So, you’ve finished filling out the lasting power of attorney (LPA) form. Well done! Now there’s just the somewhat daunting task of getting all the right people to sign it (and in the right places). 

Not to worry. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to signing a power of attorney here.

 

Who needs to sign a power of attorney?

One of the things that’s important to remember about signing a power of attorney is that all the people involved need to sign in the right order. This is as follows:

  1. The donor (with a witness)
  2. The certificate provider
  3. Attorneys and replacement attorneys (with a witness)
  4. The person who is registering the power of attorney 

Below, we’ll take you through who can sign the power of attorney and where. We’ll also explain who is allowed to be a witness. 

Before you start: every person who has to sign a power of attorney form should read it carefully first. You’re entering into a legal agreement and it’s important that all the details are correct!

 

Step 1) The donor signs the lasting power of attorney

 

Who is the donor?

The donor is the person signing over power of attorney. The power of attorney form is there to let someone the donor trusts act for them if they lose the ability to make their own decisions.

 

Where do they sign the power of attorney?

The donor signs the following sections of the lasting power of attorney:

    1. Section 5 (the bit about life-sustaining treatment), if it is a health and welfare LPA.
    2. Continuation sheet(s) 1 and 2, if using them.
    3. Section 9.

Ideally, the donor would sign them all on the same day. But the important thing is that they sign section 9 after the other two.

 

Does the donor need a witness?

Yes! The witness must be over 18 and cannot be an attorney or replacement attorney. They also can’t work for a trust corporation that is being made an attorney or replacement attorney. The certificate provider would make a good witness.

Each witness should watch the donor sign and then sign themselves. You can find out more about who can witness an LPA here.

 

Step 2) The certificate provider signs the lasting power of attorney

 

Who is the certificate provider?

Your certificate provider signs the power of attorney to say that they believe that the donor has the mental capacity to make this decision and that they are making it of their own free will.

There are strict rules on who can sign power of attorney forms as a certificate provider, and who can’t. You can find them all here. 

 

Where do they sign?

The certificate provider must read sections 8 and 10 before signing section 10.

It’s very important that they sign after the donor and before the attorneys.

 

Do they need a witness?

No. But there are a lot of people who aren’t allowed to be a certificate provider, so make sure you read our guide before choosing someone.

 

Step 3) Attorney(s) and replacement attorney(s) will sign the lasting power of attorney

 

Who are the attorneys?

An attorney is someone the donor has chosen to make decisions and act for them if they ever lose capacity. There can be more than one attorney.

 

Who are the replacement attorneys?

A replacement attorney is someone the donor would like to take over making decisions if the original attorney isn’t able to. Again, there can be than one.

 

Where do they sign?

Both the attorney(s) and replacement attorney(s) have to sign section 11. 

It’s very important that they sign after the certificate provider.

 

Do they need a witness?

Yes, each attorney and replacement attorney’s signature needs to be witnessed. Each witness must be over 18 and they can’t be the donor. Attorneys and replacement attorneys can witness each other’s signatures, if that’s easier.

 

Step 4) The person who is applying to register the lasting power of attorney signs

When you’re ready to register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian, the person applying to register needs to sign it and send it off. You can do this now, or later on if/when the LPA is needed.

 

Who applies to register the power of attorney?

The donor or the attorneys. If you filled out the LPA form online, you might have already made this decision.

 

Where do they sign?

Section 15. This needs to be the last signature on the LPA: wait until all the others have been taken care of.

 

Do they need a witness?

Not for this part.

 

Have a question about how to sign a power of attorney?

Not sure where to sign the power of attorney or if your witnesses are suitable? You can call for help! Contact the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) on 0300 456 0300.

 

Can I get power of attorney without a signature?

You need the permission of the donor to make a power of attorney, and they must have the mental capacity to make that decision.

If they are unable to sign because of a physical disability, they can just make a mark and that’s okay. Someone else can sign for them — but only if they give permission in front of two witnesses who also sign. There’s a special continuation sheet for this.

If the donor has already lost mental capacity, you need to apply for a deputyship instead. We have more on this here.

 

That’s it!

Now that you know how to sign a power of attorney form, you might be interested in our other LPA guides. Find out about the health and finance LPAs and take a look at what attorneys do. Or take a look at the definition of a power of attorney here.

 

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