A scheme has been launched by the Ministry of Justice to refund an estimated 1.8 million individuals who may have paid a higher fee than was necessary when registering powers of attorney.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone, typically a close friend or relative, to make decisions for you or act on your behalf if you’re no longer able to, or if you no longer wish to make your own decisions.
If you applied to register a lasting or enduring power of attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian (the government body that monitor deputies and attorneys) between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 and consequently paid a fee, you may be owed a partial refund.
As of the 1 April 2017, the application fee for registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) was reduced, from £110 to £82.
This reflected that fact that the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)’s operating costs had fallen between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017, as an increasing number of applications were submitted and the process became much more efficient. During this same period, however, the application fee remained fixed.
The refund scheme is open to all those who paid a higher fee for registration between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 and will be run by the OPG. Exactly how much you are entitled to will depend on when you paid the fee; refunds could be between £34 and £54 for each LPA (of half if the fee was paid at a reduced rate).
The lasting powers of attorney (LPA) and enduring powers of attorney (EPA) must have been made in England or Wales.
Claims for a refund can be lodged by:
- the ‘donor’ – the person who made the power of attorney
- an ‘attorney’ – appointed by the donor in an LPA or EPA
however, the refund itself must be paid directly to the donor.
Those affected can claim for a refund using the online service – only one form per donor needs to be completed as this will provide enough information for the OPG to identify all LPA application fees paid by the donor within the applicable timeframe.
Claims can also be made on the phone if you do not have a UK bank account, if the Donor has passed away or if you are a Court appointed Deputy.
Those that think they, or someone they are acting for, may be eligible, are being urged to visit www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund for more details and to make a claim.
Alternatively, you can contact the refund helpline by calling OPG on 0300 456 0300 and selecting option 6, or emailing them at email@example.com