These are anxious times for all, with worries about our finances and our health. We are also concerned about our loved ones, some of whom may be vulnerable and require our support. Our Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors can help you plan for challenges you may be facing now or in the future.
It is important to consider who will make and deal with important decisions on your behalf if you lose the ability to do so yourself. This could include managing your finances and making decisions about your health, care or welfare. You can put these safeguards in place by making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
An LPA is a legal document that lets you select one or more people (called attorneys) to help you make decisions regarding your property and financial affairs or health and welfare. This means that you have more control over what happens to you if you cannot make decisions for yourself, such as following an accident or illness.
If you have not made an LPA and lose the mental capacity to manage your affairs, it may be necessary for the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to make decisions in your best interests. This involves greater formality and expense.
There are two types of lasting power of attorney: one to deal with your property and financial affairs and another to cover decisions regarding your health & welfare. We can discuss with you over the telephone, or via Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp your wishes regarding appointing attorneys and to recommend the best type of power of attorney for your requirements.
Once appointed, your attorneys can assist you with the management of your finances. This may be particularly helpful for those who find themselves not being able to leave the house due to the risk of infection. By contrast, your health and welfare attorneys can only make decisions on your behalf if you do not have the necessary mental capacity to make those decisions yourself. Any decision your attorneys make must be in your best interests.
Once signed, an LPA should be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian so that it is ready for use when required. Although the Office of the Public Guardian will be making efforts to adhere to the usual timescale for registration (approximately 8 weeks) during the COVID-19 crisis, it is possible that there will be further delays due to staff shortages.
Our private client solicitors therefore recommend making an ordinary power of attorney, which can be used for financial decisions. This is a much shorter document that gives your attorneys power to deal with your finances. It does not require registration at the Office of the Public Guardian, and therefore can be used immediately. It is important to still consider making LPAs as an ordinary power of attorney cannot be used if you lose capacity to deal with your affairs.
At Lester Aldridge, in order to support our clients during this difficult time, our LPA solicitors will prepare an ordinary power of attorney relating to your finances free of charge if you instruct us to prepare a property and financial affairs LPA for you. Contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01202 786229.