Hughes Solicitors
19 High Street
Heathfield
TN21 8LU

8:45am to 5pm
Monday to Friday
(evenings and weekend
by prior appointment)

Hughes Solicitors
19 High Street
Heathfield
TN21 8LU

8:45am to 5pm
Monday to Friday
(evenings and weekend
by prior appointment)

Families urged to make a lasting power of attorney as a precautionary measure

3 Jun 2020 | Private client law

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) has issued an urgent call encouraging families to make a lasting power of attorney (LPA) as a precautionary measure during the coronavirus crisis.

Concerned that take up figures for LPA’s have not increased in recent months, STEP fears that many families may be ill-prepared in the event of the worst happening.

Worryingly, a recent STEP survey of 463 qualified advisors revealed that fewer LPA’s were being drawn up than normal with 73 per cent of advisors reporting flat or falling numbers of enquiries.

Having an LPA in place is a sensible precaution at any time, but even more relevant during a pandemic that could affect any of us without warning. A lasting power of attorney enables you to give your chosen people the authority to look after your finances on your behalf in addition to having the ability to make health and welfare decisions on your behalf if you lack the capacity to take a specific decision. You can choose family members, friends or colleagues as long as they are willing to act, or alternatively you can appoint a professional.

Ruth Weaver, solicitor in the wills and probate team and STEP member, stresses that lockdown and social distancing measures should not prevent families from formulating their own plan of action.

‘This is a prime opportunity for families to discuss issues they may have been putting off and decide who will make these crucially important decisions if one of you is incapacitated,’ says Ruth.

At Hughes Solicitors in Heathfield, we have tailored our service in line with new guidance from the Office of the Public Guardian in England and Wales on how LPA’s can be made while observing the rule on social distancing, self-isolating or shielding.

  • we can take your instructions and advise you by telephone or video conference and draft the lasting power of attorney documents;
  • we can send the documents to everyone who needs to sign by post or if you live within walking distance, you could take the lasting power of attorney to the people who need to sign – keeping at least two metres apart and washing your hands before and after handling the lasting power of attorney; and
  • the donor and attorney’s signatures can be witnessed by a neighbour on the doorstep, over the garden fence or through a closed window.

For further information on setting up a lasting power of attorney, please contact Ruth Weaver in our private client team in Heathfield, East Sussex on 01435 890 101 or email ruthweaver@hugheslaw.co.uk.

This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since the date this article was published.