therefore more likely to make LPA.
    There is some evidence to support this though I haven’t done any extensive research on the gender breakdown. See eg. http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/econ/will.pdf
    kind regards

      • I’m sure there is something in wealth differences but I suspect it’s not a simple relationship. Will take-up certainly varies by wealth as those who have more wealth or complex financial arrangements have more reason to have one. Pension take-up varies by sex and not just on amounts invested if done on % of salary – but that effect may be flattened by auto-enrolement.

        The actual cost of LPAs is must surely have an impact in itself. At £110 each, a couple needs £440 up front for something that may or may not be needed a long time in the future. The old EPA had no upfront cost as registration only happened when activated but obviously those only covered the property and affairs side.

        At an annecdoal level, I know lots of well informed professionals (both male and female) who say they know they should have LPAs and aren’t short of funds but find the psychological and motivational barriers greater than the intellectual or financial ones.

      • I certainly fall into the category of ‘someone who should have one and should know better’. The cost really is a disincentive. I keep meaning to check, though, whether you need to pay to register each type under the new LPA application scheme. I can’t really see why you can’t just have one, and select what areas you want it to cover.

  2. Hi Lucy,

    I don’t have any specific sources on this but my thoughts were very much along the lines as indicated by Lise from the Australian data. It would be interesting (a topic for a postgraduate who needs a project?) to compare the figures for who initiates LPAs and wills – perhaps distinguishing between welfare and property LPAs.

    In many cases, wills are written as mirror wills with both of a couple (numerically mostly male female) writing reciprocal terms simultaneously. It may be difficult to determine retrospectively in aggregate which sex has done the leg work. I surmise (from no evidence base beyond anecdote) that a significant proportion of male/female LPAs may be written back to back. Do gay couples behave in the same way as lesbian couples – who knows?

    The age profile is really no surprise as the probability of dementia increases dramatically with age while individual risk of acquired brain injury is low and young people are notoriously likely to misperceive themselves as indestructible and disinterested even in things like pensions that they have a very high probability of needing.

    No easy answers here but an interesting question for someone with the time to pursue it.

    Terry

  3. Hi Lucy,

    That really is an anecdote. You must be one of the most informed persons in the UK on capacity issues and yet……

    I’ll put it down to your youth rather than your gender!

    The cost was cut from £130 to £110 as a gesture to affordability. If you wish to buck the gender stereotypes and assist a less informed male friend to take care of your joint property and affairs as well as your health and welfare, it will cost you £440 of your hard earned!

    Statistically you probably won’t acquire a head injury this week – but you might.

    Terry

      • Very wise.

        The LPAs will cost you about £1,000 if you ask a a solicitor to do them for you but a well informed person with full capacity (such as yourself) should be able to do you own and just pay the reg fees.

        Docs are on the OPG website.

        Good luck.

        Terry

  4. Men generally don’t live as long, and because men have a protective urge to materially look after their partners the LPA is to ensure that they are OK after they have gone

    • I follow the logic of that in so far as it applies to will writing. Extrapolation to LPAs is less obvious. If you die before you lose capacity, a LPA will not need to be activated. Arguably women have more need but shouldn’t nominate their more mortal husbands as attorney – or at least as the only one.

      There is very good reason to differentiate between executors and attorneys. One of a couple generally outlives the other (barring tragic RTA) but the joint probability of one of 2 partners either predeceasing or pre losing capacity is actually quite high.

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