Coronavirus: Should I make a Power of Attorney? | Watermans Legal

Coronavirus: Should I be making a Power of Attorney?

As our country faces uncertainty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, questions are being asked about Power of Attorney and what options are available.

You may be wondering how your financial affairs will be dealt with if you fall unwell while self-isolating, or if you can still organise a Power of Attorney during lockdown.

Shawn Wood, a solicitor at Watermans, discusses the importance of a Power of Attorney, or PoA, and how we can help during the COVID-19 crisis.


What is Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows another person to act on your behalf if you’re unable to.

For example, if you fall ill from contracting the Covid-19 virus, and are unable to manage your own affairs, a Power of Attorney allows the nominated person to make decisions for you, including consenting to medical treatment.


Can I still organise Power of Attorney without a face to face meeting?

 While lockdown is still in place, we can act quickly to prepare your Power of Attorney online, and this can be done by phone, email and video call.


Shawn explains: “We can take instructions over the telephone and by email and have a free initial consultation. When it comes to signing, we are required to sign a certificate to say that we interviewed you immediately before signing and confirm that you have full capacity to sign.

“The Office of Public Guardian have allowed us to do this remotely due to the social distancing measures. We can set up a video call (using Zoom, Facebook, or WhatsApp) which will replace the usual face to face meeting when signing the documents.”


Do I need a Power of Attorney?

 The short answer is, yes – everyone should have a PoA. Once organised, the document never expires and lasts a lifetime. It may never be used but it will give you peace of mind knowing that if the time comes where you are unable to manage your affairs (either temporarily or permanently) then the PoA can be used to assist.

You can amend the Power of Attorney at any point to add or remove attorneys providing the you have capacity to make changes.


Why should I get a Power of Attorney?

One benefit of having a PoA is that a person you trust can manage your affairs when you are unable to do so.

For example, your attorney can help you run your financial affairs (even whilst you have capacity) which may include attending the bank, making payments on your behalf, signing documents etc.

This may prove to be particularly useful during the current pandemic if you need to self-isolate at home.

Your attorney can also deal with your welfare needs, but only when you do not have capacity. This would allow your attorney to consent to medical treatment on your behalf.

Additionally, without a PoA, your relatives or friends will find it very difficult to deal with your affairs. If you do not have the capacity to grant a POA then your relatives or friends would need to apply for a guardianship order. This is a time consuming and expensive process which will be decided at the local Sheriff Court.

If you have any questions about our services or wish to make a Power of Attorney, please contact our legal team.

Throughout 2020, we’re offering NHS staff a discount on legal services, including the cost of Power of Attorney. Head to our contact our legal team to learn more.