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Could you be due a refund for your registering your Power of Attorney?

Feb 2, 2018

It was announced yesterday that the Ministry of Justice have launched a £69million refund scheme for those people who paid a fee to register a power of attorney between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017.  While some details are yet to be confirmed, Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, explains here how people can apply and who to contact should they have questions.

“The refund scheme has been introduced as, up until April last year the price to apply for a power of attorney was £110,” explains Jane.  “The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), the body which processes powers of attorney’s, ascertained that this application fee was above the costs incurred in the actual processing, and so the fee was reduced to £82.  Estimates have been made that around 2 million people are now due a refund due to the reduction in fee.”

What does the refund apply to?

There are some restrictions to applying for the refund, including the date parameters mentioned above.  The other criteria include:

  • The refund is applicable for a fee that was paid towards registering both lasting powers of attorney (LPA) and enduring powers of attorney (EPA)
  • The power of attorney must have been made in England or Wales
  • You can make a claim if you are either the ‘donor’ (the person who made the power of attorney) or the ‘attorney’ (the person appointed by the donor in the LPA or EPA)
  • The refund however can only be given to the donor
  • You only need to make one claim per donor, even if you have made multiple powers of attorney.  

How much refund will I be entitled to?

The amount of the refund will be determined by when you paid the registration fee.  You will also be entitled to 0.5% interest on the fee, but this is to be confirmed as to whether this is included in the figures below.  The refund structure is as follows:

When you paid the fee

Refund for each power of attorney

April to September 2013

£54

October 2013 to March 2014

£34

April 2014 to March 2015

£37

April 2015 to March 2016

£38

April 2016 to March 2017

£45

If you are unsure as to when you paid the fees, you can still make a claim for the refund, and if you paid a reduced fee at the time as you were entitled to remission (for those whose income is less than £12,000 a year), you can still claim for half the refund.

How can I make a claim for the refund?

If you believe you are entitled to a refund, the process is to make an application online.  To do this, you will need the donor’s UK bank account number and sort code. 

If you do not have access to the internet, if the donor doesn’t have a UK Bank account, the donor has died or you are a court-appointed deputy, the claim will need to be made over the phone to the OPG on their helpline number. 

Once you have made a claim, it takes up to 12 weeks for this to be processed.  Once approved, it will be paid to the donor’s bank account, and if the claim is rejected, individuals should contact the Refunds Helpline.

To claim a refund online, click here.  To call the helpline, call 0300 456 0300 (option 6), or email poarefunds@justice.gsi.gov.uk.  The phone lines are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am until 5pm and on Wednesday’s from 10am to 5pm.

“It is still early days, and we are waiting for clarification from the government as to the steps individuals should take if they applied for the power of attorney through their solicitor,” concludes Jane.  “A Lasting Power of Attorney is an incredibly important document to be able to protect your property and financial affairs, and your health and welfare arrangements in the future.  It is encouraging to see that the government is taking action on the over-payment made by clients, and it will be interesting to see whether the registration fee falls again in the coming years as operations become more efficient at the OPG.”

If you have questions about making a Lasting Power of Attorney you can visit the Private Client section of the website here, or contact Jane and the team on 01329 222075 or email privateclientenquiry@warnergoodman.co.uk.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.