Coronavirus: Why it is important to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney
The government recently published Rules on staying at home and away from others and as a result of the restrictions, you may be finding it increasingly difficult to manage your financial affairs.
Furthermore, if you are more susceptible to the virus, you may want to authorise your loved ones to make decisions about your health, if you are unable to do so.
These matters can be addressed through Lasting Powers of Attorney.
What are Lasting Powers of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a document which is made by someone (the ‘donor’) in order to appoint another person (the ‘attorney’) to make decisions on their behalf when they are not able to make their own decisions.
In the absence of a Lasting Power of Attorney, if someone has lost the ability to make decisions then an application to the Court of Protection may be necessary to authorise someone to deal with their affairs which can be time-consuming and costly.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Firstly, a ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ power (allowing the attorney to deal with banks and bills, sorting income and buying and selling) and secondly a ‘Health and Welfare’ power (allowing decisions on medical treatment, care, where to live and who is to visit etc).
Property and Financial Affairs
Many financial organisations continue to operate during these difficult times but most of their services can only be accessed online. This is particularly difficult for those who are not familiar with the new technology and cannot access the help of those more experienced. If you had a Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs in place, your attorney may be able to help with contacting the financial organisations on your behalf.
Lasting Powers of Attorney for property and financial affairs can be used by an attorney when they are authorised by the donor and when the donor loses capacity.
Health and Welfare
During these difficult times, you may be worried about who will be able to make decisions about your health and welfare matters in situations where you cannot make your own decisions. If you have underlying health conditions, you may want to allow someone to make decisions about your health if you are unable to make decisions yourself.
Your loved ones may not be able to make decisions in relation to your health and welfare matters unless you give them the authority to do so in a Lasting Power of Attorney. Please be aware that if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare, you attorney can only make decisions on your behalf when you are not able to make your own decisions.
If you would like to make a Lasting Power of Attorney or have any questions you can speak to one of our experts. Please call us on 0117 939 0350.
- Tony Calwell
- Wills & Probate Partner
- Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Wills and Probate