A simpler and cheaper process for enacting Lasting Powers of Attorney should soon be available in Guernsey and is being welcomed by local charities.
The Committee for Health & Social Care has published a draft of the long-awaited legislation. The Committee hopes it will be debated by the States soon and approved by deputies.
“The Committee for Health & Social Care is pleased that the Ordinance giving effect to the introduction of Lasting Powers of Attorney has been published for debate on 30 March,” said the President of the Committee, Deputy Al Brouard.
“The ability for islanders to be able to plan for their future will be of great comfort to many and will ease the pressure for families and friends when a loved one may no longer have capacity to manage their own affairs.”
Pictured: Deputy Al Brouard hopes to steer the new law through the States' Assembly in the next few weeks.
What is Lasting Powers of Attorney and why is it important?
Under the current legal framework (the Powers of Attorney and Affidavits Law 1995) a person can give another person the ability to make legal decisions on their behalf, but it is a complicated and expensive process which often requires the extensive advice of an Advocate.
It also requires a person to have the mental capacity to confer their power onto someone else. Once a person loses that mental capacity, the Powers of Attorney lapse and Guardianship is required instead. Obtaining Guardianship can also be a complicated and expensive process.
“At the moment, the system we have is that, if you want somebody to help you manage your affairs, you have to apply to the court and the vast majority of the time you have to use an Advocate and it can cost up to £3,000,” said Kerry Ciotti.
The new Ordinance proposes allowing a person to grant Lasting Powers of Attorney which would not lapse. It would also remove the requirement for an Advocate and reduce the cost to £100.
Pictured: Kerry Ciotti, Chief Executive of the Citizens Advice Bureau.
“You could then choose who you want to look after you when you’re older," said Ms Ciotti.
“Lasting Powers of Attorney gives somebody the ability to choose who they want to help them through the time when they need help and beyond when they’re not capable of knowing if they do need help.
“We’ve been bringing this up for nearly 10 years and it was one of the points we sent to all the candidates in the 2020 election.”
Pictured: The late Roger Perrot. In April 2014, while he was a Deputy, he led a requête in the States which raised the issue of Lasting Powers of Attorney. That requête has resulted in the draft law which the Assembly expects to consider shortly.
The draft legislation has also been welcomed by the Guernsey Alzheimers Association.
Manager Julie Thompson said: “As a charity, it’s a really good thing that people can make that decision a lot earlier on.
“You can have the peace that your wishes will be followed.”
If the Ordinance is approved by the States and registered, it will be possible to apply for Lasting Powers of Attorney online – www.guernseyroyalcourt.gg – or by collecting the necessary paperwork at the Greffe.
“Our advice would be, at the moment, if you need Power of Attorney, hold off. In a couple of months you’ll be able to sort out Lasting Powers of Attorney,” said Ms Ciotti.
Pictured: The Committee for Health & Social Care announced in August 2021 that it was making progress on the draft law and hoped to submit it to the States soon.