OPG offers updated guidance in response to Lockdown 2021
Posted on 15th January 2021
With the recent changes faced throughout England, the Office of the Public Guardian has issued updated guidance about the making and registering of Lasting Powers of Attorney throughout this time of social distancing.
Our expert team of Lasting Power of Attorney drafting Solicitors has broken down this update, and explained whether there are any changes which may affect the process of making and registering the final documents.
Signing and Witnessing Lasting Powers of Attorney in Accordance with Social Distancing Guidelines and the Law
In terms of the guidance issued, there are no changes to the law in regards to how a Lasting Power of Attorney must be signed.
Whilst observing social distancing guidelines and any measures introduced under the law, a person must sign an original Lasting Power of Attorney document. The other parties, including the Certificate Provider and Attorneys, must also sign the original document, the same one which the Donor – the person making the Lasting Power of Attorney – themselves have signed.
For example, you cannot simply scan the document once it has been signed by the Donor and then email this to all the other parties; you must send the original, via post (or if they live locally to you, perhaps post it through the person’s door during your allowed exercise), to the relevant parties in the correct order.
As with before COVID-19 measures were introduced by the Government, all witnesses must be present when the party signs the document, and the witness must be shown the blank signature and date boxes before they sign. They must be able to physically see the person sign the Lasting Power of Attorney, i.e. they cannot witness via video-call or sign it as a witness without seeing the person sign because they recognise the person and/or their signature. After the person has signed, the witness must be immediately shown the box with their signature and the date. They must then sign and complete their details straight away.
Social Distancing Guidelines
Any social distancing guidelines, rules or laws in place at the time of making a Lasting Power of Attorney must be adhered to.
You should keep a distance of at least 2m, avoid going into another person’s home (unless you are allowed to in accordance with the guidance) and you should not travel to act as someone’s witness.
If you have instructed our expert Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors in Lancaster to deal with the making and registering of the documents on your behalf, we are allowed to travel to your area to deal with completion of the documents; we will not come inside your property and any home visit will only be prior arrangement with our team.
What happens if the Donor cannot sign the Lasting Power of Attorney?
If the Donor has difficulty using a pen and cannot physically sign the Lasting Power of Attorney, it is possible for someone else to sign on their behalf. In these circumstances, the Donor must still be physically present when the document is signed, and there is also an additional requirement for two witnesses, rather than one. Both witnesses must also sign the Lasting Power of Attorney.
If the Donor cannot sign the document because they have lost capacity to understand what they need to do or what the document is, a Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be completed. Instead, you can contact our team of expert Solicitors in Lancaster to find out how you can manage your loved one’s affairs, and what steps you need to take to be given this legal authority. Contact us online, here, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to get expert help from our team of Solicitors in Lancaster.
Does the Lasting Power of Attorney document have to be signed in a certain order?
Yes. As with before COVID-19 measures were introduced, a Lasting Power of Attorney document must be signed in a specific order to be valid. You can find out more about the correct order to sign a Lasting Power of Attorney from our team of expert Solicitors in Lancaster, here, or give us a call on 01524 581 306 to discuss the order with your expert local solicitors in Lancaster.
How can the Certificate Provider act if they cannot meet the Donor?
The role of the Certificate Provider is to check that the person making the Lasting Power of Attorney – the Donor – has the capacity to make it and understands the document. They are also signing to say that the person making the document is doing so themselves, without undue pressure from someone else.
Simply put, it’s always recommended that the conversation between the Donor and Certificate Provider takes place in person. This way, the Certificate Provider can satisfy themselves that the Donor is alone, and free of anyone else’s influence, and fully understands the Lasting Power of Attorney document. However, the Office of the Public Guardian state in their guidance that government social distancing guidance and National Lockdown rules must be considered before arranging this conversation.
They state that “If this [the conversation between the Certificate Provider and Donor] must be over phone or a video call, the certificate provider should make sure the call is private.”
Where can I read guidance on making a Lasting Power of Attorney?
How can MG Legal help?
Our expert team of Lasting Power of Attorney drafters are here to help. Not only has our team got years of experience dealing with the preparation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney, and registering Enduring Powers of Attorney, our team of Solicitors in Lancaster, Solicitors in Garstang and Solicitors in Longridge have been continuing to provide their expert services to clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and are therefore well versed in the art of making and registry Lasting Powers of Attorney in accordance with the Office of the Public Guardian’s guidance and National Lockdown measures.
To discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney, contact our experts online, here, for a call back within one working hour, or email email@example.com.
Alternatively, you can ‘phone your local solicitors directly on 01772 783 314 (Solicitors in Longridge), 01995 602 129 (Solicitors in Garstang) or 01524 581 306 (Solicitors in Lancaster).
Lorraine and Hope are always happy to help.
MG Legal - Your Local Solicitors
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