The Office of the Public Guardian receive a large number of Lasting Power of Attorney applications from individuals as well as professionals. Around 15% of these have errors of various kinds.
You can avoid mistakes being made with our checking service to ensure that none of the usual mistakes are made.
What are the common mistakes?
1) Using the wrong form.
As there are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (Property & Financial and Health & Welfare), many people accidentally use the wrong one. A lot of people use the Health & Welfare form, when they meant to use the Property & Financial form. Another common mistake is using an out of date version of the Lasting Power of Attorney forms or mixing both types of Lasting Power of Attorney applications up.
2) Forgetting individuals names.
Half way through the application you may forget the full names of individuals involved. You may even sign the form where someone else should have signed. It’s essential to have the documents checked over before sending the Lasting Power of Attorney documents for registration with the Office of the Public Guardian.
3) Being vague on Life-Sustaining Treatment.
This isn’t just tick a box on the Health & Welfare form, it’s a matter of life and death. This page is treated very seriously by Parliament, the Courts and doctors. If you want your attorney to make these Life-Sustaining Treatment decisions, our Guidance notes explain where you must sign. If, however, you do not wish for your attorneys to make this decision, our Guidance notes will show where you must sign.
4) Making the unlawful compulsory.
If the Office of the Public Guardian consider a part of the form to contain something unlawful, they have a statutory duty to seek guidance from the Court of Protection. This won’t always invalidate your Lasting Power of Attorney document, but it will slow it down.
The Office of the Public Guardian may also ask the court to sever the offending words, after asking for the doctors consent. The common things they apply to sever or refuse to register are:
- Instructions to assist with suicide or criminal activity;
- Instructions in a Property & Financial Lasting Power of Attorney that relate to Health & Welfare matters and vice versa;
- Instructions to follow the decision of someone else who isn’t an attorney.
5) Being a contrary Mary.
One of the things that can make any legal document unworkable (if not invalid) is contradiction; saying ‘Do A’ on page 1 and ‘Don’t do A’ on page 2. This commonly happens in appointment types, by:
- Appointing Joint & Several attorneys, then instructing them all to make decisions. You need to appoint Joint for some, Joint & Several for other decisions.
- Appointing Jointly, but saying later that one has a casting vote, they can decide by majority or have different powers.
6) Missing pages out.
The Office of the Public Guardian can’t register your Lasting Power of Attorney documents if pages are missing. We check the numbering for each document , and, if required, replace or resend the missing pages, ensuring your Lasting Power of Attorney documents are accepted during registration.
7) Signing the document in the wrong order.
Our bespoke Guidance Notes explain who must sign first and who’s next. The dating order of the document must be in a particular order, again, which our Guidance Notes show you. Please don’t sign the application page (Page 20) saying everything has been signed before it’s actually been signed. It’s a criminal offence to make a false statement on a Lasting Power of Attorney application.
8) A few signatures short of a deed.
For a document to be a deed (legally binding), it has to be signed and witnessed. For Lasting Power of Attorney documents there are additional procedures, like having a Certificate Provider and needing to register the document before it can be used. If signatures or details (like the witnesses full name) are missing, that make the document invalid, the document will be rejected during registration.
9) Using pencil or Tippex
If you use pencil or Tippex, the Office of the public Guardian can’t tell how (or whether) it has been amended, and who did it. Applications with pencil or Tippex amendments will not be registered.
10) Don’t ask us!
Of course you can ask us! We can help answer your queries. Our dedicated team of specialists are on hand to help in anyway that we can.