20th November 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many complications in many areas of people’s lives. Finances are no exception to the number of issues created by the lockdown.
People who need assistance completing tasks, such as shopping or going to the bank, now need to wear a protective mask and practice social distancing from the person who would generally help them. With everyone’s health at risk, there’s no better time to make sure you have someone assigned to help you.
With all of the lockdown’s complications, sometimes it’s unclear who is entitled to make these decisions for people who need help. In some situations, this could even be life-threatening for some people–as they often need assistance with their most basic needs.
This issue could mean that it’s time to get a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Getting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) will help resolve all these issues and ensure the person-in-need has the care they need.
What is an LPA?
An LPA is a document that authorises a person or people to manage affairs on behalf of someone unable to do so. There are two different kinds. One of the documents is for Property and Finances. The other is for Health and Welfare.
LPA’s were created in October 2007, after the Mental Capacity Act of 2005. Before 2007, Enduring Powers of Attorney were used. They are still valid if they were signed before 1st October 2007..
The person-in-need (donor) typically would authorise trusted friends or family (attorneys) to manage their affairs on their behalf if they lose the capacity to do so. Attorneys can use the Property and Finance LPA with the donor’s consent while the donor still has competence. If the donor spends time in the hospital or is shielding, this document can be extremely useful.
Each year, 15% of LPA’s get completed incorrectly. It’s not just a form that you will fill out, but it’s something that someone should finish in detail–ensuring those involved meet the donor’s needs adequately. I am able to advise the attorneys what their duties will be and that they will be regulated by the Office of the Public Guardian. The requirements should include the clarity of how much flexibility the donor wants the attorneys to have.
If someone files an LPA incorrectly, it could cause many difficulties for the attorneys if the donor becomes incapacitated. Having a solicitor to prepare the documents for you is the best way to ensure this doesn’t happen.
The hardest part about creating a Lasting Power of Attorney in a quarantine situation is getting signatures witnessed. A solicitor can help you figure out how to deal with this.
What Information Do You Need?
To prepare an LPA, you need to know:
- Whether or not you desire the Attorneys to make all decisions together, or whether you want some decisions made separately.
- Names, dates of birth, and physical addresses of those you want as your Attorney.
- Do you want anyone to act as a backup if one or more of your Attorneys cannot do the job? If so, you also need their name, date of birth, and address.
- Is there someone you can ask to act as your certificate provider? This person can certify that you know what you are doing, understand what the LPA does and the power it confers, and not under any pressure or influence to create the document. When instructed, a solicitor prepares your LPAs. They will then generally act as your certificate provider, but if this is not possible in the current circumstances, other people can.
- If there is anyone with concerns about the appointment of any of your Attorneys or anyone who should know about the LPA
What Happens Next?
Once the document is signed and dated correctly, we will register it with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to enable your attorneys to use it. This task will ensure usage if you lose the capability to make decisions in the future.
The OPG generally takes about three months to register an LPA without objections. With the pandemic situation, longer delays may occur as well.
The OPG will return the LPA perforated at the bottom of the document to show that they have registered it. We will let you know when we receive your Lasting Power of Attorney so that you can either pick it up from our office or we can send it to you by post. This document will be the only original document received and must be kept in a safe place.
We Can Help
We know that thinking about the future can be stressful. We believe that everyone should be treated with respect, kindness and receive a personal service that meets their needs in a relaxed, un-rushed environment.
Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors is here to help you prepare for the future and ensure your wishes are followed, which is why our expert legal team specializes in Lasting Power of Attorney, Wills, Probate and Equity Release. .
Don’t wait for life to happen – Get in touch today to learn more about our LPA services and gain the peace of mind that your future is taken care of.