On the 1st February 2018, the Ministry of Justice announced its Power of Attorney fee refund scheme.
The refunds are being offered to those who may have been charged more than was necessary to apply to register Lasting Powers of Attorney or an Enduring Power of Attorney between the 1st April 2013 and the 31st March 2017. The reason for this is that during this period, the Office of the Public Guardian’s operating costs came down as more and more people were applying to register Powers of Attorney and the process of registering the same became more efficient. However, the Office of the Public Guardian did not reduce the application fee in line with this.
To make a claim you can simply go online and use the quick and simple online service at www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund. This should take you around 10 minutes to complete. You will need the donor’s UK bank account number and sort code to hand. If the donor does not have a UK bank account then you will need to claim by telephone. Similarly, if the donor has subsequently died or you are a court-appointed Deputy, you will need to claim by telephone.
The Office of the Public Guardian has provided full guidance on their website and they have also set up a dedicated refunds service helpline. If you do not have access to a computer or can’t use one easily, you can speak to the dedicated helpline. To speak to the helpline you need to call the Office of the Public Guardian on 0300 456 0300 and select option 6. The lines are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 5 pm. Please visit the following website for details of call charges – www.gov.uk/call-charges.
If you believe you may be entitled to a refund you should visit www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund. You can make a claim if you are the donor (i.e. the person who made the Power of Attorney) or an Attorney appointed within the Power of Attorney. Any refund however will be paid to the donor.
The refund you receive depends on when you paid the fees. There will also be a 0.5% interest added on top. If you cannot remember how much you paid you can still make a claim; the Office of the Public Guardian will work out the refund for you. Only one form needs to be completed for each donor as the Office of the Public Guardian will be able to find all application fees paid by the donor during the qualifying period.
Below is a table of the possible fees you may receive back.
If you paid a reduced fee (“remission”), you’ll get half the refund.
Once you have submitted your claim it takes up to twelve weeks for it to be processed. If your claim is approved, the refund will be paid directly into the donor’s bank account. If your claim is rejected you can appeal this decision by contacting the refunds helpline.
For more information or advice, please contact a member of our Private Client team.