“Does neighbour’s loss of life imply I want a brand new Lasting Energy of Lawyer?”

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In our weekly legal pillar, the leader, with the expert advice of the GHP Legal team, goes to work to answer some of your problems. Today’s question will be answered by lawyer Ulia Choudhry …

My lawyer died of coronavirus. Do I have to create a new LPA?

Q: I have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and appoint my neighbor to be my attorney. I set it up a few years ago when the LPA took over the old Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). Unfortunately, my neighbor recently signed Covid-19 and died. I have now realized that her death likely rendered my LPA unusable. Do I have to prepare a new LPA?

A: If you have only appointed an attorney and not a substitute attorney, you will need to create a new LPA as you do not currently have an attorney. This means that in the event of a loss of capacity, you will not have a lawyer available to assist you in making decisions on your behalf.

A permanent power of attorney is a crucial part of future planning. Hence, you were reasonable in already having a power of attorney in place. However, it should be noted that when creating your new LPA, you can appoint more than one attorney, and you can also appoint substitute attorneys.

Lawyers can be appointed jointly or severally. If they have been appointed together, they must unanimously agree on decisions. When one lawyer dies, the others can no longer act as the LPA has ordered them to work together as a unit. If the attorneys are jointly and severally appointed, they can make decisions without the consent of the other attorneys and continue to make decisions on your behalf even if one attorney dies in your life.

If you have any doubts about the best option to set up a new LPA, contact your lawyer who can help you review the required documentation and advise you on what to do next.

• This question was answered by Ulia Choudhry, a lawyer at GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, you can still do so and we will do everything we can to ensure that we continue to provide a high level of service to our customers. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our attorneys are currently working remotely, which means you may not get a response as quickly as you expect. Please contact us and we will reply as soon as possible.

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