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Detailed guide: Making and registering an LPA during the coronavirus outbreak

Office Of The Public Guardian

July 3
08:53 2020

Making a lasting power of attorney (LPA) is an important decision that you should think about carefully.

An LPA needs to be signed and witnessed by several people.

Once the LPA has been signed, you need to send it to us for registration. It may then be around 8 weeks before you get the registered LPA back and can start using it. This includes a 4 week waiting period required by law.

Were working hard to continue registering LPAs and keep everyone doing the work safe. However, due to the impact of COVID-19 it might take us longer than normal to register LPAs. Please continue to check our coronavirus response page for updates.

You can still make an LPA during this time. There are other ways people can make decisions for you that are quicker to get in place. These may be useful while youre waiting for an LPA to be registered or if youre self-isolating and need someone to carry out bank transactions for you.

How do I make an LPA during the COVID-19 outbreak?

If you want to make an LPA now, you can still do so while observing government guidance on social distancing, self-isolating and shielding.

The guidance on this page was updated in July 2020. Please check back regularly, as well update this page if government information changes.

You must read this guidance alongside our standard guidance on making an LPA.

This guidance is for people in England and Wales only. There is separate guidance for people in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Signing and witnessing the LPA

From 4 July 2020, government guidance on social distancing will change. You should follow these guidelines to ensure that you satisfy requirements when signing and witnessing an LPA.

Do not:

  • use digital signatures - the document must be printed out and signed by hand with a black pen
  • send people photocopies or scans of the LPA to sign - everyone must sign the same, original document
  • ask people to send you a scan or photocopy of the page theyve signed - we cannot register an LPA that includes scans or copied pages

Witnessing the donor and attorneys signatures

Someone must watch the donor signing the LPA, then sign it themselves to say theyve witnessed the signature. Each attorney and replacement attorneys signature must also be witnessed.

A neighbour can witness a signature, for example, on the doorstep or over the garden fence. Remember to keep at least 2 metres apart. A signature can also be witnessed through a closed window.

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 theres more than 1 attorney and they live together, they can witness each others signatures.

Rules on witnessing

The witness must:

  • be shown the blank signature and date box before theyre signed
  • have a clear view of the person signing the LPA, so they can see the signature being made
  • be shown the completed signature and date box immediately afterwards

Do not witness signatures over video calls, such as Skype or FaceTime. Signatures must be witnessed in person.

If the donor cannot sign the LPA

If the donor is not able to use a pen and cannot sign the LPA, someone else can sign on their behalf.

The donor and 2 other people must be there in person to witness the signature being made. The 2 witnesses must also sign the LPA.

All the rules on witnessing above apply.

Make sure the LPA is signed in the right order

Its very important that the LPA is signed in the right order. If its not, we cannot register it. The donor may have to make a new LPA, get it signed again, and pay another application fee.

The certificate provider and donor conversation

The certificate provider must talk to the donor about the LPA to make sure the donor understands it and is not being pressured to make it.

Often this conversation happens face-to-face. At the moment you may want to think about using a phone or video call instead. The certificate provider should make sure the call is private.

Think carefully about who should be sent the registered LPA

When you make an LPA, youll be asked to say who will be the correspondent. This is the person well send the registered LPA to.

If you think you might need to use the LPA very soon after its registered, think carefully about who should be the correspondent to make sure the person who needs it has access to it.

Organisations, such as banks and care homes, will want to see this original registered LPA when an attorney wants to make decisions on the donors behalf.

If you do not have access to a printer

You can ask a friend or family member to print the forms and post them to you.

You can also ask us to post you the LPA application forms. Our telephone number is: 0300 456 0300

How you can help us register your LPA as quickly as possible

  • Use our online service to make the LPA and pay the application fee by card rather than cheque. Although youll still need to print the completed forms to sign and then post to us, it will take us less time to register your LPA. This is because cheques take much longer to process than card payments. If you make the LPA online, youll also be able to track the progress of your application through the service without needing to contact us.
  • If the donor and attorney have email addresses, include them on the LPA form. This will make it much quicker for us to contact them if there are any issues.
  • Double check your forms before sending them in. Avoid common mistakes, by making sure:

When you post your LPA to us and when youre waiting for the registered LPA to be posted back, please bear in mind that the postal service may be slower than usual. You can see service updates on the Royal Mail website.

Published 17 April 2020
Last updated 3 July 2020 +show all updates
  1. Edited information on signing and witnessing due to changes in social distancing rules from 4 July including link to gov.uk page

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