Coronavirus – Should I be making a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you are at home, ill or self-isolating due to Coronavirus, you may be wondering ‘how can I manage my financial affairs?’ Find out here how to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney safely during lockdown.
It is without a doubt, that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our day-to-day lives, with most of us spending more time at home than ever before and without seeing loved ones. This change in our circumstances has raised questions about how our affairs can be managed, and how decisions can be made should we be unable to make these decisions ourselves. This is where having a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place can be extremely beneficial. So, what is Lasting Power of Attorney and how do you set it up?
How does a Lasting Power of Attorney protect me and help loved ones too?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that specifies who will manage your affairs should you become unable to do so yourself. In order to arrange this you must first consider who to appoint as your attorneys. Attorneys must be at least eighteen and be people you trust to carry out your wishes.
You can appoint attorneys to act for two different forms of LPA – Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare.
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Finances can help if you are ill, self-isolating or are otherwise restricted physically to undertake your usual financial activities. This can include paying your bills, collecting benefits such as your pension payments and, if needed, help you to sell your home. You can stipulate in the LPA that your Attorneys can also act for you when you are still capable of making decisions as well as when you no longer have capacity.
A Health and Welfare Attorney can help you to make decisions on things such as your health care, care home arrangements and life-sustaining treatment.
You can have one or both types of LPA, and you can choose the extent of the Attorney’s powers. You can also select different Attorneys for each type of LPA if you wish. You also have the option to appoint Replacement Attorneys as a backup should your any of your Attorneys be unable to act.
If there was a loss of mental capacity without an LPA in place, there would have to be a Deputyship application sent to the Court of Protection – and the costs of doing so are far greater. Please see more detail here.
So, how do I set up an LPA?
Firstly, it is recommended that you speak to an expert who specialises in this field. Meetings with our Lasting Power of Attorney team are currently being held remotely on the telephone or via Zoom.
The LPA application is drafted and sent to you to review via post or email. Amendments are then made and the final copy is then presented to you to be signed by all parties. You cannot use digital signatures – the document must be signed by hand with a black pen. The document is then lodged with the Office of Public Guardian – a process which usually takes around 6 weeks, including a four-week waiting period required by law. This time is intended to allow anyone you have notified about your LPA to object if they want. Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, there may be a delay in the application being processed.
We also have a simple step-by-step guide on how to create a Lasting Power of Attorney, to help you.
What if I need short-term options for health, welfare and financial decisions?
There are things that you can do in the meantime, while you have mental capacity. Speak to our LPA specialists who can advise you on this.
Coronavirus has shown us that our future can be even more unpredictable, but by planning ahead, there are things you can do to protect you and your family.
If this crisis has prompted you to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney, get in touch with our expert team of Lasting Power of Attorney specialists. Together, we can discuss this and find the best solution for you.
You can contact our team either by calling 01525 378177, or via online.