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Guidance for LPAs: All About Certificate Providers

LPA

Here at Face to Face Estate Planning, we know that the process of getting a Lasting Power of Attorney can be complicated and difficult; especially when it so often occurs at a difficult stage in people’s lives. That’s why we’ve written before about people to be notified on LPAs, as well as the new “Use an LPA” service.

In today’s article, we’re going to be covering a little-known part of the LPA process: the certificate provider. Read on to get all the information you need.

What is a certificate provider?

Because LPAs are often signed by vulnerable people, part of the regulations of getting one put in place is that they must also be signed by a certificate provider. This is someone who can testify that the person signing the LPA (and therefore transferring some decision making about their life on to somebody else) is doing so with the full understanding of what they’re doing. The certificate provider is also signing to prove that the person hasn’t been forced into signing the LPA, and isn’t under duress.

Because of this, there are specific requirements for who can and can’t be a certificate provider on an LPA. It’s important to be aware of these, as choosing the right certificate provider to verify your LPA is an essential part of getting your LPA put in place properly. Whoever you choose, you need to be sure that they’ll be able to demonstrate that they understand what’s involved in the LPA, have the skill to assess that you understand the LPA, are able to verify that you are not acting under pressure or duress, and they should have detailed knowledge of your financial and personal situation.

Who can be a certificate provider?

So, it’s vital to understand the rules about who can and can’t be a certificate provider on your LPA.

A certificate provider must be either:

  • A friend or colleague who has known you well for over 2 years
  • Your doctor, lawyer or somebody with professional skills to judge that you’ve not been forced into making an LPA, e.g. a GP, social worker, barrister, etc.

If you’re using somebody who has known you for over 2 years, you must ensure that they have known you well – the guidance specifically says that the person must be “more than just an acquaintance”. They must know you well enough to be able to have an open and honest conversation with you about making your LPA, as they will be confirming certain aspects of it by signing the LPA.

If you’re using somebody with relevant professional skills, choose somebody like your GP, a solicitor, a registered social worker, or an independent mental capacity advocate. You may have to pay a professional person to carry out this service.

Our estate planning team here at Face to Face Estate Planning can also operate as certificate providers for your LPA. Simply speak to your Face to Face consultant for more details, or get in touch with us here.

Who cannot be a certificate provider?

We’ve covered who can be a certificate provider – now here are the people who cannot be a certificate provider:

  • Under 18 years of age
  • At attorney or replacement attorney for the LPA
  • An attorney or replacement attorney for any other LPA that you’ve already made
  • A member of you or any of your attorney’s families
  • An unmarried partner of either you or any of your attorneys
  • A business partner or employee of either you or any of your attorneys
  • An owner, manager, director or employee of a care home where you live, or a member of their family

Can a certificate provider also be a witness?

Yes, a certificate provider can also be a witness to your signature on the LPA form. They are often a good choice for this, as they must be present at signing to certify the LPA.

It’s important to make the right choice for the certificate provider for your LPA. If you don’t, you may end up invalidating the LPA. The certificate provider can be called to the Court of Protection to justify that they have certified the LPA correctly – so if anybody does challenge your LPA, you’ll need to make sure your certificate provider is able to do this.

Need help with your LPA? Face to Face Estate Planning can help. We’re the friendly experts in Lasting Powers of Attorney. Get in touch with us today.