Hundreds of thousands of families are still owed millions in refunds after being overcharged when registering for power of attorney.
A redress scheme was set up by the government in 2018 after it realized that people had been charged more than the administration costs for setting up a power of attorney.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. There are two types, one covering property and financial affairs and one covering health and welfare.
In total, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) was found to have overcharged 1.7 million applicants registering for power of attorney by £69 million between 2013 and 2017.
Millions owed in refunds
Millions were owed cash back because the OPG's running costs fell but fees were not reduced to reflect this. In April 2017, the fee to register was lowered from £110 to £82.
Since then, a refund scheme has allowed people to claim back as much as £54 per attorney plus 0.5% interest on top. But if you took out both a financial affairs and a health attorney, then you could be due up to £108.
It's worth noting that even when the person who the attorney was for has died, you can still claim. In this scenario, the executor of the will or administrator of the estate needs to claim the refund.
Are you owed a refund?
According to data revealed by The Times, only 330,000 applicants claimed £16.9 million worth of refunds up to this date. This means that there are around 1.37 million who are still owed redress.
And many aren't aware that they can still claim the cash back if they file a request by post. The Public Guardian spokesman's office said: "This refund scheme is still open and we have already paid out over £16 million in compensation."
How much can you claim back?
The amount you can claim depends on the year you took out the attorney. Here's what you need to know:
- Applied between April 2013 and September 2013 – £54 per attorney
- Applied between October 2013 and March 2014 – £34 per attorney
- Applied between April 2014 and March 2015 – £37 per attorney
- Applied between April 2015 and March 2016 – £38 per attorney
- Applied between April 2016 and March 2017 – £45 per attorney
If you paid a reduced fee, you will receive half the refund amount.
How to claim a refund
The deadline to request a refund online passed in January 2021. But households can still apply for a refund on fees by sending a letter to the OPG.
To apply, 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.
It doesn't matter if the donor has died, and you can still make a claim by post. You will just need to send a copy of the donor's death certificate and will, or a grant of representation such as a grant of probate or letter of administration, along with your contact details.
Post your request to:
POA Refunds Team
Office of the Public Guardian
PO Box 16185
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