If you paid to register a Power of Attorney in England or Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017, you're owed a refund of up to £54.
Under a new Government scheme, those who paid a registration fee for a Lasting Power of Attorney in that period can apply for a partial refund as they were charged more than was necessary.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you, while you still have the mental capacity to do so, to nominate a trusted friend or relative to look after your affairs if you lose capacity.
There are two types of Power of Attorney, one for finance and property and another for health and welfare. Some will have registered both and so can claim a refund of up to £108.
The Ministry of Justice told MoneySavingExpert.com that 1.7 million applications could be affected. It's not clear exactly how many people are owed a refund, as some will have registered more than one Power of Attorney, but it's likely to be a million or more.
Why is the money being refunded?
When you register a Power of Attorney, you're charged an application fee, set by the Ministry of Justice and paid to the Office of the Public Guardian.
Between 2013 and 2017, the operating costs of the Office of the Public Guardian decreased, but the application fee stayed the same, at £110. As the fee is simply supposed to cover operating costs, the Government's now repaying the difference between what applicants paid and what they should have paid, plus interest.
On 1 April 2017, the application fee for registering a Power of Attorney was reduced from £110 to £82. If you applied after that date, you can't reclaim.
How much can I reclaim?
How much you can reclaim depends on when you paid for the Power of Attorney, and whether you paid the full registration fee or the half-price fee, which is offered to those with an income of less than £12,000 a year or who are on certain benefits:
Refund for each Power of Attorney
|When you paid the fee||Refund if you paid the FULL fee||Refund if you paid the half-price fee|
|April to September 2013||£54||£27|
|October 2013 to March 2014||£34||£17|
|April 2014 to March 2015||£37||£18.50|
|April 2015 to March 2016||£38||£19|
|April 2016 to March 2017||£45||£22.50|
The Government says the refund figures above include 0.5% annual interest, which is HM Revenue & Customs' standard rate when repaying overpaid tax.
Some people on certain means-tested benefits will not have paid to register a Power of Attorney and so will not be eligible for the refund.
How to claim a refund
You can make a claim if you were the donor (the person who made the Power of Attorney) or the attorney (the person appointed by the donor) – but the refund will be paid to the donor. You can claim a refund even if the Power of Attorney has been used. The deadline for applying is 31 January 2021.
To apply, you can claim a refund online or phone the Office of the Public Guardian's helpline on 0300 456 0300 and select option six. You don't need the Power of Attorney document itself, but you will need:
- The donor's name, address and date of birth
- Their UK bank account number and sort code
- The name of one of the attorneys on the Power of Attorney
Here are the other need-to-knows:
- You only need to make one claim for each donor – even if you've made multiple Powers of Attorney.
- It can take up to 12 weeks for your claim to be processed and paid.
- If your claim is refused and you want to appeal the decision you can call the refunds helpline.
- If the donor doesn't have a UK bank account or you're a court-appointed deputy, you'll have to apply by phone.
- You can also claim for an Enduring Power of Attorney if you registered it in the relevant period. The Lasting Power of Attorney replaced the Enduring Power of Attorney on 1 October 2007, but it's possible someone could have drafted the latter before the cut-off date and registered it during the refund period – and so would be eligible.
If the donor has died you can still claim but you will need:
- Their death certificate
- A grant of representation (such as a grant of probate or letters of administration) or a will
You can email these, along with your contact details, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send them by post to POA Refunds Team, 7th floor, Office of the Public Guardian. PO Box 16185, Birmingham, B2 2WH.
Once you've sent the documents you'll receive a call from the refunds team.