If you registered a Power of Attorney application between certain dates, you could be eligible for a refund. Stephen Parr explains how and why.

People who made Power of Attorney applications can get some of their money back under a new refund scheme launched by the government.

The Ministry of Justice reduced the Power of Attorney registration fee to £82 in April 2017 and the refund scheme enables people who paid more than this amount to recover part of the cost.

If you paid for an application between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2017 you may be able to recover up to £54.

Why the scheme was launched and how much you can claim

During this period, the operating costs of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) were lowered because a rise in applications resulted in a more efficient system. However, the fees charged for applications did not reflect this.

The scheme means a refund of £54 is available for people who paid the fee between April and September 2013; £34 between October 2013 and March 2014; £37 between April 2014 and March 2015; £38 between April 2015 and March 2016; and £45 between April 2016 and March 2017.

A dedicated online service means making a claim is straightforward. You just need to fill in one form and the OPG will find the corresponding Power of Attorney application fee paid in the relevant period.

Why making a Power of Attorney registration is important

Many people with dementia reach a point where they can’t make decisions for themselves and a carer or family member needs to do this for them.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives a named individual legal authority to make certain decisions for the person who is incapacitated – known as the donor. The person with this authority (the ‘attorney’) can then manage finances and make decisions about the donor’s health and welfare.

The OPG is a national body that protects people who lose mental capacity and is responsible for registering Lasting Power of Attorney applications, keeping records, and handling objections. The organisation is also responsible for making sure everyone affected knows about the refund scheme.

How to make a claim

There is a dedicated refunds helpline on 0300 456 0300 (choose option 6) and lines are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 5pm, and Wednesday from 10am to 5pm.

To make a claim online, visit: https://claim-power-of-attorney-refund.service.gov.uk/when-were-fees-paid

Making an online claims takes about ten minutes and you will need the donor’s UK bank account number and sort code, plus a copy of the LPA (if you have it).

You will need to use the phone service if the donor doesn’t have a UK bank account, if you’re a court-appointed deputy for someone who previously had a registered Lasting Power, or if a trust organisation is the attorney. Alternatively you can send an email to: poarefunds@justice.gsi.gov.uk

For more information on Powers of Attorney, contact Stephen Parr on 01706 213356 or email him at Stephen.Parr@whnsolicitors.co.uk