Michael Scott, is the co-owner of the award winning, locally based, specialist, home care company Right at Home Mitcham Streatham and Dulwich. Here we focus on the importance of appointing lasting powers of attorney despite the painful bureaucratic process. 


“Keep out of Chancery. It’s being ground to bits in a slow mill; it’s being roasted at a slow fire; it’s being stung to death by single bees; it’s being drowned by drops; it’s going mad by grains”. Charles Dickens Bleak House 1853 

Baby Boomers and Public Services 

As it moves through the decades, the baby boomer bulge, creates big pressure on public sector services.  Now aged between late 50s and late 70s, the boomers together number about 14 million people.  As they join the pensioner ranks they become increasingly dependent on public services, especially the NHS and social care.  They are also registering a flood of Lasting Powers of Attorneys (LPoA).   

Delays at the Office of Public Guardian 

LPoAs are handled by the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) and the OPG is struggling to cope.  There are two types of LPoAs: one for finance and one for health & welfare.  Each form is 20 pages and when sent off to be registered, goes with another form which is 6 more pages.  The OPG has to handle around 90,000 applications a month.  Incredibly, in the world of paperless offices, they handle around 19 million sheets of paper a year!  All hard copy applications have to be scanned, checked and registered. 

Once filed, the turnaround time is currently around 20 weeks.  The forms need to be completed very carefully as any errors or omissions will result in the forms being rejected.  The poor applicant forfeits the fees (£82 per form) and has to start all over again! 

Why You Need LPoAs Now 

Despite this hassle and delay everyone (young and old) should complete and register both LPoAs.  Hopefully the attorneys will never needed, but these forms (both health and finance) are arguably the most important legal documents you will ever sign. 

Each year there are many heart-breaking stories in the papers where next of kin (who without the LPoA for health) are staggered to learn they have no legal standing as regards the treatment and care for their loved ones.  During Covid you will recall the shocking story of a grand daughter arrested for “rescuing” her grandmother from a care home.  Your Mum or Dad may tell you they do not want to go to a care home, but if they lose mental capacity with no appointed attorney, any decision regarding their health and welfare will be made by the “health professionals” acting in what they determine to be the best interests of your Mum or Dad. 

Similarly with no LPoA in place for finance, anyone who loses mental capacity, will have no access to their money until a deputy is appointed in the Court of Protection – a long and expensive process.  

Statistically by the time we reach 85, fifty per cent of us will be living with some form of dementia.  Accidents, early onset dementia and other medical conditions also occur causing a loss of mental capacity.  For you own sake and the sake of your loved ones don’t put off filing your LPoAs – it may save a tragedy becoming a disaster.