How long does it take to get a power of attorney set up? Not that long at all, in the scheme of things. But it’s natural to want yours in place ASAP. After all, it’s a vital bit of protection for you, your assets and your loved ones.

Relax. Here, we’ll talk you through all the timings involved in getting a power of attorney, or PoA, so you can rest assured there’s not too much longer to go.

 

How long does a power of attorney take to get from a legal professional?

Before you can actually register the power of attorney, you need to fill out the right form. 

It’s possible to do this yourself — in which case, how long it takes is up to you. But many people prefer to use a professional legal service.

  • With a solicitor, a PoA form can take 1 to 3 weeks to sort out, depending on the availability and flexibility of the solicitor, the complexity of your PoA, and how prompt you are at providing the information they need.
  • With an online PoA service, it can be much quicker: you can fill out the form at your own pace, getting immediate advice whenever you have a question. You could sort it out in one or two days.

In either case, you may need to set aside an evening or two to gather information and decide for yourself what you want the PoA to say. What are the contact details for all your attorneys, replacement attorneys and people to notify? Are there any preferences or instructions you’d like to leave for your attorneys? Have a think.

 

How long does it take to get a PoA registered?

It usually takes 8 to 10 weeks for The Office of the Public Guardian to register a power of attorney, so long as there are no mistakes on the form. It may take longer if there are issues they want to look into, although this is rare.

If you do make a mistake on the form, the OPG may let you correct it and apply again within three months. This will cost an additional £41.

 

After the registration…

After registration, there is a three week period for people to object to the PoA. If someone decides that the person who made the power of attorney (the donor) was forced or pressured into doing it, they have three weeks to put in a complaint. It’s up to the Court of Protection to decide if this is true or not.

For obvious reasons, if it’s the person who made the power of attorney who has a problem with it, the PoA is stopped right away. 

But if they’re objecting because they have lost the mental capacity to understand what is happening, you can apply to the Court of Protection to argue that it should go ahead.

 

Once it is registered, how long to get the power of attorney activated?

After the PoA has been registered, it’s technically ready to be used right away, if the conditions are right.

This depends on the type of power of attorney it is.

If it’s a health and welfare power of attorney, it can only be used if/when the person who made it (the donor) loses the mental capacity to make decisions.

With a property and financial power of attorney, it again depends: how was it set up? In some cases you can use it as soon as it is registered, with the donor’s permission. In others, it will have been made so that you have to wait until the donor loses mental capacity. Read the PoA to be sure.

If you’ve made a power of attorney, your next step really should be making a will. Here at Beyond, you can make a will to protect your family in just 15 minutes online. And at £90, it’s hundreds less than a traditional solicitor. Find out more here.

 

How long does it take to become power of attorney if the person has already lost capacity?

Once someone has lost the mental capacity to make decisions, it’s too late to make a power of attorney. Instead, their carers should apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy. 

This process is a lot more in-depth and there is a great deal of scrutiny. Timings vary greatly, but anecdotal evidence suggests it can take five months or more to become a deputy.

Compared to the cost of a PoA, becoming a deputy is very expensive. It costs £365 to register as a deputy, with an additional fee of £485 if the case needs a hearing. Supervision fees are £100 upfront and £35-£320 a year, depending on the level of supervision needed. 

So, it is better to encourage someone to make a power of attorney while they are well, as soon as possible. 

You can find out more about the deputy system here.

 

Find out more about making a power of attorney

Here at Beyond, we have all kinds of guides to making a PoA. Check out our admin and legal section here to see them all.

 

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