Q&A - COVID-19 has made me think about Powers of Attorney

Q:  My seventy-year old mum is fit and healthy, but a friend of hers got COVID-19 and has been in a coma in hospital for seven weeks. The lady’s daughter did not have Power of Attorney over her mother’s affairs, which has caused huge problems. Consequently, I have been trying to persuade mum to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, but I think she sees it as giving away her independence. Is there a way of setting up a temporary Power of Attorney that could run just until the coronavirus pandemic eases?

A:  If you have a physical illness or injury or are going to be abroad for a long period, and you just want someone to look after your financial affairs for a given period of time, you can set up an Ordinary Power of Attorney. However, an Ordinary Power of Attorney provides limited powers and only allows an attorney to deal with certain matters.

It would be far better for your mum to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) as this would enable you, as her attorney, to make decisions about her health and care also deal with her property and financial affairs. Once the LPA was set up it could simply be registered if she later lost mental capacity and you would not have to go through the hassle of applying to the Court of Protection for permission to handle her affairs and make decisions on her behalf.

An LPA would not deprive your mum of any independence, as unless she lost mental capacity her attorney (or attorneys) would not be able to register the LPA or act without her consent. An LPA consists of two separate parts, one dealing with health and welfare and the other dealing with property and financial affairs. Perhaps you and your mum should make an appointment to speak to a solicitor about it together.

This question has been answered by Jessica Wright a Solicitor 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.

Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry, please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website or call 01691 659194. As a firm, you will appreciate that we are still extremely busy, and whilst our colleagues are well equipped to work remotely, due to current circumstances work may be interrupted – however cases are still ongoing and will be prioritised by urgency and need. Stay safe and thank you for your support.

Article 08/07/2020

Jessica Wright

Jessica Wright

Solicitor

Part of our Probate, Wills, Tax and Trusts team in Oswestry.

Ulia Choudhry

Ulia Choudhry

Solicitor

Part of our Probate, Wills, Tax and Trusts team in Wrexham