The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will today begin a £69 million refund scheme for people who may have overpaid when registering for a lasting power of attorney (LPA) - but the move could cause problems for law firms.
The scheme applies to anyone who registered for an LPA or enduring power of attorney (EPA) between 2013 and 2017.
Previously, anyone who wanted to apply for an LPA was charged £110. The price was in place until April last year when it was then reduced to £82. The Gazette understands around 2 million people are due a refund.
According to the Office of the Public Guardian, which processes LPAs, the old application fee was above the costs incurred in processing applications.
The OPG said today that partial refunds will be available to:
- The ‘donor’ - the person who made the power of attorney;
- An ‘attorney’ - appointed by the donor in an LPA or EPA.
The OPG, which is sponsored by the the MoJ, said that if people applied through solicitors, then their solicitor will be notified and payment hen be returned to the fee payer.
Karon Walton, chief legal officer of Solicitors for the Elderly, said the impact on solicitors’ firm was so far unclear. ’Firms throughout the country will need to advise their clients of the refund scheme. It also remains unclear how all those who applied for registration of powers of attorney without a solicitor will be alerted to the application process,’ she said.
She added: ‘This may well be an extremely complicated and drawn-out process, especially if a client has moved, lost capacity or passed away, so backdating applications across four years may present somewhat of a logistical nightmare for firms.’