A refund scheme for those who have been overcharged for their power of attorney fees has been launched. In an announcement made by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the refunds are being offered to those who may have been charged more than was necessary when they applied to register for powers of attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017.
Plans to repay those who were overcharged were originally announced in July last year. At the time, the expected total was around the £89 million mark. According to the MoJ, the process to register for enduring powers of attorney became more efficient during this period and as a result, operating costs for the Office of the Public Guardian came down. However, the fee charged for the application did not reduce in line with this. The fee was subsequently lowered by the MoJ, a change which came into effect 1 April 2017.
Now, they have launched a refund scheme for those who paid the higher fee during the qualifying period. Claims for full and partial refunds can be made by the donor via an online service, with only one form needing to be completed for each.
The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the number of applications eligible for the refund is around 1.7 million.
Jeanette Berry, Head of Private client, based at the Bank Parade office of Southerns Solicitors and member of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioner (STEP) welcomed the announcement and offered assistance to anyone that needed it.