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Lasting Powers of Attorney and Coronavirus

Date:14 JAN 2021
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Solicitor

Putting in place LPAs whilst living under the lockdown measures which are currently in place is difficult. It is still possible but the government guidance on social distancing and self-isolation must be followed.

Here are the key difficulties which may arise under the current circumstances:

  1. You must not use digital signatures when signing LPAs.
  2. All parties to LPAs must sign the same original document.
  3. All signatures must be witnessed in person.
  4. Regardless of Coronavirus, LPAs must be signed in the correct order.
  5. The LPA Certificate Provider must to talk to you about the LPAs to ensure that you understand them and to ensure that you are not being pressurised to make them. It is strongly recommended that this conversation happens in person. Under current circumstances, this may, instead, be carried out over the phone or video call but the Certificate Provider should make sure that the call is private (this could be difficult to ensure).
  6. The Office of the Public Guardian (who are responsible for registering LPAs) are currently experiencing delays in doing so. LPAs must be registered before they can be used.

If the current restrictions make it too difficult for you to put in place LPAs at the moment or if you need someone to be able to make a decision for you more quickly then there are some other options to consider. 

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There are some informal things you can do. These are not legally binding but are helpful ways to express your wishes. These do not replace the need for LPAs once it is possible to put them in place but could be helpful to do until you are able to put LPAs in place or whilst you are waiting for LPAs to be registered:

  • Most simply, you can write out your wishes and feelings about your health and welfare and properly and financial affairs and/or talk to your close friends and family about this. This is not be legally binding but it is a way to express your wishes.
  • You can make an Advanced Statement. This is a statement that sets out your preferences, wishes, beliefs and values regarding your future care. This is not legally binding but is a way to express your wishes.

You can make an Advanced Care Plan to record your treatment and care wishes. This is not legally binding but is a way to express your wishes.

There are also some more formal things you can do. These are legally binding provided the relevant requirements are met in putting them in place:

  • You can set up a third party mandate. This allows you to authorise someone else to carry out bank transactions for you.
  • You can put in place a General Power of Attorney to authorise someone to manage your financial affairs will to do certain things on your behalf. This can only be used whilst you have the mental capacity to tell the person what you want them to do for you.

You can make an Advanced Decision (or Living Will). By this document you can refuse specific types of treatments at some time in the future. 

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