COVID -19 - Enduring Powers of Attorney - New Immediate Modification Order
An article was released by our team last week which outlined changes the Government had implemented by way of Immediate Modification Orders. Changes were made to Wills and Oaths and Declarations so these could be witnessed via Audio visual link. A further Change has been implemented this week in relation to Enduring Powers of Attorney.
Immediate Modification Orders
Immediate Modification Orders last only whilst we are in a state where the Epidemic Notice has been issued - when society returns to "normal" so too will our laws.
Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney is the legal document used to set out who can take care or your personal or property matters in the event that you cannot, or in the case of property it may be that you want someone to be able to assist you.
The person you appoint is called your “Attorney”. Your Attorney needs to sign the document as well as the person making the Enduring Power of Attorney (“Donor”). The signatures of both the Donor signature and the attorney/attorneys need to be witnessed. The Donor’s witness needs to be a lawyer, an officer or employee of a trustee corporation , or a legal executive.
You can see how during lockdown getting these documents witnessed at the moment poses a problem. Many Donor’s wanting to sort their Enduring Powers of Attorney may in fact be vulnerable With Covid-19 it is more vital than ever that vulnerable people can still sort their affairs during these times.
The recent change allows Enduring Powers of Attorney to be signed and witnessed via audio visual link, Zoom FaceTime , Skype all available mechanisms to use.
The change clarifies that all the following ways of witnessing can be done by audio-visual link:
Authorised witnesses can witness the Donor (or a person directed by the donor to sign on the donor’s behalf) sign a copy of the document by audio-visual link.
The Donor can observe a person, whom they have directed to sign on their behalf, sign a copy of the EPA by audio-visual link.
Authorised witnesses can sign a copy of the EPA in front of the donor by audio-visual link.
Witnesses can witness the attorney, or attorneys, sign a copy of the document by audio-visual link.
It should be noted on the document that it is being signed via an audio visual link due to an Epidemic Notice being in force.
A copy or scanned version of the copies must then immediately be sent to the person who has been chosen to hold the Enduring Power of Attorney.
The temporary change in relation to Powers of Attorney came into effect on the 24th April 2020 and will remain in place until the end of the epidemic notice.
The Enduring Power of Attorney will still be valid post Covid 19. However, it may be best practice for parties to all sign the same documents when it becomes safe to do so.
The change means you are still able to set up an Enduring Power of Attorney through us as your lawyer during lockdown. It is comforting to know that in these times people have the ability to still sort and arrange their affairs. We are here to help with all your questions, preparation of requisite documentation and setting up of electronic meetings.
Please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Trusts and Estates Team.