MG Legal Solicitors 
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"Power of Attorney" written on the top of a legal document, with a pencil pointing to the title; our Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors in Preston discuss LPAs and who signs the final documents.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which can be put in place to allow a person (the Donor) to appoint a person or people that they trust to act on their behalf (the Attorneys) to make decisions. This can either be decisions about Health and Care or Property and Finances. If the Donor wants to make sure that they are covered for both types of decisions, they will need to make two separate Lasting Powers of Attorney, one for each type of decision. 
Once the Lasting Power of Attorney [LPA] documents have been correctly completed, they must be signed by the Donor, the Certificate Provider – the person who is attesting to the fact that the Donor has capacity to be making the documents, the Attorneys, and the witnesses – who are watching you sign the documents and confirming that you have signed them in their presence. Everyone must sign the documents, in the correct order, before they can be registered. When our Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors in Preston are instructed to assist with the preparation of your LPAs, more often than not, we act as witnesses to most- if not all- of the parties’ signatures to the documents. 

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When are Lasting Power of Attorney documents signed? 

As soon as you have provided our LPA Solicitors with the necessary information, our team will prepare the documents on your behalf, and arrange for you to attend the office to go through and sign the completed the documents, with our Solicitors in Preston acting as your witnesses.  
Once you have signed, your attorneys will be required to sign the original documents, too. If they are local, they can attend upon one of our four offices, signing the documents in the presence of a member of our team acting as the witness. If the attorneys live further away, or abroad, our LPA Solicitors will send the documents via post, so the attorneys can sign them in the presence of an independent witness. 

How quickly do LPAs need to be signed? 

Our Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors always try and arrange for signature of LPA documents as quickly as possible, sending the originals to the attorneys quickly after our clients have signed. The official Office of the Public Guardian guidance recommends that they are signed at the same time, by all parties, as far as possible, although this is- for obvious reasons- not always practical and, in practice, happens rarely. 

Do I need to register my Lasting Powers of Attorney straight away? 

Providing that a Lasting Power of Attorney is signed whilst you have capacity, and it has been completed and witnessed correctly, your Attorneys could register it in the future. However, our Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors in Preston would not recommend this as: 
If there are mistakes on the form, or if anyone has not signed it correctly (even the witnesses), then it is likely that it will be rejected. If you have lost capacity, you would not be able to re-sign it. Therefore, your Attorneys would be unlikely to be able to make decisions on your behalf, or deal with your affairs. 
Between the time of applying to register the document and receiving confirmation of the registration from the Office of the Public Guardian (which is in the region of 26 weeks, as of March 2024), your Attorneys will not be able to make decisions on your behalf. If you have lost capacity and the Attorneys are awaiting the completed and registered document from the Office of the Public Guardian, they may not be able to make decisions. 
If, for example, you need medical care urgently, or they need to access your bank account to pay for your day-to-day living, they will not have the power to help you. 
So, for these reasons we usually recommend registering the forms as soon as you have signed them. That way, any mistakes or omissions can be corrected and, hopefully, as soon as you need help, you will be able to receive it. 

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We are the experts. 

Here at MG Legal, our team of friendly solicitors are fully-qualified and have over thirty years' experience in helping clients just like you. 
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When you work with MG Legal, your solicitor will be in regular contact so you have step-by-step updates. 
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Multiple office locations. 

If you are looking to instruct our solicitors, we have offices in Garstang, Longridge, Lancaster and Lytham for your convenience. 

Who can witness Lasting Powers of Attorney? 

Every signature on a Lasting Power of Attorney, except for the final section – applying to register the document – and the Certificate Provider’s signature, must be signed in the presence of a witness, who must also sign the documents. 
More often than not, when our Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors draft the documents, a member of our team will act as the Certificate Provider and the witness for the Donor. However, quite often, we will send the documents out to the Attorneys, for them to sign and have witnessed themselves. Due to this, many Attorneys will contact us to check who can act as their witness. 
In theory, the signatures of the Attorneys could be witnessed by the other Attorneys. However, in practice, our team generally suggest an independent person acts as the witness, as with most other legal documents, this is best practice to avoid any disputes or issues in the future. Therefore, we would ask Attorneys to use an independent and unrelated person, over the age of 18 who has capacity themselves, to act as a witness. For example, a neighbour, a colleague, or a friend would suffice. 
In terms of the Donor, the Attorneys cannot witness their signature. This must be someone independent and, again, over the age of 18 with capacity. 
When the Lasting Power of Attorney is signed, the Certificate Provider must also sign to certify that the Donor has capacity. Therefore, we would suggest that the Certificate Provider acts as a witness for the Donor. 

In what order should Lasting Powers of Attorney be signed? 

With both Financial Decisions and Health & Care Decisions Lasting Powers of Attorney, the Donor must sign the documents before anyone else does. In fact, as a rule of thumb and to make it easier to remember, the pages should all be signed in order. However, to clarify, the Attorneys can sign in any order – as long as the class of them sign at the correct time. 
The order for signing is: 
The Donor 
The witness to the Donor’s signature 
The Certificate Provider 
The Attorneys/replacement Attorneys 
The witness to the signature 
The Donor or the Attorney(s) sign the application to register 
Providing that the Lasting Powers of Attorney are signed in the correct order, the documents do not have to be signed on the same day or at the same time. The Donor could sign one day with the Certificate Provider, then ask the Attorneys to sign over the next couple of days. 

Can I complete the witnesses’ details before they sign? 

Yes, you could complete the section for the name and address of the witnesses before they sign the documents, however, it is not always recommended to do this. If the witness is unable to sign the document when the Attorney is ready, they may want to use another witness. If they do so, the Attorney and witness would need a new page to sign and complete. Fortunately, it will not take the witness long to sign and complete their details. 

Making amendments and corrections to the Lasting Powers of Attorney 

During the registration of the documents, the Office of the Public Guardian could reject the documents if any amendments or corrections are not dealt with properly. The best way to deal with these is, quite often, to replace the pages, especially if they need to be signed. 
However, if you have no option but to amend the documents by hand, you should cross through any errors and write the correct word or number next to it, initialling the amendment and having the witness initial, too. For example, if there is a spelling error on the page where the Attorney is signing, they should make the amendment, and then initial, with the witness initially, too. 

Making a Lasting Power of Attorney 

At MG Legal, our expert Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors in Preston offer a first-class service for making and registering the documents. We have years of experience in drafting Lasting Powers of Attorney for people who are making them well in advance of needing them, to people who are recently diagnosed with dementia or another degenerative health condition. 
As members of Longridge Dementia Friendly Community, our team pride ourselves in being able to help people of all walks of life to complete the documents that they need, before it is too late. 
You can contact our team online, here, or by contacting your local office to arrange an appointment. 

Contact Us Today: 

To speak to our Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors in Preston, contact us online here. 
Or give us a call on 01772 783314. 

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