Powers of Attorney and the Covid-19 pandemic
The Office of the Public Guardian which oversees Lasting Powers of Attorney has provided updated advice for deputies and attorneys to enable them to carry on their duties during the Covid-19 pandemic https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-office-of-the-public-guardian-response.
Over recent weeks there will have been many instances where deputies and attorneys have not been able to visit or speak to the person whose interests they look after due to social distancing or self-isolation. They may have had issues dealing with the person’s health care providers or have had difficulties accessing and managing their finances.
Whilst some of the practical difficulties at the moment should be starting to ease as the lockdown lifts, it still may be difficult to carry out instructions to the letter on behalf of some people.
The lockdown may have raised a number of issues for the person with the LPA and their deputies and attorneys and there may be some people who want to review or change their LPA to avoid the same difficulties in the future. There may be some people who no longer want the responsibility of being a deputy or attorney or want to bring in the help of younger family members to help with the care of older relatives. There may also be further issues for everyone if they need to self-isolate as the track and trace system is implemented or due to the new quarantine rules on entering the UK.
If you are a deputy or attorney you cannot delegate decision making to someone else unless you have been authorised by the LPA or the Court. If permission hasn’t been given to delegate, attorneys can ask for assistance in their duties.
Attorneys who are only in contact with a person by phone might have difficulties in deciding if they are making a decision in the best interest of the person and they might need to seek professional guidance to discuss their duties, responsibilities and the authority they have under the LPA.
When considering finances, deputies and attorneys may have limited powers to make gifts including loans to some people who might be facing financial difficulties and they might need to seek advice from the Court of Protection where much larger sums are involved, for example if they wanted to make a gift to help a younger relative get onto the property ladder.
There may be many individuals and families who because of the pandemic have decided to review their future health and welfare and financial interests and have now decided it is a good time to make an LPA.
We are here to provide advice and support on both new and existing LPA’s, to help give you and your family the peace of mind for the future.