Appointing a friend or member of the family to look after your property or financial affairs is something those choosing to stay at home during the ongoing pandemic should consider according to a partner at a leading Cheshire law firm.
Alex Mitchell, partner and head of the Wills and Probate Department at Watsons Solicitors in Warrington, says individuals could grant a loved one the power to manage their affairs on their behalf to enable them to remain at home with a Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’).
Many at-risk people, who were previously advised to shield, have continued to do so in one way or another.
Although many things can be done online, some transactions or functions do require a person to be physically present. Because of this, granting someone the authority to carry them out on your behalf may be a wise decision.
Alex said: “People tend to focus on the fact that LPA are useful if someone loses capacity; but because a Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used if you still have that capacity, the nominated person, your Attorney, can assist you if you’re shielding or if going out into enclosed public spaces is too much.”
Your Attorney can go to the bank on your behalf, pay bills, collect social security benefits or deal with other transactions.
An LPA must be signed in the presence of a witness, but Watsons are able to advise clients how to do this in the Pandemic when an appointment in their office is not possible, taking into account a person’s health and ability.
Alex added: “I have one client who’s deaf, and one of their family members contacted the office. A telephone appointment or video call wasn’t ideal to provide them with advice, so we’ve sent the client a letter setting out the options they have, and they have responded in writing to us. We can then have a video call or telephone attendance to finalise the detail.
“We have to be careful with remote working that we are dealing with the correct client, that they’re not being influenced, and they have mental capacity, but the added built-in safeguard with an LPA is the person making it has to see an independent person face to face to certify they have capacity to make it.
“Because of this, we are taking initial instructions by non-face-to-face methods, if other methods are not possible.”
Watsons Solicitors, which has been established for more than 60 years, specialises in family law, employment law, wills and probate, personal injury and conveyancing.
The team of experienced solicitors each hold various accreditations and memberships of professional bodies relevant to their expertise, while the firm’s partners oversee all areas of work.
For more information visit www.watsonssolicitors.com