Over £11 million paid out for Power of Attorney refunds so far – here's how to claim
Over £11 million has been paid out for Power of Attorney refunds, MoneySavingExpert.com can reveal – but this is only a fraction of the amount owed.
In February this year, the Ministry of Justice revealed that people who paid to register a Lasting Power of Attorney in England or Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 paid up to £54 too much.
It has confirmed that 184,532 refund payments have been made in the past nine months.
Yet as an estimated 1.7 million applications could be affected, there are a huge number who are still yet to claim. The deadline for applying for a refund is 31 January 2021.
For full info on how a Power of Attorney works and whether you should get one, see our Power of Attorney guide.
What is a Power of Attorney?
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.
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 is 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 and those who are on certain benefits:
|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|
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.
You can apply for a refund online. If you're struggling with the online application, you can get extra guidance by phoning the Office of the Public Guardian's helpline on 0300 456 0300 and selecting 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 on 0300 456 0300 and select option six.
- 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 to email instead of applying online. 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 copies 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.
What does the Government say?
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: "We continue to see a positive take-up of the refund scheme with well over £11 million now paid back since the scheme launched in February of this year. As of 2 November, 184,532 refund payments have been issued to the tune of £11,712,317.76.
"This is an online scheme which continues to be positively received with high customer satisfaction levels. The scheme is open for three years to ensure everybody has time to apply and refunds are still being processed well within the advertised 12 weeks."
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