What is a Power of Attorney and do I need one?
A Power of Attorney is a document that lets you set out who you wish to make certain decisions on your behalf should you require assistance or otherwise be deemed to be suffering from mental incapacity by a Doctor or Psychiatrist. No-one has authority to make decisions on your behalf or undertake actions regarding your personal finances or health and welfare without being appointed as your Attorney. It does not matter how close the family relationship, there is no legal authority without Power of Attorney.
Powers of Attorney that are to begin or continue in the event of a granter’s incapacity must be registered with The Office of the Public Guardian before the deed can be used. This applies even during these difficult times. Attorneys cannot act until the deed is registered.
Can I have a Power of Attorney prepared during the Covid-19 lockdown?
Yes, but the Office of the Public Guardian are currently only registering critically urgent applications.
What is considered as critically urgent?
For example, if a person is in hospital and powers are required for attorneys to act immediately to allow decisions to be taken, the Office of the Public Guardian will process this request urgently.
What if I just want a Power of Attorney for peace of mind for the future or I am in a high risk category for Covid-19?
Unfortunately, this is not considered a reason for The Office of the Public Guardian to deal with the registration of the deed to as critically urgent. This applies regardless of your whether you are considered high risk.
We can still assist with the preparation of your Power of Attorney with the help of modern technology, if you have access to video call facilities such as Facetime, WhatsApp etc.
Where a new client wishes to instruct us in a power of attorney matter we will need to exercise our own judgement as to whether or not it is appropriate to conduct the entire piece of business using video technology. It is not to say that it would not be compliant with the relevant legislation. However, the professional obligations to ascertain relevant capacity, and to ensure that there is no undue influence or other vitiating factor, can prove to be more difficult when no physical meeting takes place. It is for those reasons that caution should be exercised in proceeding in this way for new clients.
Is there anything else I can do so that someone else can help me?
Other alternatives to having a Power of Attorney may be available to help when a non-urgent Power of Attorney cannot be processed e.g. third party mandates. This option can give authority to carry out everyday banking transactions on someone’s behalf and may provide useful in the current climate, offering a temporary measure while a non-urgent Power of Attorney is waiting to be processed.
How can I contact you about Power of Attorney?
Our Private Client Solicitors, Craig Bennet, Lynsey Rintoul and Mirella Marchini can be contacted on the telephone numbers and email addresses below:-
Craig Bennet – 01383 629814 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynsey Rintoul – 01383 629825 or email@example.com
Mirella Marchini – 01383 629849 or firstname.lastname@example.org