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Lasting Powers of Attorney and Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

We all know how valuable our mental competency and capacity is to enable us to make reasonable informed decisions about our life. We underestimate the risks of this capacity being taken away from us and Covid-19 is one such example of such a risk. 

By way of background, there are 2 types of LPA’s – one to give power of attorney for decisions relating to your property and financial affairs and the other for decisions relating to your health and welfare.

Under either document, the donor is able to confer on the attorney authority to make such decisions in circumstances where the donor no longer has capacity. A person can choose to create one or both types of power and appoint the same person or different people to act as attorney under each power. 

Some facts about an LPA – 
  • The appointed attorney must be over 18
  • You can have more than one attorney who can act jointly or severally on certain decisions
  • You can appoint a substitute attorney to replace one if necessary
  • An LPA becomes effective on registration with the Office of the Public Guardian

See our blog here on further details on LPA’s.

During this pandemic, there is an ever increasing desire for individuals to grant powers to their loved ones to make decisions concerning their finances or health. There is a strict procedure to follow and time limits to adhere to on submission of the application and the government have not relaxed any of the rules but have advised on how best to meet the requirements taking into account the social distancing rules.

The rules are that an LPA must be signed by the donor (or their representative), witnessed face to face observing the 2 metre rule through a closed window or such like, signed by a certificate provider – like your solicitor and then signed by the attorneys. The hard copy with all original signatures should be filed by post (not email) with the OPG after which it can take up to 8 weeks to complete. Whilst you are waiting, there are other things that you can do to ensure that your wishes are taken into account. 

  • Living wills and advance decisions to refuse treatment

Living wills (also known as advance directives) are intended to allow individuals to specify the extent and nature of the medical treatment they would or would not find acceptable should they lose capacity in the future. A mentally capable adult has the right to refuse a particular treatment and this extends to a refusal made in advance. 

  • A third party mandate or instruction to your bank

You should contact your bank and ask them what they will or won’t accept but generally, a written instruction or authority to your bank may enable them to allow your nominated person to manage your bank account for example to pay bills on your instruction. 

  • A letter or statement of wishes

Whilst not binding, it is a good idea to set these out in writing so that your family and friends can bear these in mind when dealing with your matters. 

  • A general power of attorney

No registration is needed but the attorney can act under it on the specified decisions whilst you have mental capacity i.e doing things on your behalf.

A lasting Power of Attorney is the surest way to ensure that should you lose your mental capacity, your affairs will be taken care of. 8 weeks may seem a long time but in the absence of having one, the only way your next of kin could make any decisions concerning your affairs would be to apply for a ‘Deputyship Order’ – a process that is more costly, involves an application to the court and can take up to 1 year to complete. Make the right choice. 

If you would like to discuss getting Lasting Power of Attorney drafted, please contact us on 0207 790 7311 or email contact@freemanharris.co.uk.

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