The Office of the Public Guardian has provided this guidance during the coronavirus outbreak
You may not think that now is the best time to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney given the current Coronavirus measures. However, you should never delay planning ahead for your future and the Office of the Public Guardian has released guidance that maintains you can still keep your social distance and execute your Lasting Power of Attorney.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables you to appoint one or more persons to manage and make decisions about your property and financial affairs and your health and welfare, if you are unable or have difficulty doing so yourself in the future.
The importance of a Lasting Power of Attorney is that you have control in choosing someone you trust to manage your affairs, which may also make things easier both practically and emotionally for your loved ones in the future. If you have not appointed an attorney to act on your behalf and you subsequently lose mental capacity, then someone may have to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy, this a lengthy and costly procedure and may not have been the person you would have chosen to manage your affairs.
Signatures on a Lasting Power of Attorney must be witnessed in the presence of an independent person over the age of 18 years old.
The Office of the Public Guardian has advised that this can be done by a neighbour, on the doorstep or via the garden fence, it can even be done through a closed window, as long as the witness can see the person signing the document.
It can also be someone the donor or attorney lives with, as long as that person:
- Is aged 18 or over;
- Has mental capacity;
- Is not an attorney or a replacement attorney (if witnessing for a donor) or not the donor (if witnessing for an attorney) in the document.
If two attorneys live together then they are able to witness each other’s signatures.
Please note that Lasting Powers of Attorney cannot be witnessed over video calls, they must be witnessed in person.
Therefore, there is no reason why you cannot proceed with making a Lasting Power of Attorney during the Coronavirus crisis.
At Cunningtons we are available to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney with you in more detail
via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone on 01376 567280