New figures have revealed that over £11 million has been refunded to people who registered a Lasting Power of Attorney in England and Wales, but many more may be due sums under a recently introduced government scheme.
The Ministry of justice declared in February that people who put in place a Power of Attorney between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017 had overpaid by £54 and, as such, were entitled to reclaim this amount. It is estimated that 1.7 million applications may be affected and that the vast majority of those who are due a refund are yet to make a claim – over the past nine months, only 184,532 refund payments have been made.
When a Power of Attorney is registered, an application fee is charged with the cost of this being set by the Ministry of Justice. The fee for an application is paid to the Office of the Public Guardian. Between the years of 2013 and 2017, operation costs for the Office of the Public Guardian went down but fees for Power of Attorney applications remained the same. Because the cost of the application is only intended to cover operating costs, the government has now decided that those who paid an application during this period should be refunded the amount that they were overcharged plus interest.
A claim for a refund can be made by either the donor (the individual who made the Power of Attorney) or the attorney (who was appointed by the donor) and can be made even if the Power of Attorney has been used. Any sums that are refunded will be paid to the donor. Applications for a refund must be made by 31st January 2021.
You can apply for a refund by visiting https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund and guidance is available by phone from the Office of the Public Guardian by calling 0300 456 0300.
Those making a refund claim will need to provide:
• The name of the donor, their address and date of birth
• The donor’s bank account number and sort code
• The name of an attorney listed on the Power of Attorney
You will only have to make one claim for each donor, even if several Power of Attorney applications have been made. If the donor has since died, a claim can still be made. A copy of their death certificate must be provided along with a grant of representation – this includes a grant of probate or letters of administration.
For all matters relating to Powers of Attorney, speak to a member of the Wills and Estate planning team at Wilford Smith. Our lawyers can offer clear, pragmatic advice to help you plan for the future, whatever your circumstances.
Our solicitors are based in London, Sheffield and Manchester and assist clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 0808 168 5813 to find out how we can help.