The coronavirus outbreak has led to clients wanting to know more about a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). At Paul Crowley & Co, our solicitors are prepared for every eventuality, and COVID-19 is no different, we’ve laid out all you need to know about a Lasting Power of Attorney during the current pandemic.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows a person (known as the Donor) to nominate an ‘Attorney’ (also known as a Donee) to make decisions on their behalf, should they at sometime in the future lose the mental capacity to think for themselves.
Should a Donor lose their mental capacity, an LPA will be of assistance to the Donors family as it will help to avoid the expense, time and complexity of applying to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.
There are two types of LPA, a health and welfare LPA and a property and financial affairs LPA, both of which can be tailored to the Donors specified requirements.
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What does an Attorney do?
Should a Donor become incapacitated through declining mental health, a physical injury or suffer a life threatening illness such as coronavirus, either of which could render them incapable of making a decision and communicating, then the persons appointed in the LPA to serve as their attorney would act on their behalf to carry out their wishes.
An LPA is an essential part of your legal planning and carries a hugely significant responsibility, allowing the attorney to make decisions on behalf of the Donor that directly and personally affects the Donors healthcare, financial arrangements, where they live, and even decisions including the sale of a Donor’s house.
It is vitally important when a Donor is appointing one or more attorneys they should be someone they trust, typically a close friend, a spouse or child.
“If you would like further advice about your existing Lasting Power of Attorney or would like to discuss a new or replacement LPA, then our friendly and approachable Private Client team, can arrange this for you. To ensure the safety of our clients, their families and our staff we offer an entirely contactless service for LPAs as we do with Wills”.
Head of Private Client
When does a Lasting Power of Attorney come into effect?
An LPA does not immediately give power to your named attorney. If you are ill with coronavirus or anything else an LPA will only come in to effect if you no longer have the capacity to make decisions for yourself, it is then that your chosen attorney or attorneys will act for you in accordance with your wishes.
Dependant upon how it was set up, in a health and welfare LPA your attorney can in some circumstances make decisions regarding your treatment.
If you you are hospitalised and have an LPA for finance, then your attorney can continue to help with your finances to pay your bills.
What if my attorney falls ill or is no longer able to act for me?
If your attorney becomes unwell, is unavailable, or even if they pass away, you should be informed of this as early as possible to ensure you have the time, depending on the specific terms of your current LPA to make any necessary changes to bring it back into effect.
If you only had a single attorney who is now unable to act for you, then you need to set up alternative arrangement as quickly as possible.
You may also want to change to a completely different LPA with a new attorney, which is also a consideration.
For LPAs with more than one attorney
There is no specific limit to the number of attorneys you may have for your LPA.
As such, it’s common for multiple friends or family members to be listed. Attorneys defined as jointly must make unanimous decisions about your healthcare and treatment, while jointly and severally attorneys can make certain choices independently.
For jointly attorney LPAs, a new LPA must be created, as not every attorney is available to reach those decisions if one or more are incapacitated.
For LPAs that specify replacement attorneys
In addition to multiple attorneys, a Lasting Power of Attorney also enables you to nominate and provide replacement attorneys.
These attorneys do not act if your current attorney is able, but will step in if they are unable to make those decisions on their own. Jointly and severally replacement attorneys can individually step up to replace gaps, while jointly-only replacement attorneys must replace all existing attorneys and take over completely.
For LPAs with a single attorney
If you’ve only defined a single attorney within your LPA, you’ll need to create a new Lasting Power of Attorney entirely to place those specifications as legal requirements again.
In your new LPA, you can choose to stick with a single attorney or opt for multiples or replacements.
How PAUL CROWLEY & CO can help
With coronavirus leading to more LPAs being invalidated, acting fast is the best thing you can do to get back on track.
If you, a member of your family, or perhaps a close friend would like to find out more about a Lasting Power of Attorney, our empathetic and professional private client team will be able to help and advise on these matters.
To discuss an LPA, or to revise or replace an existing LPA contact Natasha or Chloé from our private client department on 0151 668 0540 and they will be happy to answer any of your questions.
Much like a Will, at Paul Crowley & Co solicitors we offer an entirely contactless service for LPAs, ensuring the safety of yourself and those around you.
WHAT TO DO NEXT…
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