I must confess I had always thought that a ‘certified copy’ of a document needed to be signed by a solicitor or notary. Solicitors are regularly asked to provide a certified copy Lasting Power of Attorney for clients, and scribbling your signature on endless ‘certified’ pages, handwriting going from bad to worse, is very much part of the job. Certified copies are typically used where the client is reluctant to commit an original, important document to the post, and it would be safer to send a photocopy.
Finding myself wandering through the remoter reaches of the Office of the Public Guardian’s website yesterday, I discovered that there is in fact a useful Third Way when it comes to certifying Lasting Powers of Attorney. As long as the person who created the Lasting Powers of Attorney still has mental capacity to make decisions for themselves, it turns out that they can in fact certify a copy of their own Lasting Power of Attorney. I’d go so far as to suggest that it would be an excellent idea to prepare at least one set of certified copies for yourself as soon as you receive your registered deeds, as they may come in useful in the future.
The attorneys can then use the certified copy to exhibit to banks, utility providers or whoever is necessary, to prove that they have authority to act on behalf of the donor.
In a pinch, a certified copy can even be used by the donor or the attorneys to register the Lasting Power of Attorney, if the original has gone missing.
How to Certify a Copy
So how do you certify a copy of your own Lasting Power of Attorney? The wording requested tends to vary slightly from one organisation to another, but the Office of the Public Guardian suggests that you write the following at the foot of every page of the photocopy: –
“I certify this is a true and complete copy of the corresponding page of the original lasting power of attorney.” [sign and date]
…and on the final page, just to be different:
“I certify this is a true and complete copy of the lasting power of attorney.” [sign and date].
Use a Lasting Power of Attorney
The Office of the Public Guardian introduced a new system this year which allows attorneys to confirm their authority to act to banks and other organisations online. It should make this process much quicker and more efficient than the old, paper-based version. As a result, I imagine that in future there will be less need for certified copies than there has been historically, bringing welcome savings on biros and a reduction in hand cramps in the legal profession.
Chiltern Wills is a Will writing business based in Beaconsfield and run by former London solicitor Rebecca D’Arcy. Call us on 01494 708688 or complete a Free Online Enquiry to discuss making your Lasting Powers of Attorney.