I write having just spent one hour and 10 minutes certifying 31 copies of lasting powers of attorney for five clients.
Under current requirements, if a client wishes to have a certified copy of an LPA prepared by a solicitor, then the firm has to: photocopy every page of the LPA (16 pages using the current version); stamp every page with a certified stamp; and then manually write ‘page 1’, ‘page 2’, etc of the LPA dated [date of LPA] on every page. An individual solicitor then has to personally sign every page. Chartered legal executives and paralegals are not authorised to certify LPAs. This process is very time-consuming for both solicitors and support staff, as well as using lots of paper. Surely there must be a better way?
What I propose is that the LPA rules be changed so that, in future, when an LPA is registered, a Certificate of Attorneyship is produced. This would be a one-page summary (rather like a grant of probate) which states the name, date of birth and address of the donor and attorneys, how the attorneys can act, what type of LPA it relates to (health and welfare or property and financial affairs) and (possibly) any legally binding instructions. It would then be much simpler for a solicitor to certify this summary. I am sure that banks, insurance companies and pension providers would appreciate only having to
keep a record of a one-page summary rather than scanning 16-page documents for every client. Also, a wider range of people should be permitted to certify LPAs.
Philip Evans, associate solicitor, Graham & Rosen, Hull