KEEP TO THE GUIDELINES BUT DON’T NEGLECT YOUR FINANCIAL AFFAIRS
By Lindsey Taylor
At the time of writing more than two million people have been vaccinated and a further 200,000 are being vaccinated each day. The Moderna Covid vaccine has been approved, a third vaccine in the UK. We are not out of the woods yet, but we have a clear path forward.
Being under a third lockdown affords many people the time to consider their finances. During the initial lockdown nearly a year ago, we had many clients updating or making their first will. Now is the time to consider whether you have ordered your affairs during your lifetime. Due to data protection regulations your family cannot automatically obtain access to your personal, financial or medical affairs. Instead, you must give your authority.
This is to protect your privacy as you may not wish your affairs to be divulged to another person automatically. This is fine when you yourself can make decisions; but what is to happen should you lose capacity. You may have an accident that incapacitates you for a time, some Covid-19 sufferers may be too unwell to manage your own affairs or you may sadly develop a form of dementia as you age. In these circumstances it is important to have formally set out how you wish your affairs to be managed in short or long-term circumstances.
The best vehicle to manage your affairs is a lasting power of attorney (LPA). This is a legal documents that enables you as a ‘donor’ to appoint a trusted person(s) as your attorney(s). You can make an LPA for Heath and/or Finance to cover all your affairs during your lifetime. You may appoint multiple people and even different people for each legal document.
You should never blindly appoint individuals but instead the person or people best situated to look after your affairs. Being an attorney is a responsible position and can be a daily task at times. It is always a good idea to discuss the appointment with your proposed attorneys and if need be you can discuss the documents with a professional. Solicitors who specialise in LPAs can advise and guide you through the appointment, registration and implementation process. Even during the restrictions, it is still possible to make an LPA with a solicitor. You need only contact us to start the process and we will arrange everything in accordance with the government guidelines.
The important point to take away is not to leave matters to the last minute. I have acted for many individuals who have brought a family member to me to make an LPA only for me to give them the sad news that it is too late and their mental capacity to make an LPA has been lost. Whatever you decide to do, take the opportunity now to put your affairs in order so your loved ones do not have the heartache of trying to sort out your affairs whilst you are unable to.
Lindsay Taylor is an Associate Solicitor based at our Covid-secure Hythe Office. For your conveyancing and private client needs you can contact CGM Solicitors on 023 8084 2765 for an appointment.