Tags: Power Of Attorney, Private Client
The Government introduced the new “Lasting powers of attorney” (LPAs) under the Mental Capacity Act of 2005, and they came into effect on 1 October 2007.The intention was for the LPA to replace the previous Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) which had been around for many years but were very narrow in scope. The OPG also introduced a new concept of Power of Attorney by introducing two types of the New LPAs – a Finance & Property LPA and a Health & Welfare LPA – which are intended to meet the needs of those who can see a time when they will not only not be able to look after their own personal, financial or business affairs but may also simply wish to take a “back seat” and let someone else deal with the complicated paperwork for them.
The LPA can be very flexible and allows them to make appropriate arrangements for family members or trusted friends to be authorised to make decisions on their behalf, and to also select any restrictions on their attorneys actions or empower them to deal specifically with, say, the donor’s Financial Adviser. Once the LPA is created, it can be registered straight away with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). When LPAs were introduced, the registration fee was set at £110 per LPA so if a donor wished to grant both types, then the court fees would be £220 in total. In a welcome surprise move in April last year, the OPG reduced the fees to £82 per registration.
The Government have now gone further and a scheme has just been launched which enables people who have granted a Power of Attorney – whether an old style Enduring Power of Attorney or a Lasting Power of Attorney to claim a refund on the Court registration fees that they had originally paid to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The premise is that during the period 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2017 the process for registering a Power of Attorney had become more cost effective, and so cost the OPG less per registration than the fees then charged, which is reflected in the decrease in fees that came in April last year.
Donors of a Power can apply on-line unless they don't have a UK bank account, and the attorney can also claim by ‘phone if the donor has since passed away, or there is now a court appointed deputy in place. They even allow donors to claim by 'phone if they don't have a computer!
The relevant Government guidance can be found here, on the OPG website or by calling the helpline on 0300 456 0300 (option 6) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A typical refund will range from £38 to £54 depending on when the Power of Attorney was first registered, and they will even pay interest at 0.5% (!)
The OPG say that the on-line claim should only take about 10 minutes, so should be quite straight forward to complete. Due to the amounts involved, it may not be cost effective for us to make the claim on your behalf, but we would be happy to advise or assist you with this should you wish us to.