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Can you set up a lasting power of attorney in lockdown?

People often assume that if you lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions, your family will automatically be able to make decisions for you, on your behalf. Unfortunately, without a lasting power of attorney, this is not the case as Lodders’ care and capacity law specialist, Sofia Tayton explains.

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) legally authorises people you trust to act for you. If you subsequently suffer poor physical or mental health, your chosen attorneys named in your LPA will look after your affairs. This isn’t something that only the old or ill should think about, in fact, anyone aged 18 or over can set up an LPA to ensure they have someone able to make decisions on their behalf, should something happen.

There are two types of LPA.  One covers financial decisions and the other covers health and welfare.

LPAs for finance and property

These give attorneys the power to make decisions about your assets, including bank accounts, investments, pensions and any state benefits, and the sale and purchase of property.

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) must register the document before attorneys can rely on their authority under a financial LPA.

LPAs for health and welfare

These give attorneys the power to make decisions about care and medical interventions, including where you live, and even whether or not to consent to life-sustaining treatment on your behalf.

As with the financial LPA, the OPG must register the document, but attorneys can only use it if you have lost the capacity to make your own decisions.

LPAs in COVID-19 lockdown

Preparing LPAs in the current lockdown may initially seem too complicated. There are a number of different people to involve:

  • you (“the donor”, the person making the LPAs);
  • your attorneys;
  • a certificate provider; and
  • witnesses for the various signatures.

Arranging an LPA in a solicitor’s office, with everyone present, is nice and straightforward!

So, how can you prepare an LPA whilst meeting government guidelines on social distancing?

At Lodders we have a process in place to ensure we continue to provide relevant, accurate advice about LPAs, albeit remotely.

We can take instructions by video call (zoom or skype) or over the telephone for clients who don’t have access to video technology. We send out detailed guidance about the signing process, and your witnesses can watch through a window or from a safe distance out of doors.

Registering an LPA

The registration of LPAs has always taken place by post.  Once everyone has signed the forms, we send them to the OPG by tracked post, who then return them to us the same way when the registration is complete.

To discuss an LPA or will, please contact Sofia Tayton on 01789 206151, or via email.

More information

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For more information, please contact Sofia Tayton on 01789 206151, or via email.