27 April 2020

Coronavirus – Should I put Lasting Powers of Attorney in Place?

Solicitors have seen a large increase in the number of new will enquiries as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. You can read our guide to signing wills during this unprecedented time here; https://www.howell-jones.com/blog/sign-my-will-during-coronavirus-lockdown.

With millions of people currently self-isolating and unable to leave their homes, another important legal document to consider putting in place is a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). Jon Creswick, solicitor in the Wills and Probate Team, explains what LPAs are and why they are so important.

What is an LPA?

An LPA is a legal document which enables a person (known as the donor) to appoint people they trust (known as attorneys) to make decisions on their behalf.

There are two different types of LPA (a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA). For both types of LPA, any decisions made by the attorneys must be in the best interests of the donor.

Property and Financial Affairs

This LPA enables the attorneys to make decisions in connection with property, bank accounts, savings and investments.

During the coronavirus outbreak this LPA is particularly useful as it enables attorneys to be able to access the donor’s bank account to do their shopping and pay their bills, should the donor be self-isolating.

Whilst the donor has capacity, this LPA can only be used with the consent of the donor. If the donor loses capacity, then the attorneys would still be able to continue to act.

Health and Welfare

This LPA enables the attorneys to make decisions regarding medical treatment, life sustaining treatment and where you live. This LPA can only be used if the donor is mentally incapacitated and unable to make the decision or communicate their wishes for themselves.

Registration of an LPA

It is important to note that an LPA cannot be used by the attorneys until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. The registration of an LPA usually takes approximately eight weeks.

As a result of the time it takes to register LPAs, it is important to begin the process of putting in place LPAs as soon as possible so that they are ready to be used when needed. If you were to lose capacity without registered LPAs in place, your loved ones would not have the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.

If you are thinking of putting LPAs in place or if you have any questions, please contact a member of our Wills and Probate Team for further guidance.

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