Why everyone should have a Lasting Power of Attorney

During the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen an increase in clients preparing and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney for both property and financial affairs and health and welfare. 

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA for short) is a document that allows you to appoint attorneys who would be able to make decisions on your behalf in the event you became incapable of making these decisions yourself. Even if you retained mental capacity, it would allow your attorney to be able to assist you (with your consent). For example, if you were unable to go to the bank due to ill health or you were housebound, your attorney could use the LPA (financial) and go to the bank on your behalf. 

LPAs can only be created if you have the mental capacity at the time. Unfortunately it may sometimes be too late to make LPAs and, in this situation, an application to the Court of Protection for someone to be appointed as a Deputy would be required. The application to obtain the court order can take over 12 months, there are considerably more costs involved and the Deputy is under a duty to submit reports every year to the Court of Protection. 

Throughout the last 12 months, we have received a number of enquiries requesting for LPAs to be put in place but in some circumstances this has not been possible due to the person being in hospital or not having the mental capacity. The family need an LPA in order to deal with their affairs and this then becomes very frustrating for everyone involved. We have taken several calls where we have been unable to provide any assistance at all and, more than anything, we want to help families but often are unable to do so. 

It was widely reported that sadly Kate Garraway’s husband became very poorly with Covid-19 and, nearly 12 months later, is still fighting his battle against coronavirus. Like many others, Kate needed to deal with the accounts that were in her husband’s name and without an LPA she could not access to these accounts, even though she and her husband were married. In Kate’s case, among others, the car, insurance and bank accounts were held in her husband’s name. Sadly, their family car was also stolen during this time. Unfortunately without an LPA, Kate was unable to deal with the insurance and whilst insurance providers try to be helpful, they would not speak with anyone other than the policyholder (for security purposes). Had an LPA been in place, despite the emotional difficulties, Kate would have been able to deal with these matters a lot easier. 

Should you wish to discuss making LPAs or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Nicola, Rhianna and Sarah in our Private Client department on 0161 764 5266. During the pandemic, we are still meeting with clients ensuring all social distancing measures are adhered to. We are also able to meet with you at home if you are unable to attend our offices in Bury or Little Lever.