The global pandemic has changed many things in our lives: the way we work, the way we interact, the way we consume, and the way we think. We may now find ourselves planning, or at the very least thinking about, worst case scenarios more than we used to. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can help to ensure that, should you become incapacitated by Covid-19, an accident or other types of illnesses, someone you trust can make decisions on your behalf.
Read on to find out how to register a Lasting Power of Attorney in the current climate.
Although there is a tinge of sadness that some of the carefree abandon of our pre-pandemic lives has been eroded, the flipside is that we’re now at least addressing taboo topics head-on. If that means we’re better prepared for life’s eventualities, both expected and unexpected, then at least that’s one positive to come from all of this.
If you were to become one of the unlucky minority who are hospitalised and require emergency intervention at the hands of this terrible virus, or any other potentially debilitating illness or accident for that matter, there may come a point when someone else is required to make decisions on your behalf.
This is where a Lasting Power of Attorney is vital.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney and why are they important?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to make decisions about your welfare or estate for you. In essence, a Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to grant someone you trust the permission to make decisions on your behalf should you lose capacity to do so in the future.
What many people don’t realise is that nobody has the automatic right to make decisions about your welfare or finances for you, regardless of your state of health or their relationship to you. This often comes as a shock at what is already a highly stressful and emotionally charged period of time.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can alleviate at least some of the stress and heartache of these situations. If you are over 18 and have mental capacity, appointing one or more people to become your ‘attorneys’ if you have an illness or an accident and are unable to make your own decisions can provide peace of mind to all involved.
There are two different types of Lasting Powers of Attorney. A Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows your designated attorney to make decisions on your behalf regarding your health and welfare. A Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney encompasses decisions about your property and financial affairs.
Find out more about the different types of Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Registering a Lasting Power of Attorney in lockdown
The process of registering a Lasting Power of Attorney is still largely the same, albeit with some slight adjustments to be made in light of social distancing rules. The standard process is as follows:
- Choose your attorney(s), you can have more than one.
- Fill in the forms to appoint them as an attorney.
- Register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
A solicitor is required to talk to the ‘donor’ or person wishing to make the Lasting Power of Attorney. This would normally be done face to face, but can currently be done by phone or via a video call.
The signing of the Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be done this way and must be witnessed in person. However, creative workarounds are possible. For instance, a neighbour could witness the signature over the garden fence or through a closed window.
Once the Lasting Power of Attorney has been signed, it will then need to be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). It normally takes around 12 weeks to receive a registered Lasting Power of Attorney. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the OPG is still experiencing delays due to the impact of Covid-19 and staffing levels.
Contact Acumen today
Acumen Financial Partnership can help you to ensure that your Lasting Power of Attorney provides the framework that ensures your financial wishes are met. Working with selected professional who are well know to us we can make sure that you get the right guidance to ensure that this important area of your personal financial planning is properly in order.
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