6 things you need to know about Lasting Power of Attorney
You may have heard of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and understand why you need one, if not read our blog post on ‘what is an LPA and why do I need one?’. In essence, it’s a way of allowing someone you trust to act on your behalf (known as an Attorney) if you’re ever unable to make decisions for yourself, either through illness or an accident. It’s a fairly straightforward document, but as with any legal document, there is a specific way and order an LPA is set out, and if not they won’t be registered correctly. To make registering easier here are some things you should know:
1. Anyone over 18 can and should have one
While having an LPA in place is essential for everyone reaching old age, but anyone over 18 can register one. And it’s a good idea for everyone at any age as you never know when you might suffer an illness or accident which could permanently or temporarily mean you lose mental capacity. Appointing an attorney to make decisions for you will allow them to make decisions on your care and access funds to pay for those and other expenses.
2. You need what’s known as a ‘certificate provider’
As well as finding someone to be your attorney you also need a ‘certificate provider’. When registering you need declaration signing confirming that you understand what giving Power of Attorney means and that you’re not creating it under pressure nor that it has been completed fraudulently. The person who signs this is declaration is known as the ‘certificate provider’.
That can be someone who has known you for at least two years or someone with relevant professional skills to assess their capacity such as a financial advisor, doctor, nurse, will writer or solicitor. Any friend, colleague or neighbour who has known you that long would be a perfect certificate provider.
There are some exemptions; you cannot have anyone under the age of 18, a member of yours or the attorneys family, a business partner or employee of you or the attorney. If you live in a care home, it can’t be the owner, director, manager or employee of the care home. If you’re appointing a trust corporation as an attorney, then it can’t be a director or employee of the trust or any of their family members.
3. You’ll also need a witness
Each signature on an LPA needs to be witnessed by an impartial person, the primary requirement being it has to be someone over the age of 18. However, an attorney can’t witness a donors signature and vice versa. The best choice is often your certificate provider as they will be present at signing anyway.
4. They must be signed in a specific order
When you’re ready to sign your document signatures need to be taking in a specific order; firstly the donor signs, then the certificate provider, finally the attorneys and replacement attorneys add theirs.
To avoid complications and to speed up the processing, all parties should sign and date on the same day. If anyone is unable to sign on that day it can be signed separately, but it must still be signed and dated in the above order, or it faces being rejected by the Office of the Public Guardian.
5. They can’t be changed after registering
Once registered with the Office of Public Guardian an LPA cannot be amended. If you haven’t registered your form yet but want to make significant changes to a completed form, then the best way to change something would be to start again; otherwise, it might not be accepted. If there are only minor alterations, such as minor spelling mistakes, then you may cross through the error and write the correct wording next to it. But make sure any amendments are initialled by the person making the amendments as well as the witness.
6. Copies need to be certified
When giving banks or financial institutions a copy of a registered LPA, it has to be certified as an exact copy on each page of the document. This doesn’t have to be done by a solicitor, as long as the donor has the mental capacity they can certify.
To do so, you must sign each page of the copy at the end of the page with your signature and date as well as the words “I certify that this is a true and complete copy of the corresponding page of the original”. On the last page of the LPA, you must sign and date in the same way with the words “I certify that this is a true and complete copy of the original”.
You can read more about registering on our Lasting Power of Attorney page. Or if you’d like our help in registering or have any other questions don’t hesitate to get in touch at us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by using our contact us form or call us on 020 8619 0358.