Q: My widowed father is suffering from long covid and cannot look after himself. His age and the fact that he also suffered organ damage means it is unlikely that he will recover sufficiently to live independently in future. In one of his lucid moments, he said he wanted to sell his house as there is nobody nearby to keep an eye on things. It also needs to be sold to pay the fees if he goes into a care home. I could be his attorney, but what if there is an emergency and I cannot be there?
A: The first thing to establish is whether your father has the required capacity to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in which he could appoint you (and anyone else) as his attorneys. His attorneys will be able to deal with his finances, sell his house and make sure any care home fees are paid. LPAs must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardians before they can be used. This process takes around 6-8 weeks.
Attorneys can be appointed to act jointly or jointly and severally. Appointing attorneys to act jointly and severally means that not all attorneys have to act together, so if one attorney is unavailable the others can still act.
If your father no longer has the capacity to prepare an LPA, you will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as his deputy. Being a deputy will give you the same powers as an attorney, but your appointment would be at the discretion of the court. It can take around 9 months for a deputyship order to be granted.
Whether due to the situation in respect of your father’s capacity, or in respect of his health and care, you should make an appointment to see a solicitor who can advise you of the best steps to take under the circumstances.
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, some 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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