Why Lasting Power of Attorney could simplify the process of selling property

Posted on: April 17th, 2019

Lindsay Taylor, Solicitor in the Wills, Trusts & Probate team at Coffin Mew, discusses why LPAs are important during the sale of property, drawing on her own personal experiences.

The importance of having a Power of Attorney can not be stressed enough. My own mother is in the sad position of needing to apply to the Court of Protection in order to obtain the legal right to sell my grandfather’s property and manage his finances: otherwise known as a ‘deputyship’, all at a cost far in excess of that involved in making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

For those who have made a LPA, or indeed the older – but equally valid – Enduring Power of Attorney, this carries with it the legal authority to sell any property owned by the ‘donor’ – the person who made the power. This allows the attorney to release funds from the property, which can be used both as an investment for the donor and care home fee funding, should the donor require residential care.

When selling a property, there is now an additional requirement that attorneys should be aware of. The Land Registry (the governmental body that hold master records of land ownership in England) has itself been a target of fraudsters. You may have heard of horror stories in the news about properties being transferred under the real owner’s noses. There are, of course, safeguards in place to avoid such scams and many of these have been implemented by the Land Registry itself.

The aim of the LPA is to take the stress and complications of managing finances out of the hands of the donor (who may have lost the capacity to handle their own affairs, or may simply feel they require assistance in the paperwork side of matters) and into the hands of chosen attorneys.

When selling a property, it used to be the case that only the attorneys needed to be identified in accordance with money laundering regulations – as the individuals with the legal authority to sell.

Now, being mindful to potential fraud and for the added protection of the property owner, the Land Registry requires that the owner/donor also be identified at the time of the sale. This can seem like an extra hurdle for attorneys to leap, however, this can be dealt with easily at the beginning of any transaction, provided the donor can be seen by a solicitor to verify ID.

If the donor made the LPA recently with the firm they are selling with, they can be easily identified by the solicitor who acted in the making of the LPA – this can simply be confirmed with the solicitor acting on the sale.

It is one of our core aims to ensure that any transaction we assist you with is dealt with as speedily and simply as possible; whether that be selling your property or ensuring your finances are managed properly.

For more information on LPAs and the Land Registry, please contact Lindsay Taylor.