Trusts and Estates

In our article 'Do you know about the changes affecting enduring powers of attorney?', we advised that changes to the law governing enduring powers of attorney were imminent. Those changes in fact came into force on 16 March 2017.

The main change is that all enduring powers of attorney will now be on new forms. The purpose behind the change was to make the enduring power of attorney process simpler. The new forms are in plain English and certainly make enduring powers of attorney much easier to understand. In addition there is also a standard explanation which sets out the important points about enduring powers of attorney.

Whilst these changes achieve the objective of making enduring powers of attorney easier to understand the forms are much longer and some clients may now find the volume of documents they receive somewhat overwhelming.

In addition to ensuring that every client understands the documents they are signing, legal advisors now also have to sign a certificate confirming that they believe their clients have understood the effects and implications of entering these documents and that they are not under any undue pressure or duress to do so. So while the wording of the documents is simpler, the processes surrounding the signing of enduring powers of attorney with additional obligations on the advising solicitor or legal executive, have become more arduous.

To meet these legal obligations, appointments dealing with enduring powers of attorney will now take longer than they previously did.

One significant practical improvement from the previous regime is that if two of our clients are making reciprocal appointments, now one solicitor or legal executive within our firm will be able to attend on both of them. However, as independence is important in this area for the protection of clients, if the appointment is not reciprocal and we have acted for one or more of the attorneys you are appointing then we will still need to organise for you to have independent legal advice.

Despite the additional obligations solicitors are now assuming, our costs for preparing enduring powers of attorney will remain the same. If you do not have a power of attorney in place and wish to do so please give one of our experts a call today.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.