As much as this pandemic has ground lots of things to a halt, it has sharpened focus on others. As a nation, we’re getting back to some basics. We’re seeing what really matters. And many of us are using whatever extra (or differently spent) time we now have to getting round to doing things we’ve long put off.
People are making Wills – something we encourage everyone to do, whatever stage of life you’re at. And we have also seen a surge of interest in Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). This all bodes extremely well for those who now have plans in place for the years ahead, and the peace of mind that comes with that.
The future is uncertain; we all know that. And that’s one reason why an LPA is a great provision to have made. It’s a legal document that specifies who should become your ‘attorney’ or ‘attorneys’ in the event that you (the ‘donor’) somehow lose the ability to take full care of your property and finances and/or your health and welfare. An LPA typically becomes relied on when a person loses mental capacity (the legal term for being unable to make decisions in their best interests) through illness, old age or an accident. It means that the nominated attorneys can immediately step in and start making decisions and taking actions on their behalf.
People tend to think that the loss of mental capacity is something more likely to happen at a later stage in life, but it could affect anyone at any time and at any age. So it pays to be prepared for what may or may not be around the corner. In fact, an LPA can play a really important role for each of us now – during the pandemic. Where a donor still has their mental capacity but is simply incapacitated for a period of time, their attorneys can assist with day-to-day things he or she is not able to do. So, people who become hospitalised through Covid or another illness could benefit from having an LPA in place. Similarly, it can be helpful for elderly and vulnerable people who are isolating to have an appointed attorney who can help with important legal, financial and health matters. It means the best interests of a person who is unable to leave their home or hospital bed can be protected.
As a team of Wills and probate lawyers, we certainly haven’t let lockdown stop us helping people get LPAs and other important legal documents in place. We’re using a variety of means to ensure we provide the same, expert advice we always have. Phone, email, video calls – they’re in full swing at Thomas Mansfield! It means our service is as complete and efficient as it was pre-Covid. But we don’t mind admitting that we miss meeting clients in person and can’t wait to be able to welcome you to our offices again.