The Wire:  Summer 2018 – 1.8 million people are owed a Power of Attorney fee refund –
Are you one of them?

1.8 million people are owed a Power of Attorney fee refund – are you one of them?

Did you make an application for a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in England and Wales between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017? If so, you were charged more than necessary and are owed a partial refund.

There are two kinds of LPA, a legal document nominating a trusted person to manage affairs on someone’s behalf beyond the point of incapacitation; one regarding financial matters and property, the other health and welfare. Both are eligible for refunds.

Why?

Between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017, the operating costs of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) who register a Power of Attorney were reduced, attributed to increased demand and economies of scale. The cost saving was not immediately passed to the public by the Ministry of Justice who set OPG’s fee, which is exclusively intended to cover costs rather than profit.

A Freedom of Information request from Old Mutual Wealth identified 1.8 million people are eligible for a refund. The same research also reveals a 26% increase between 2015 and 2016 in the number of LPAs registered, supporting OPG’s statement of increased demand and operational efficiencies.

On the 1st April 2017 the standard application fee was reduced from £110 to £82 per LPA, therefore for a husband and wife both submitting a health and welfare LPA, and a financial LPA, the total cost would amount to £328.

The refund available depends on:

  • The date you paid for the application
  • The number of LPAs applied for (up to two per person covering financial and health matters)

Whether you received a 50% remission discount, applicable when the donor’s pre-tax income is less than £12,000 p.a.

When you paid the fee Refund for two LPAs Refund for Single LPA 50% Remission Refund
04/13 to 09/13 £108 £54 £27
10/13 to 03/14 £68 £34 £17
04/14 to 03/15 £74 £37 £18.50
04/15 to 03/16 £76 £38 £19
04/16 to 03/17 £90 £45 £22.50

An additional 0.5% interest, not included in the table above, will be added to each successful claim.

How?

Refund claims can be made online using this link:

https://claim-power-of-attorney-refund.service.gov.uk/when-were-fees-paid.

Only one form needs to be completed for each donor and the Office of the Public Guardian will find all application fees paid during the qualifying period. If you are unsure if you applied within the quoted timescales it may be worth an application to check. The information required to begin the process, in this order is:

  • Donor’s title, first names, last name and date of birth
  • Attorney’s title, first names, last name and date of birth
  • Power of attorney’s 7 or 12-digit long OPG reference or the postcode of either the Donor or Attorney, as you can’t progress without one or the other

There is also a dedicated refund helpline: 0300 456 0300 – option 6 – for advice or to guide you through the process in special circumstances, such as if the donor has died.

Lasting Power of Attorney: a bit of background

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets a donor appoint one or more trusted people as attorneys to either help them make decisions, or make decisions on their behalf.

There are two types of LPA; one regarding financial matters and property, the other health and welfare, both continuing past the point a donor’s capacity to make cognitive decisions ceases, through either illness or injury. By design, this is the precise intention; an LPA gives the trusted person or people control over financial and/or medical decisions post incapacitation.

Due to legal and moral responsibility involved, a lasting attorney must be appointed by the donor in advance of incapacitation, entirely unaided. The LPA can take effect immediately or be deferred until appropriate as a pre-emptive measure during estate planning.

The right person

Choosing your attorney in either circumstance is not a decision to take lightly; it can be a good friend, relative, spouse or an employed profession such as a solicitor. It is quite common and often sensible that the attorneys appointed are the children of the donor, as family members typically understand and respect the donor’s wishes. Appointing multiple attorneys is also prudent, should one become incapacitated.

Changing or ending an LPA

You can make changes to your LPA after if it’s been registered if you have the mental capacity to do so. If you want to remove one of your attorneys, you will need to send the OPG a written statement called a partial deed of revocation. To end your LPA, again you will need the mental capacity to do so and will need to send the OPG the original LPA and a statement simply called a deed of revocation. Templates for both revocation types can be found on www.gov.uk.

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