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Lasting Power Of Attorney

Covid -19: New Guidance for LPAs

| Published on April 24, 2020

In these Covid-19 troubled times we are being asked by our clients how Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) can be witnessed when we are adhering to social distancing.

The problem that we face is that a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a deed, and the law relating to the execution of deeds requires execution in the presence of a witness.

The law has not kept pace with technological solutions to execution of deeds, and certainly did not envisage a global pandemic that keeps most of us indoors for a prolonged period leaving it hard to find a witness.

The Office of the Public Guardian has issued new guidance on witnessing of LPAs to try to take into account the difficulties caused by the requirements of the law.

The OPG advise that;

‘Someone the donor lives with can witness their signature, as long as that person:

  • is aged 18 or over
  • has mental capacity
  • is not an Attorney or replacement Attorney on the LPA

Someone an Attorney lives with can witness their signature, as long as that person:

  • is aged 18 or over
  • has mental capacity
  • is not the donor on the LPA

If there’s more than 1 Attorney and they live together, they can witness each other’s signatures.’

This may help, however it should be noted that if a Donor and an Attorney live in the same house, they will not be able to act as witnesses to each other’s signatures. Unfortunately, this will more often than not be the case where spouses, civil partners or cohabitees are appointing each other.

The guidance may be more helpful for Attorneys living elsewhere who can ask their own spouses or partners to act as witnesses to their signatures when signing as Attorneys.

We can also help and we are on hand to advise in different cases. Please do not hesitate to ask us for advice in these circumstances. Each case is different, but we may be able to offer a home visit or an appointment at our offices where in each case social distancing rules would be carefully observed.

For more information on these services, please contact Chris Keenan, Partner and Head of the Court of Protection Department at our Dorchester Office on 01305 251007 or by emailing Dorchester@hklaw.uk.

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