Surge in power of attorney applications source of delays

A sharp increase in power of attorney (PoA) applications is the source of registration delays, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) has said.

It emerged that registrations of powers of attorney are facing delays of up to three months, a Scottish government document recently revealed.

Data from the SCTS show, however, that there has been a 21 per cent increase in demand in recent years and a 53 per cent increase over the past five years.

The Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) is now processing more than 300 new PoAs each working day, or 78,000 a year. These are forecast to rise to 81,000 next year.

A spokesperson for the SCTS said: “While the increasing numbers of applications have challenged us this year, we have been working hard to reduce delays.

“This week, we have met our 30-day registration target for PoA applications made online using EPOAR, (Electronic Power of Attorney Registration) which accounts for 65 per cent of applications.

“Postal applications are taking longer at 45 days but we are committed to improving this and are currently training additional staff to help us reduce this delay.

“We understand the anxiety that people will experience if there is a delay to registering PoAs. We want to reassure people that we can fast-track applications which are urgent. We are registering those in an average of two days, through this expedited process.”