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Ordinary Powers of Attorney and the Coronavirus

View profile for Emma Radford-Shayler
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You may be familiar with Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA), as they have been advertised on government websites and in the media in general. They are very valuable documents to have, but before they can be used, they have to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. This can take two or three months at best. This can pose a problem in to unexpected and troubled times all of us find ourselves living through.

To give an example, if you have to self isolate and need someone to do your banking for you, having to wait two or three months for your LPA to be registered could cause you financial hardship. Not everybody wants to or is able to set up online banking, especially if to achieve this you still have to go to a physical bank.

The answer to the problem is the ordinary power of attorney. This is often a simple, one page document that lets you nominate a chosen person or persons to act on your behalf for either all your financial affairs or specified financial affairs.

The advantage of the ordinary power of attorney is that they only have to be signed by the donor, only need one witness and take effect immediately. Your attorney can then take the document (or a solicitor-certified copy) to the bank to prove their status and then, after any of the bank’s requirements have been satisfied, be able to help you run your financial affairs.

The weakness of an ordinary power of attorney is that it cannot be used if you have lost capacity (if, for example, you are seriously ill and in a coma). So, although the ordinary power of attorney is useful in specific situations, you should seriously consider also making a Lasting Power of Attorney, even if you wait until the peak of the coronavirus situation is over, as this will cover the worst case scenarios as well. 

Our private client team will be very happy to discuss powers of attorney in general with you, both on the telephone or via video calls, or in person from a safe distance if required.

Contact our experts for further advice