Making a Lasting Power of Attorney during the Coronavirus...

  • Author: David Crosby
  • Posted on: 26th January 2021
  • Posted in: Blog

Lasting Power of Attorney & Covid

Throughout the last year, we have seen a spike in demand for both our Will writing and Lasting Power of Attorney (or “LPA”) services as our clients take control of their futures and prepare themselves and their affairs to protect their families. During this time we have found that while most of our new clients have a good understanding of how important making a Will is, less are clear on what having (or not having) an LPA could mean for them.

We have produced the FAQs below to help fill in some of the blanks and help clarify the benefits but one thing cannot be overstated: With the LPA registration process generally taking around 10 weeks to complete from first consultation to official registration, it is vital to get the process started before you actually need your LPA.

FAQs:

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney and why are so many people making and registering them at the moment?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (or LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people over the age of 18 to either help you make decisions, or make them on your behalf in case an illness or accident causes you to lack the mental capacity to make decisions on your own.

For tragically obvious reasons, having LPAs in place can provide significant peace of mind during the current pandemic due to the prolonged hospital stays and even medically induced comas that can be required to treat Covid-19. The arrangements included can genuinely make the difference between bills being paid and the lights staying on for your loved ones while your treatment is being administered.

What does an LPA cover?

There are two types of LPA, Health and Welfare and Property and Financial Affairs and as their names suggest they cover very different aspects of your future. You can make one or both of these depending on your needs and we are happy to help with either or both.

Health and Welfare LPAs

These cover everything from your preferred daily routine (eg. Washing, dressing and eating) to medical care, moving into a care home and levels of life-sustaining treatment you would like administered. This type of LPA can only be used when you are unable to make your own decisions.

Property and Financial Affairs LPAs

These cover the management of bank/building society accounts, paying bills, collection of benefits or pensions and selling your home. An important distinction about this type of LPA is that provided you give permission, it can be used as soon as it is registered.

What if I lack the mental capacity to make decisions in the future and I don’t have an LPA registered?

If you lose mental capacity and do not have an LPA in place then a Deputy can be appointed by the Court of Protection but this is often an expensive and lengthy process. It also goes without saying what as you will have been deemed to lack capacity you will not be able to choose this person or have control over the types of decision they are able to make on your behalf.

What protections are in place for me?

There are several layers of protection and oversight in place to ensure your safety, one key aspect is that all LPAs require a “Certificate Provider” to certify that you understand the implications of the power and that you are not being subjected to undue influence. You also have to provide the details of a person to be notified that the document is being created, or have two separate and independent Certificate Providers.

Furthermore, all LPAs are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to ensure that nothing can subsequently be changed without your knowledge or consent and that the documents are secure.

What if I change my mind or my situation changes?

LPAs can be changed or even completely ended at any time as long as you have the mental capacity to make that decision. This can be done by providing a written statement known as a deed of partial or full revocation.

Does Covid complicate the process of getting an LPA registered?

Like a lot of things at the moment, unfortunately, the answer is both yes and no! The process is effectively the same but there may be extra considerations to bear in mind. Fortunately, we have a lot of experience of this and are on hand to help guide you through all parts of the process, whether it’s taking you through your options or helping you to get your LPA properly signed and “witnessed” while adhering to social distancing requirements.

To find out how much a Lasting Power of Attorney will cost and how you can get started, please get in touch with our team today to book your FREE Initial Consultation on 01273 734600 or email david@crosbywoods.co.uk