More than £54 million in refunds are yet to be claimed by individuals who were overcharged when registering a power of attorney.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows the appointed person to act on your behalf in financial or medical decisions and in managing your affairs in the event you lose mental capacity.
To be legally effective, LPAs have to be registered with the government by making an application to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
While the OPG is permitted to charge applicants a nominal fee to cover its running costs, in February 2018 the Ministry of Justice admitted to overcharging people who had registered an LPA between the 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017.
During this period, the OPG had reduced operating costs but this was not reflected in a reduction to the application fee until 1st April 2017, when the cost of applications was lowered from £110 to £82.
The period of overpayment resulted in a surplus of £89 million. A scheme was set up to refund those who had overpaid. But out of an estimated one million people owed a refund, around 80% of people have yet to make a claim.
To be eligible for a refund, the LPA must have been registered between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017. Claims are made online
The amount owed will depend on the type of Power of Attorney that was applied for and the date of application:
- April 2013 to September 2013 – £54
- October 2013 to March 2014 – £34
- April 2014 to March 2015 – £37
- April 2015 to March 2016 – £38
- April 2016 to March 2017 – £45
An additional 0.5 per cent interest will also be added to the figure.