If you are acting as an attorney or deputy for a vulnerable person, you might be finding it difficult to know what you can and cannot do under the current restrictions. The Government has now updated its guidance for attorneys and deputies, following the recent announcement regarding their roadmap for easing restrictions. This guidance clarifies certain issues, including how to approach visits and what to do if you are also vulnerable.
The guidance confirms that visits to a vulnerable person, especially if they are over 60 or clinically at-risk, should still only take place if absolutely necessary. If you need to speak to them, other methods such as phone or video calls should be attempted first, if possible, to make sure that all parties involved remain safe.
If you are also vulnerable, or shielding, and finding it difficult to take steps on behalf of the other party, it is possible for you to make decisions and ask someone else to help you when carrying them out. For instance, the guidance confirms that you can decide to purchase an item for the person and then ask someone else to buy it for them.
It is also important to remember that your responsibilities as attorney or deputy will continue unless you, or the vulnerable person, take steps to bring your role to an end. It is not possible to suspend your role, although you can delegate certain practical tasks to other people if you need to.
When making decisions for another person, it is important to think about what would be in that person’s best interests. Of course, it is usually best to include the person in the decision-making process if you can. However, if you cannot visit or speak to them, you may need to make a decision yourself. If you are not sure what the person would want, consider what they have said or done in the past and speak to their family and friends, to try to formulate an idea of their present wishes.
Acting as an attorney or deputy is not always straightforward, especially under the current circumstances, and there may be times when you need advice. Our specialist Vulnerable Clients team can advise on appointing people into these roles as well as specific issues which might arise once you have been appointed. If you would like to get in touch please visit our Vulnerable Clients page, or contact our team directly who will be happy to help.
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