Q: We are in our thirties. We downloaded forms off the internet and wrote Wills when we bought our house together, but never considered setting up Powers of Attorney as we thought such things were for the old, sick and vulnerable. Now COVID has made us all vulnerable and we are wondering whether we should each set one up?
A: Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney so that someone can make decisions on your behalf is sensible at any age in these uncertain times. If you lack the capacity to make decisions and don’t have an LPA, it can cause huge problems for your relatives who will probably have to apply to the Court of Protection for an order to act on your behalf. As well as being time-consuming that would probably be more costly than setting up an LPA now.
There are two types of LPA; one for Property and Financial Affairs that enables an appointed attorney or attorneys to pay your bills, arrange property repairs etc, and one for Health and Welfare which enables attorneys to make decisions regarding your personal wellbeing.
Setting up an LPA is simple. Decide which type you want to set up, or both. Decide who you want to act as your attorneys, and if more than one whether they should make decisions for you jointly, or jointly and severally. Ask a professional such as a doctor or solicitor to confirm your capacity to create the LPA. Finally, register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Your solicitor can arrange the entire process. Many law firms like ourselves offer reductions for couples who are setting up more than one LPA. Regarding your Wills, you should consider getting those rewritten by a lawyer as, sadly, the current situation has brought to light too many instances of homemade Wills turning out to be invalid, resulting in the deceased being declared having died intestate!
This question has been answered by Victoria Wilson, a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
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