A new piece of legislation introducing lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) to Jersey is a welcome addition to the Island’s legal framework, according to a lawyer at Bedell Cristin.
The Capacity and Self-Determination (Jersey) Law 2016 comes into effect next week on 1 October 2018.
Individuals in the island will, for the first time, be able to make legally binding arrangements for the management of their affairs, which will continue upon their subsequent loss of mental capacity.
Similar powers have been available in other jurisdictions for some time: England and Wales have had LPAs since 2007 and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) since the 1980s. Donna Withers, head of probate and wills at the international law firm, had extensive experience of advising clients in relation to both LPAs and EPAs in England prior to relocating to Jersey.
Withers says: “When advising on wills and estate planning in Jersey, many clients are keen to put in place arrangements in case they become incapacitated. The introduction of Jersey LPAs will bring peace of mind to such clients. LPAs will enable islanders to exercise their right to self-determination by appointing an attorney of their choosing to manage their affairs if they one day find themselves incapable of doing so.”
The new legislation will introduce two types of LPA for Jersey: one for health and welfare – including daily routine and medical choices – and one for property and financial affairs.
“Jersey LPAs are designed to be low cost and easily accessible through an online portal. However, care should be taken when preparing them to ensure that any conditions are clear, lawful and unambiguous so that the LPAs are not rendered unworkable. Further, there have been many media headlines relating to cases in the UK in which LPAs have been used to financially abuse vulnerable people and consideration should be given to the inclusion of safeguarding clauses,” says Withers.