Signing your lasting power of attorney

Once you have completed your lasting power of attorney forms, you need to sign them, along with attorneys, replacement attorneys, witnesses and your certificate provider, before you can register them.

Signing should take place as soon after you have made the LPA as possible. You don’t know when you might lose mental capacity and registration can take up to 10 weeks. If your LPA has not been registered before you lose capacity, it has no legal effect. So it is important to act as quickly as possible if it is to be useful.

The process of signing doesn’t always seem straightforward because you need each person to sign in the correct order.

Who can witness each section of the LPA

Each signature on the LPA form, as well as the date of signature, must be witnessed by someone.

The signatures of attorneys, in theory, can be witnessed by the other attorneys. However, because it would be more difficult to challenge a claim of undue influence if attorneys do act as witness for each other, it is always best to use completely unrelated third parties such as friends or neighbours to act as witnesses for the attorneys.

Attorneys cannot witness the donor’s signature (that of the person making the LPA).

All witnesses must be over 18 years of age.

The certificate provider can be a witness to the donor’s signature, and is often the best choice, since he or she must be present to certify the LPA anyway.

Order of signing

The donor signs first.

There may be multiple places to sign, including in Section 9 of the form and on any additional continuation sheets if extra space was required to record all the wishes.

The witness to the donor’s signature signs next (usually the certificate provider).

Then the certificate provider completes Section 10.

The attorneys and replacement attorneys can then sign Section 11 in any order. Each person needs to complete this section individually.

The witness to the attorneys’ signatures then signs.

Timing

If you appoint two attorneys and two replacements, there will be seven or more people required to sign. Arranging for all these people to be in the same place can be very difficult.

It is best if everyone can come together on the same day. However, that may not be possible.

You can split the process into two by having the donor sign in front of the certificate provider on one day, then having attorneys and replacement attorneys sign on another day.

If you can’t bring all attorneys and replacements together simultaneously, then they can sign at different times, provided there is someone to witness them doing so.

Should you complete the details of witnesses on the LPA form before they sign?

The donor can complete the name and address of the witness in advance of him or her signing. However, we recommend that you do not do so, simply because on the day itself, you might have a different witness to the one you expected to have. It doesn’t take long for the witness to complete his or her details.

Making amendments and corrections

During the registration process, the Office of the Public Guardian can be very strict when considering any amendments or corrections to an LPA in order to make sure fraud is not committed. Often, the best way of making corrections or changes is to complete a new copy of the page.

If you wish to make very minor changes, such as those to spelling mistakes, you can cross through the error on the form and write the correct wording next to it. Amendments should be initialled by the person who made them and the witness to his or her signature.

Once an LPA has been registered, amendments are not allowed. If you want to make any, you have to complete the forms afresh and register them again (at cost).

Making an LPA

Net Lawman offers an online LPA service, similar to the one that the UK government offers, but with specific focus on matters that people with early stage dementia will find helpful. It has been developed alongside Unforgettable.org, a leading dementia products and services retailer.

The basic service is free to use. If you would like help from a professional will writer, including for your forms to be checked before registration, then a series of paid options are available.

Please note that the information provided on this page:

  • Does not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law;
  • Does not constitute legal advice by Net Lawman;
  • Does not create a contractual relationship;
  • Does not form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.
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