Witnesses for EPA

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
My mum is in a nursing home and we are thinking of completing an EPA. We are wondering who we could ask to be witnesses and wonder if anyone had been in this situation before and had any suggestions. Can staff members act as witnesses, or do homes have any kind of policy against this? We have difficult family relationships so are worried about doing this properly to reduce the likelihood of problems if and when it comes to be registered.
 

Cate

Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
1,370
Newport, Gwent
Hiya

I'm not sure that it matters that much (sure members will let you know if it does), we had a neighbour of mum's witness hers, her solicitor was OK with this.

Cate
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Cate said:
Hiya

I'm not sure that it matters that much (sure members will let you know if it does), we had a neighbour of mum's witness hers, her solicitor was OK with this.

Cate
Hi Cate

If she still lived at home then neighbours would be the easiest choices. I also understand that there is nothing to stop family members being witnesses, provided they are not the actual attorneys. However, I am wondering whether it would be better to have someone unrelated as then no one can ever make accusations that there is some kind of conspiracy afoot.

I think we may need 4 people altogether as one may actually have to sign for her, one has to witness the signature and two people are then just 'normal' witnesses.
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Áine said:
I think when we did dad's the solicitor's secretary came along to be witness.
We weren't considering using a solicitor so that rules that one out! I'm still trying to work out how many people we need, but am sure it will be more than one.
 

Lila13

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
1,342
The solicitor and a neighbour witnessed my mother's.

Would it be any use asking the relations (the ones who don't trust you) to recommend someone?

Lila
 

Cate

Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
1,370
Newport, Gwent
Hiya

We only had one witness to mums signature. Not sure that one signing for her is OK, again I'm sure there are other members who are more expert in this than me, but I think your mum has to be able to sign for herself, being of 'sound' mind etc., and knowing what it is she is signing. Mine field isn't it.

Cate
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Cate said:
Hiya

We only had one witness to mums signature. Not sure that one signing for her is OK, again I'm sure there are other members who are more expert in this than me, but I think your mum has to be able to sign for herself, being of 'sound' mind etc., and knowing what it is she is signing. Mine field isn't it.

Cate
You can have someone else to sign for you, but you then need 2 witnesses for that. Therefore we need someone to sign for my mum, 2 people to witness that signature, and then someone to witness the attorneys' signatures. I think that one of the witnesses to my mum's signature could also witness the attorney's signatures.

Of course, if the attorney can't sign themselves, they then need 2 witnesses, instead of one! Luckily that's one problem we don't have!
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Lila13 said:
Would it be any use asking the relations (the ones who don't trust you) to recommend someone?

Lila
It's not really a case of the relatives not trusting me, as far as I know. If they didn't trust me then they would not be willing to assist in any way, I wouldn't have thought!
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
When we created the EPA for Jan, some years before I registered it, only a single witness was required, besides the person to be attorney [me].

It may be different where the attorney is not a spouse.

I'd check with the Public Guardianship people, but the booklet says
This section gives information for donors signing an EPA. You must sign the EPA form and have your signature witnessed by an independent person (not your attorney).
To the person for whom the EPA is made, the booklet says
You must have a witness present when you sign (not your attorney and preferably not your husband, wife or civil partner). The witness doesn’t need to know what is in the EPA.
Clearly when the attorney is to be the spouse this is not really practical.

You could also check with the Legal Help person at the Alzheimer's society via the Help line
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
I think the situation is more complicated where the person cannot sign for themselves. They then need someone to sign for them plus 2 witnesses to that signature, neither of whom can be attorneys.
 

Helena

Registered User
May 24, 2006
715
As long as the witnesses are not also attorneys it does not matter who you use

I see no reason why Nursing home staff or friends can not be asked its certainly better not to use relatives

Theres no need to go to the expense of getting solicitors involved

Is their a Chaplain who visits the home or a GP they are likely to be happy to help
 

Nell

Registered User
Aug 9, 2005
1,170
68
Australia
The staff at Mum's NH will not sign anything. Their reasoning, which I find quite sensible, is that if there is any future problem (eg. was the person coerced into agreeing? etc. etc.) they cannot be a part of any legal activities / family arguments / whatever, that may arise. Not only would it be time consuming and take them away from their duties, it could potentially have legal implications for their organisation / business. Furthermore, it would add additional stress to what is already a stressful job.

I suggest you try to have people other than NH staff to be witnesses. Nell.
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Nell said:
The staff at Mum's NH will not sign anything. Their reasoning, which I find quite sensible, is that if there is any future problem (eg. was the person coerced into agreeing? etc. etc.) they cannot be a part of any legal activities / family arguments / whatever, that may arise. Not only would it be time consuming and take them away from their duties, it could potentially have legal implications for their organisation / business. Furthermore, it would add additional stress to what is already a stressful job.

I suggest you try to have people other than NH staff to be witnesses. Nell.
That all makes a lot of sense and I can understand a nursing home having that kind of rule and wouldn't blame them. However, that makes it difficult to find witnesses without using family members.

My sister was going to ask the NH manager so I will wait and see what response she gets.
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
noelphobic said:
We weren't considering using a solicitor so that rules that one out! I'm still trying to work out how many people we need, but am sure it will be more than one.

Provided your mum signs herself the the form and the instructions quite clearly say you only need one witness.
Why not bring a friend with you?
Michael
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Michael E said:
Provided your mum signs herself the the form and the instructions quite clearly say you only need one witness.
Why not bring a friend with you?
Michael
Because my mum can't sign for herself.
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
noelphobic said:
Because my mum can't sign for herself.
You need to read the free book 'Enduing Power of Attorney' which comes from the Public Guardianship Office. Page 15... What if I physically cannot sign myself?

It is a bit long to reproduce here but works on the assumption that your mum is capable of understanding what she is doing but simply physically cannot sign her name.. or make a mark. One or two things have to be altered on the form

If you cannot make a mark or sign your name because of physical illness or disability you can choose someone to sign for you - NOT the POA witness or the Attorney

So it looks like you need to bring two friends with you - one to sign on her behalf and one to witness the signature...

I suspect you are skating on pretty thin ice here - if she cannot sign because of the AD then in a way you are too late... However assuming your mum has a pretty modest estate and all you are trying to do is to manage her affairs for her benefit then 'bending' the rules is probably OK.. I think it would be unfair to ask care home staff to witness all this.. I think it would be better to explain the situation to a couple of friends - I can see know reason why relatives (who are not going to be attorneys) should not be the witnesses or the sign on her behalf but I should give the PGO a bell to make sure.... My feeling is you should register the POA soon after - informing the other close relatives so that any 'doubt' as to your intentions or suitability is revealed.

Sound like a lawyer but actually I have my copy of the excellent little book in front of me..

good luck

Michael
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Michael E said:
If you cannot make a mark or sign your name because of physical illness or disability you can choose someone to sign for you - NOT the POA witness or the Attorney

So it looks like you need to bring two friends with you - one to sign on her behalf and one to witness the signature...

I suspect you are skating on pretty thin ice here - if she cannot sign because of the AD then in a way you are too late... However assuming your mum has a pretty modest estate and all you are trying to do is to manage her affairs for her benefit then 'bending' the rules is probably OK.. I think it would be unfair to ask care home staff to witness all this.. I think it would be better to explain the situation to a couple of friends - I can see know reason why relatives (who are not going to be attorneys) should not be the witnesses or the sign on her behalf but I should give the PGO a bell to make sure.... My feeling is you should register the POA soon after - informing the other close relatives so that any 'doubt' as to your intentions or suitability is revealed.

Sound like a lawyer but actually I have my copy of the excellent little book in front of me..

good luck

Michael
I think we need 3 people - one to sign on her behalf, one to witness the signature and one to witness the POA. However, I think it also says somewhere that if you are not signing for yourself then you need 2 witnesses - it is obviously the not being able to sign for oneself that complicates the whole matter.

As far as informing other relatives once it is registered, my understanding is that the 3 nearest relatives have to be informed. This can, however, include yourself. Therefore my sister and I would have to inform our brother, who has not seen our mother for over a year. This is where he would suddenly develop an interest in her .....

The irony of this is that part of the reason for having an EPA is to protect her from 'predators' - we have to inform the chief potential predator that we are doing this!
 

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
5,379
NW England
noelphobic said:
As far as informing other relatives once it is registered, my understanding is that the 3 nearest relatives have to be informed. This can, however, include yourself.
Unless I have missed something essential myself, I have no need to notify anyone (in the family) that the EPA is now registered - the notification requirements came BEFOREHAND to allow any relatives entitled to notice to object to the registration itself ....... and if you and / or your sister are POAs you are 'out of the counting' is terms of that notification....

The 'three relatives rule' is 'AT LEAST 3'.... Section 41: Of PGO Guidelines: "If there is more than one person in any of these classes of relatives, entitled to receive a notice, they must all be given notice."

Hope that's of some help.... Karen, x
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Tender Face said:
Unless I have missed something essential myself, I have no need to notify anyone (in the family) that the EPA is now registered - the notification requirements came BEFOREHAND to allow any relatives entitled to notice to object to the registration itself ....... and if you and / or your sister are POAs you are 'out of the counting' is terms of that notification....

The 'three relatives rule' is 'AT LEAST 3'.... Section 41: Of PGO Guidelines: "If there is more than one person in any of these classes of relatives, entitled to receive a notice, they must all be given notice."

Hope that's of some help.... Karen, x
Yes, I think I put that badly but I'm not thinking straight at the moment for various reasons. I believe that you do in fact give notice of your intent to register the EPA.

You are also right as far as 'at least 3 relatives'. As my mum has 3 children, in our case it would be a case of making sure we were all informed.
 

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