During this pandemic, Rose & Trust of Bristol have still been preparing Power of Attorney (LPA’s) for our clients. However achieving this, remotely in many cases, has brought with it new issues, some of which we will cover in this article.
Making a lasting power of attorney (LPA) is still an important way for a person to help another with their finances or welfare. We understand that the Office of the Public Guardian are still taking around 8 weeks to register the powers, which includes a 4 week waiting period required by legislation.
It is still perfectly possible to make these documents whilst observing social distancing, shielding and self-isolating. The latest government guidance on social distancing can be found here, these are constantly under review, the latest review being in July. This is in addition to the general guidance which was in place prior to the pandemic and can be found here standard guidance. There are also now local lockdown restrictions and these vary area to area. Those applicable to Bristol for Power of Attorney can be found here.
Importantly the government has provided valuable guidance on signing and witnessing. To ensure the documents are not rejected by the Office of the Public Guardian please ensure you do not:
- Use digital signatures, these will be rejected and the documents must still be signed with a black pen
- Send photocopies or scanned copies for signing. The original Lasting Power of Attorney document must be signed by all parties
- Ask parties to the document to send scanned or copied pages, again this will not be accepted.
Witnessing the donor and attorneys can be completed via a number of methods. We understand many clients have achieved this through windows, car windscreens etc, and again we urge clients to consider the guidance on social distancing before embarking on this essential process. The rules on witnessing have been in place for some time and the witness must:
- Have shown the blank signature portion and date box prior to signing
- Be present and have a clear view of the signature they are witnessing
- Have shown the completed signature immediately afterwards
The certificate provider is an essential part of the process, the certificate provider must ensure the donor had the necessary mental capacity, and understood what they were agreeing to with their Lasting Power of Attorney. We have found during this difficult time that family doctors have been willing to perform this function, although we must stress their time is extremely valuable and their assistance cannot be taken for granted.
Rose & Trust of Bristol are reviewing their policy on home visits to complete Lasting Power of Attorney for our clients on a regular basis. Due to the age of many of our clients we are currently not offering such a service, however we are still able to complete the documents remotely for our clients. Please contact is on 0117 369 1969 if you would wish to start the process of completing your LPA.