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​The importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney – ‘Your voice, your decision’

The government is encouraging more people to put in place Lasting Powers of Attorney with the 'Your voice, your decision' campaign.

The government’s website explains that “if you lose the ability to make certain decisions for yourself, a lasting power of attorney (LPA) lets people you trust quickly, easily and legally step in.”

At Emsleys Solicitors, we strongly support the government’s campaign to raise awareness of the importance of putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).

Why is a Lasting Power of Attorney important?

LPAs are becoming increasingly important documents. As the general population is now living for longer, it therefore may mean that more people require care packages or to live in a care home. Additionally, we now have the added strain of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

There are two types of LPA – one for Property and Financial decisions and another for Health and Welfare decisions.

We usually suggest having both types of LPA in place to ensure that if you no longer have the capacity to make decisions for yourself, your attorneys can step in to act on your behalf. An attorney could act in relation to a property sale, banking and financial matters, paying bills or decisions in relation to care homes/care packages, end of life care decisions or decisions regarding vaccines. However, if you would prefer to just have one of the documents in place then you can choose to do so.

Can I still make a Lasting Power of Attorney during the pandemic?

Yes, we can still progress and finalise LPAs during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working remotely without the need to meet clients in person. Documents can be posted to you and you can source your own witness and Certificate Provider.

Please note: a witness and Certificate Provider must not be related to you; must not be an attorney appointed by you, and must have known you for at least two years. For example, a friend or a neighbour could be both your witness and a Certificate Provider. Your witness should maintain social distancing by standing outside in the garden whilst you sign the documents, or, they could watch you sign the document through a window. As long as they have seen you sign the LPA, and then they sign to confirm that they have witnessed this, the witnessing formalities have been completed.

When should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

It is important to note that LPAs can only be put in place when you still have capacity to provide instructions to make them. Once you have lost capacity it is too late, therefore it is of upmost importance to ensure that you put the documents in place whilst you are still fit and well in order to avoid any future complications.  

Making an LPA ensures both your financial affairs and your personal welfare are dealt with by someone of your choosing that you can trust to place your best interests first. Should you not have them in place when something goes wrong, the only avenue for your family to take is to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy.  This is a costly and time-consuming exercise.

The decision to make an LPA is personal to each one of us. An LPA is valid as long as the donor is 18 years old and has the mental capacity to understand the power and authority given to the attorney(s). No one knows what might happen in the future, therefore it is hard to say when you should make a Lasting Power of Attorney, but it is definitely something to think about – especially if you have the responsibility of a family, business or major investments, or if you are becoming elderly or infirm.

To speak to our specialist team about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please call 0113 201 4900 or visit wills.probate@emsleys.co.uk.

Helena Clayton

Written by

Helena Clayton

Wills & Probate

Helena is Solicitor in our Wills & Probate team. She has over five years’ experience working as a legal assistant in various departments including Wills & Probate. Helena is an active member of Emsleys’ Charity Committee and regularly volunteers in Business in the Community projects. She graduated from Newcastle...

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