Hundreds of thousands of Britons are yet to claim a staggering £45million owed by the Government in overpaid Power of Attorney fees.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows people to appoint attorneys to make decisions on their behalf if they are no longer able to do so. People file their applications through the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which comes with a fee.
However, the OPG was found to have overcharged 1.7million applicants by £69million between 2013 and 2017.
The error was said to have arisen when its running costs fell but the fees charged did not drop.
The fee was lowered from £110 to £82 in April 2017 and a refund scheme was launched to help people claim back figures up to £54, factoring in 0.5 percent interest.
However, people who applied for both types of Lasting Power of Attorney – property and financial, and health and welfare – may be able to claim as much as £108.
The Times reported that only 330,000 applicants have filed refund claims so far, which totalled around £16.9million worth of reimbursements. This leaves around 1.37million people who could still be owed some cash.
However, the OPG noted that the number of people affected could be lower because some will have filed more than one application. Additionally, people can still submit a refund claim even if the person for whom the attorney was appointed has died.
How to make a power of attorney refund claim
People in England and Wales who could be eligible for refunds would have filed Lasting Power of Attorney applications between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2017.
People can contact the OPG by email, post or phone to see if they can make a claim and while they won’t need the official document to hand, there are certain details required to complete the process, according to Money Saving Expert. These include:
- 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.
The amount a person gets will depend on the fees they paid and people can still claim even if they don’t know when they submitted their application.
It takes up to 12 weeks for claims to be processed and if approved, the refund will be sent via cheque. If a claim is refused and a person wishes to appeal it, they can call the helpline on 0300 456 0300.
How much can be claimed back?
According to the Government website, the amounts that can be claimed depend on when a person applied and the figures are as follows:
- April 2013 and September 2013 – £54 per attorney
- October 2013 and March 2014 – £34 per attorney
- April 2014 and March 2015 – £37 per attorney
- April 2015 and March 2016 – £38 per attorney
- April 2016 and March 2017 – £45 per attorney.
An Office of the Public Guardian spokesman told the Mirror: “This refund scheme is still open and we have already paid out over £16million in compensation.”