Long waits and frequent rejections – the joy of Powers of Attorney


First let’s start off with some numbers: 777,741 Powers of Attorney were registered in the period 2022 to 2023. Most of these are Financial and Property, (about 60%), the rest: Health and Welfare.

It takes a long time to get a Power of Attorney registered – on average four months. A Power of Attorney was finally registered in the period 2022-23 after 983 days; the shortest took 20 days. The best advice we can give here is: be patient.

And the second piece of advice we can give is: check, check, and check again. In 2022-23, around 3.5% of applications were rejected. Imagine waiting four months and then receiving a rejection letter through the post, and starting the process all over again. Frequently, Power of Attorneys are written when a person is beginning to face ill-health. Re-doing an application adds additional work and stress at an already stressful time.

Applications are often rejected for minor reasons, so here are some additional top tips in getting your Power of Attorney registration correct, first time round:

Incorrect signing order

The donor must sign first, then the certificate provider, then the attorneys, and then the person registering the Power of Attorney must sign again (either the attorney or the donor).

Missing information

Frequently the date of signing is missing, or the proof of the signatures being witnessed.

Incorrect witnesses 

An attorney cannot witness the signature of a donor because there is a conflict of interest. Adhere to the rules as to who can be a witness.

Unworkable requests

The donor might appoint attorneys to make decisions one way, and then include instructions to make them act differently. If there is a contradiction within a Power of Attorney, it will get quickly rejected.

Not providing full information

Names are a good example of this – you must give your full and middle names. Stating Sarah J. Smith won’t do. Don’t take shortcuts – answer each section as fully as possible.

Power of Attorney documents are important. If you are short of time or want to ensure you get it right first time, we’ll be more than happy to help. Call or email Lois di Vito on lois.divito@awbclaw.co.uk or call her on 01756 692869.

Further reading:

Why doesn’t everybody recognise lasting powers of attorneys?


General, lasting, enduring? What’s the difference between the different types of powers of attorney?


Government guidance: