Cannot Sign A Lasting Power of Attorney

Published / Last Updated on 05/11/2014

Video explains the solution if you lose physical capacity but you still want to appoint a lasting power of attorney but cannot sign the paperwork.


“Hello there, quite a serious topic today and the topic is: lasting powers of attorney.  

I have already done previous videos and articles on lasting power of attorney but to refresh the memory of those who perhaps haven't seen those videos already those articles:

A lasting power of attorney is you giving permission to your loved ones or your friends or your professional adviser to look after your affairs if you are not able to do so either through a physical or mental incapacity.  So you give people power to look after you, make decisions about your health or your money, your wealth if you were not able to do so.  [And] those are lasting powers of attorney.

There are two types:

  1. To do with health
  2. To do with wealth

Now sadly, it was speaking to a client, a new client, over the last couple of weeks that has raised this particular subject that I thought I might share with you.  [And] that was a lady contacted me and clearly I can't disclose who that is or anything like that, but in the circumstances, her partner, her husband he had become physically incapacitated.  He literally cannot move.  

Now he hasn't made any lasting power of attorney, so that is clearly proving very difficult where the particular gentleman can't even sign his name, he can't lift up a pen.  He can literally press a button at the moment but is mentally all there but physically he can't do anything.

He can't look after himself but there are no powers of attorney in place.  The lady hasn’t done powers of attorney yet and that becomes a problem. 

How do we deal with that? [And] so I want to do is just explain what happens in those circumstances.

Within the Office of the Public Guardian, that the part of the court service that deals with powers of attorney and approving powers of attorney, if you become physically incapacitated but you still have your ‘marbles’, you still have mental and cognitive power:

  • if you can get your message across to witnesses, to loved ones etc. (if you can communicate) then it still is possible for them to make lasting powers of attorney for their health or for their wealth.
  • they can do that but what you would then need is an additional signatory to the power of attorney e.g. a doctor where they certify that this person does know what they're doing.
  • it is just the fact that they not able to sign that power of attorney

So all I wanted to do was just set the example there, where: what if you have a loved one who hasn't made a power of attorney but they still have mental capacity?  They just don't have physical capacity.

You can still make a power of attorney or two powers of attorney for the health and the wealth but, we will need to then approach it on a slightly different basis where e.g. medical professionals will also sign as witnesses because you personally won't of signed it, you won't be able to sign it, as you was an attorney.  But they will be able to sign to say this person understands what they’re doing and they do have mental capacity.

Clearly, that’s very, very difficult for us all and so the only piece of advice here, the guidance I can give to anybody, is do not leave it until it is too late.  We can sort out your powers of attorney in literally a matter of an hour or so.  Yes, there's lots of paperwork to do behind the scenes and things like that but the fundamentals of you giving your instructions to us to say: this is what I would like, these are the people that I would like to have power over my affairs if I'm not able to do so.

Don't put it off.  I believe this is more important than doing your will so think about it:  powers of attorney.

I've explained what happens if you do lose physical capacity you can still make your powers of attorney if you have mental capacity and can be understood but suggest that none of us leave it until it's too late. Get your powers of attorney sorted out today. Thanks very much watching.”

Related Videos

Videos Channels

Explore our Site

Money MOT
T and C