Posted by Michelle Young, Will Writing & Estate Planning Expert
If you paid to register a Power of Attorney in England or Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017, you could be owed a refund of up to £54.
According to the annual reports of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), 1.91 million Lasting and Enduring Powers of Attorney were registered during this period. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request, submitted by Royal London, found that only 203,000 people have applied for the Power of Attorney refund scheme so far. According to the response to the FOI, just £10.3m was refunded by 28 August 2018, with potentially millions waiting to be claimed.
A Power of Attorney s is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself or you no longer want to make your own decisions.
There are different types of Power of Attorney:
For both Lasting Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney, this must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, whereas an Ordinary Power of Attorney does not need to be registered.
There is a fee that is charged when registering Powers of Attorney. If you applied to register a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian for England and Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017, and paid an application fee, you were overcharged therefore will be due a partial refund.
The Office of the Public Guardian manages the process of registering Powers of Attorney, the fee they charge is set by the Ministry of Justice and this is supposed to only cover operating costs.
Due to process efficiencies, the cost of processing applications reduced and the Ministry of Justice lowered the application fee on 1st April 2017, but has also launched a refund scheme for those who might have been charged more than necessary between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017.
If you applied to register a Power of Attorney in either England or Wales between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017, you can make a claim to get part of your application fee refunded. Applications for both Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) are eligible to claim.
This does not apply to Scotland as the law relating to Powers of Attorney there is entirely separate.
If you have paid between:
The refunds above are based on the full registration fee having been paid and are inclusive of interest at a rate of 0.5%.
You will receive half the refund if you originally paid the reduced fee that is available to those with an income of less than £12,000 or when claiming certain benefits.
You can make the claim if you are the Donor (the person who applied to register a Power of Attorney) or the Attorney (the individual appointed by the Donor to make decisions on their behalf).
You only need to make one claim per donor, even if you made more than one power of attorney. The refund must be paid to the Donor, but if the Donor has died only the Executor of the Will or Administrator of the estate can claim a refund.
You can claim a refund online at the gov.uk site here
Telephone: 0300 456 0300 and choose 'option 6'
Lines are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9am to 5pm / Wednesday 10am to 5pm. Additional information on call charges.
If the donor has died, the Executor of the Will or Administrator of the estate can claim a refund. In order to initiate this process, the death certificate and the Will or the Grant of Representation will need to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or sent by post to:
POA Refunds Team
7th Floor, Office of the Public Guardian
PO Box 16185
Overall, it can take up to 12 weeks for refunds to be processed and there is a deadline of 1 February 2021 for all claims.
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