Lasting Power of Attorney
In the case of Re Phillips (an order of the Senior Judge made on 16 May 2012) the donor appointed three attorneys – A, B and C. She did not name any persons to be notified, and so there were two certificate providers. The Office of the Public Guardian refused to register the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) as one of the certificate providers, X, was a member of the family of A. X was the unmarried partner of A and they did not live at the same address. X had declared in the part B certificate that he was “the partner of A and have known the donor for 3 years”.
The attorney applied to the court for a direction to register the LPA and the Public Guardian was joined as a respondent.
The court ruled that X was to be treated as a member of the family of A and therefore the LPA could not be registered.
The judge said, “In my judgement, anyone who describes himself in this context as the attorney’s partner is courting trouble and automatically disqualifies himself from being a person who can give an LPA certificate. This applies regardless of whether he describes himself as the attorney’s partner intentionally or inadvertently, whether they live at the same address or at separate locations, whether the relationship is intimate or platonic, and whether the statement is true or false”. Even if X was not treated as a family member he was still not independent of the attorney which is a requirement of the LPA form.
The case highlights the importance of ensuring the right people are chosen for the different roles under a LPA.