Wills Probate & Power of Attorney
Lasting Power of Attorney for Shielded People in Isolation
14 APR 2020
How Lasting Power of Attorney can be useful for shielded people in isolation…
Shielding is a measure used to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus by minimising all interaction. They are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks. Anyone who is extremely vulnerable should not leave their homes and, within their homes, should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of their household.
So, lots of people are currently unable to go out of their home at all, not even for essentials like shopping or to collect of medication. Inevitably more and more people are reliant on others to ensure that they have the basic supplies in order to continue in isolation. However, there are other tasks which also present a challenge, such as getting money from the bank, collecting pensions or paying bills or dealing with general finances, savings and investments. And these are things that often others do not have the authority to deal with.
One document which can help in these circumstances is a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs. By making a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs a person (known as a ‘donor’) can appoint a family member or a trusted friend to make decisions about their finances.
Although these documents are often used when a person no longer has mental capacity to manage their own affairs, they can also be used where the donor gives their consent. So, if you agree and the attorney themselves are willing then it can be put to use even whilst you are still entirely capable of managing your own affairs. In those circumstances your attorney can act so long as it is with your consent and in accordance with your wishes.
For anyone who is currently in isolation and possibly worried about sorting out or managing their finances during this difficult time, a Lasting Power could be exactly what they need. If they already have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place then their attorney will be able to help as long as they have been given permission to do so.
If you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, then it may be something worth considering. It is a very useful document to have in a variety of circumstances.
There is also a similar document available to help and support where decisions need to be taken on medical and care issues. This is known as a Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare. This again appoints a trusted helper to take decisions on the donor’s health and welfare in circumstances where they cannot take decisions themselves.
A Lasting Power is a very powerful document and should be drawn and completed carefully to ensure that it is appropriate and effective. After making your Lasting Power of Attorney it will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, a government body which oversees the affairs of the vulnerable and helps those who are appointed to plan and take decisions on their behalf.
If you would like to discuss your existing Lasting Power of Attorney or whether a Power of Attorney is the right choice for you, please contact our specialist team at Baines Bagguley Penhale. We continue to offer our clients advice and support in preparing, completing and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney during the current period of lock down.