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Is it Still Possible to Make an LPA during Coronavirus?

View profile for Zoe Johnson
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Making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is something all ages need to consider, if you’re looking after aged parents, running a business, have an illness of your own, care for children or simply want to plan ahead for the benefit of your family, and we’re all thinking more about these things during lockdown.

A Lasting Power of Attorney allows someone of your choosing to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated, either physically or mentally.  There are two types, a health and welfare LPA and a property and finance one.  A loss of capacity does not have to be caused by illness, it can also be as the result of an accident.

“However, clients have recently been calling us and asking if it is still possible to successfully apply for an LPA as they look to manage the affairs of their loved ones during the coronavirus situation,” said Private Client trainee solicitor, Zoe Johnson.

In the absence of an LPA, your family, friends or a social worker may have to initiate court proceedings to be able to deal with your affairs on your behalf. However, the costs for doing such an application can costs thousands, with additionally yearly charges. You also risk having someone deal with your affairs that you would not envisage taking on such a role.

How to make an LPA during the COVID-19 outbreak?

All our meetings with clients are now by phone and virtual tech meetings.  If you need to make an LPA now, you must observe government guidance on social distancing, self-isolating and shielding: keep at least 2 metres away from each other at all times and wash your hands before and after handling the LPA. A neighbour can witness a signature, for example, on the doorstep or over the garden fence or a signature can also be witnessed through a closed window.

Wheelie bin lids have been used as makeshift desks in gardens by some to get an LPA signed and witnessed as we are advising that you should not go into anyone else’s house to get them to sign the LPA or invite them into your house. However, everything will be explained to you in great detail at the initial appointment and you will be guided through the process by your adviser, who will ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible in this extremely difficult time. 

Witnesses must just have a clear view of the person signing the LPA and the witness must be over 18, have mental capacity and not be an attorney or replacement attorney.

Anyone who has known you for longer than 2 years in a personal capacity or has been a medical or professional adviser to you can act to provide a certificate of capacity for an LPA.

On receipt of the LPA it must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian and your solicitors will manage this for you.

“I am finding that clients in this uncertain time want to sort out their affairs, and if they are not instructing us now are considering making plans for the future once the social distancing rules have relaxed,” said Zoe.

“You can use the time to talk to family about your wishes and make a start on the process. It’s always a good idea to talk to a professional as there are other ways in which we can help prepare all of the documents for you, get them properly signed and witnessed then make the application for the LPA on your behalf without even coming into our offices,” she added.

For advice on making an LPA or advice on a Will during coronavirus call the team on 0161 785 3500 or email zoe.johnson@pearsonlegal.co.uk

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.