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Lasting Power of Attorney vital for vulnerable

9th December 2020

Lasting Power of Attorney vital for vulnerable

Higgs & Sons Associate Michelle Weaver explains why it is more important than ever to appoint an Attorney

The Covid-19 pandemic has left many vulnerable and elderly people feeling anxious about the future. Appointing an attorney now can ease some of those worries by giving a trusted person the power to look after your affairs if you become unable to do so, whether that is through lockdown restrictions or illness.

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Financial affairs and Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare. We would recommend getting both in place as a legal failsafe to protect against the unexpected.

We have seen a significant uptick in the number of people seeking LPAs during the pandemic, as well as wills.

Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs

An LPA for Property & Financial Affairs allows someone else to manage your affairs for you, should you be unable to do so yourself.

This allows the appointed person, or persons, to carry out important tasks such as looking after your bank accounts, savings and investments, selling a property or claiming welfare benefits on your behalf.

Whilst it always has been important to have this safety net in place, it’s been brought into sharp focus by coronavirus.

Many older people not au fait with the internet have felt unable to visit physical banks. Having an LPA in place allows someone else to carry out everyday tasks on your behalf.

Furthermore, should you need to move to a care home, your attorney can manage the sale of a property to help pay for costs.

Failure to have an LPA in place can cause huge problems, as seen in the case of Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway, who has revealed she has been unable to access some of her husband’s assets during his long battle with Covid-19.

If you lose capacity and there is no LPA in place, a deputyship order is required to give another person power to make decisions on your behalf. This is a more expensive process, it can be lengthy – and there is no guarantee the court will appoint a deputy.

Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare

An LPA for Health & Welfare can be equally as important as it means a trusted person, usually a relative or friend, has a say on the care you receive when in hospital – but only if you have lost capacity to make the decisions yourself.

With an LPA in place, doctors are obliged to discuss treatment and procedures with the attorney before any decisions are taken. You can also tell your attorney whether or not you want life sustaining treatment.

Care homes will also liaise with your attorney – and your attorney has the power to move you into a different setting should they need to.

For many vulnerable people worried about what would happen should they contract Covid-19, this can offer significant peace of mind.

Other preferences can also be put in place such as what happens to your pets, or even what food you would want in a care home.

 

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