Suddenly the everyday tasks that we took for granted before the COVID-19 pandemic such as visiting the bank, paying bills and withdrawing money become impossible during a period of self-isolation.
If you, or indeed a close friend or family member, are currently self-isolating at home, you might be worrying about how to manage this situation. There is a simple and straightforward solution – an ordinary power of attorney.
What is an ordinary power of attorney?
An ordinary power of attorney (OPA) is a temporary arrangement whereby you give someone you trust the authority to deal with your financial affairs while you’re unable to do so.
You can give someone power of attorney to deal with all your financial affairs or for specific matters only, for example, to manage your bank account, or deal with utility providers.
Unlike a lasting power of attorney (see below), an OPA doesn’t need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian so is effective as soon as you sign it. Also, you can quickly cancel the OPA when you no longer need it.
The only instance in which an OPA isn’t suitable is if you have a mental health problem or disease, which can lead to mental incapacity.
What is a lasting power of attorney?
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a longer-term arrangement and plan for the future. When you set up an LPA you appoint one or more people who will make decisions on your behalf when you’re no longer able to do so, i.e. you lose your mental capacity, or you no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.
There are two types of LPA – one covers your health and welfare while the other concerns your property and financial affairs.
If you’re currently in the process of setting up a financial LPA or considering one, we recommend you also set up an OPA to cover your short-term situation. It takes approximately three months to set up an LPA, whereas an OPA can be done within a day.
How do you set up a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document, so if you want to set one up, you will need to speak to a solicitor.
We’re still able to offer this service during the Coronavirus lockdown. We’ll talk you through the process by phone or video chat. And, when the documents are ready, we’ll arrange to witness you sign the documents either at your home or at our business premises while fully complying with the government guidelines on social distancing.
We currently charge £120 + VAT for a single OPA or £160 + VAT for a couple’s OPA.
Our fees for setting up an LPA start at £395 + VAT, and we’re currently offering a free OPA to all clients who instruct us to set up an LPA. If you have any questions on lasting powers of attorney or would like to set one up, please call us on 01404 515427 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.