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Powers of attorney administration is continuing cause for concern

Significant and stressful backlog of applications is time-consuming and expensive for families

28 May 2014

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Thousands of people dealing with the affairs of relatives who have lost mental capacity are experiencing considerable delays and expenses setting up a power of attorney, according to a report in The Times.

Julie Man, head of the private wealth department at Mundays, said that the awareness and need for powers of attorney is growing. "[It's] partly down to the ageing population and conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer's affecting more and more of our elderly people, meaning more people are realising that they should have this power.

"However, this surge is creating somewhat of a backlog at the Office of the Public Guardian where all powers of attorney have to be registered before they can be used.

"Currently, the timescale for an application to go through is taking up to 14 weeks and in some cases more.

"This backlog can cause additional stress and difficulties for families trying to care for elderly relatives who are trying to manage the finances and perhaps organise a sale of their home to meet care fees."

Research shows that about 750,000 people in the UK have dementia, a figure that is set to hit 1 million by 2025.

Man adds that without a power of attorney, the only other alternative is applying to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy.

"People going down this route do not fare any better," she said. "The Court of Protection is normally a longer and more costly process with ongoing involvement from the court and court fees."

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Vulnerable Clients