Certification of LPA

An attorney has contacted me with regard to five certified copies of a Property & Finance LPA which I recently sent him. He has been told by no less than three banks/building societies with whom he is seeking to open new accounts that they insist not only on certification but also dating on every page. Hitherto I have only dated the final page. The fact that he was been told the same by three companies suggest some (new?) industry standard has been established. Are any other members aware of this and from where it emanates?

Tim Gibbons

I think the issue stems from the Government website guidance on how a Donor can certify an LPA themselves https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/certify , one of the requirements is that each page is signed and dated.

The website also says that certified copies can be made by a solicitor or notary. I cannot see a specific reference to how a solicitor should certify a copy, but if the banks are demanding the same manner of certification a Donor should use, it will be impractical to persuade them otherwise.

Another question is, how much do you then charge for the certified copy in view of the time involved?

Chris Burrows
Glaisyers Solicitors LLP

Let’s think about this: a document is supplied, certified as a true copy of the original. If it is, nothing more should be needed.

The addition of a date is an indication that on that date it was a true copy of the original. On a later date it may not be. That’s because the original is (for example) biodegradable, and it has changed between the date of the certificate and the date it is being looked at for a second time. Or, the paper on which the certificate is given is a special type, as they would use in Mission Impossible, which might change its wording between the date of the certificate and the date it is being re-looked at.

I cant see the slightest reason why there should be the need for a date. Do we look at an office copy probate and check to see the date the office copy was issued?

Julian Cohen
Simons Rodkin

I have always certified every page of LPAs, which is no fun at 16-18 pages each. This is because I assume the lowest common denominator when dealing with bank staff.

Iain Cameron
Acer Legal

2 Likes

The British Banking Association issued a consumer leaflet in November 2015 which states the following:

The LPA form you give to the bank or building society must be:
• the original document or a copy which the OPG has stamped every page of; or
• signed on every page by the donor, a solicitor or a notary to confirm that it is a true copy of the original LPA.

No mention of dating every page.

I would suggest the attorney refers them to the leaflet and asks them to reconsider their decision.

Samir Hussain
Gregsons

We always date each page.

Patrick Moroney

In response to Julian Cohen- I think one reason for dating a certified copy (at least once) is that endorsements may have been made subsequently- in particular, an attorney may have renounced, died
or been discharged by order of the COP.

Tim Gibbons

I have never dated the certification and so far no issues.

Monika Patel
Stapletons Solicitors

But what Tim Gibbons says is correct, is it not? There may have been a change since the date of the original, evidenced by an endorsement on the original. That’s why, when conveying a piece of land,
a purchaser’s solicitor always insists on seeing (or receiving at completion) the original grant of probate. A mere office copy is insufficient, because it is only a copy of what the original said at the date it was issued.

Julian Cohen

Simons Rodkin

The whole process of certifying an LPA needs reviewing. The current process is that for a donor to certify a define statement on each page is necessary with an additional statement on the final page. The average LPA is around 20 pages which result in some 21 statements with 21 signatures. With both types of LPA this results in around 42 signatures. An aged Donor can easily get confused with the wording. A solicitor will charge the earth to validate the document. As a Will writer I am not allowed to certify such document, why not.

It’s about time the 2 LPA documents were combined into the one document and that the Will writer/Certificate provider is able to certify. The banks consistently have failed to understand LPA’s.

Now is the time for the OPG to simplify the process which hopefully will bring the cost down for the general public.

Graham Carver
York Estate Planners

The aggregate IQ of all know bankers is not a positive number.

Jack Harper

I would like to say that I frequently (in fact usually) certify LPAs for my clients at no charge at all.

Sue Adams

Steele Raymond

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I have said this on this forum before, but it bears repeating.

Life would be so much simpler if the Office of the Public Guardian was able to issue a single page “certificate of registration”, similar to a grant of probate, which shows that X’s LPA or EPA has been registered and that Y and Z are the attorneys, subject
to whatever restrictions are included in the particular document.

Anthony Nixon
Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth

2 Likes

I have long thought there should be the option to have a combined LPA.

I can only think that Donors are expected to choose an attorney with emotional intelligence for H&W and attorney with financial intelligence for Financial.

In practice I find Donors choose their attorney on the basis of trust rather than skills.

Plus as cost is a deterrent, esp to couples, so that Donors often only complete one LPA when they should do both.

Barry Abrahamson
Abrahamson & Associates

I like Sue do not routinely charge if they are clients of the firm.

I do think that it is rather harsh that a Chartered Legal Executive cannot certify though!

Kathy Melkerts

Melkerts Solicitors

I have always signed and dated each page and that is also how I certify any other document. I also charge ÂŁ30 for each certified copy.

Claire Flood
Claire Flood Solicitors

The current copying nonsensical procedure needs to change…the OPG should AUTOMATICALLY provide (say 6) one page stamped certificates confirming the salient OPG details which banks etc are required to accept. Whoever thought up the current system doesn’t live in the real world !
JOHN EDGE
Retired Solicitor
Legal Eagle Wills Ltd

2 Likes

sorry substitute “LPA” for “OPG” in last post.

JOHN EDGE
Retired Solicitor
Legal Eagle Wills Ltd

This is nuts. A certificate on the front page by a solicitor that its a true copy of the document should suffice. Other correspondents are right that the banks have picked up on the requirement for attorneys to self certify. We need STEP or the Law Society to contact the banks and point out to them a single certificate is more than adequate. No other document gets more than one.
I charge a unit of time for each one I certify at the moment. Its a laborious process if you have to certify husband and wife powers and equally medical ones.

Nigel George
Garner & Hancock

Whatever one’s views on the form of certification required to validate a copy power of attorney, if a copy does not comply with the requirements of s.3 Powers of Attorney Act 1971, or any alternative legal requirement, it is not a valid copy and cannot be used as proof of the power. S.3(1) states:

(1) The contents of an instrument creating a power of attorney may be proved by means of a copy which—(a) is a reproduction of the original made with a photographic or other device for reproducing documents in facsimile; and (b) contains the following certificate or certificates signed by the donor of the power or by a solicitor, authorised person or stockbroker, that is to say — (i) a certificate at the end to the effect that the copy is a true and complete copy of the original; and (ii) if the original consists of two or more pages, a certificate at the end of each page of the copy to the effect that it is a true and complete copy of the corresponding page of the original.

It is not for either The Law Society or STEP to tell the banks, or any other institution, that they need to accept a document that falls short of the legal requirement. If change is required, it is for Parliament to enact the appropriate legislation.

When the 1971 Act was passed, powers of attorney rarely extended beyond a single page. The page count increased with enduring powers, and has now exploded with lasting powers. Mindful of the ongoing distraction to Parliament’s business as usual, perhaps the way forward might be to encourage the promotion of a private member’s bill to resolve the situation?

Paul Saunders