A leading Solicitors for the Elderly member is urging people to check their eligibility for a lasting power of attorney (LPA) fee refund after it emerged that many were overcharged by the Office of the Public Guardian.
Claire Currie, Head of Private Client at Kirwans law firm said that those affected should look at whether they could be owed a refund after almost two million people paid over the odds between 2013 and 2017.
Prior to April last year, anyone who wanted to apply for an LPA was charged £110. The price was then reduced to £82, and according to the Office of the Public Guardian, which processes LPAs, the old application fee was higher than the costs incurred in processing applications.
Claimants can expect to receive a refund of up to £54, along with any interest accrued since the registration was made.
So far, only 200,000 of the 1.8million people owed have claimed their refund, meaning that there’s £77million still owed to customers.
To apply for a refund visit: http://gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund. The exact amount will depend on when the registration was made, and claims must be made by 1st February 2021.
Claire Currie said:
"Claiming for a refund takes about ten minutes online, so it's well worth people taking the time to find out whether they're owed any money. You’ll need the donor’s bank details and a copy of the LPA, if you have it. If you need help or more information about making a claim, there’s a Refunds Helpline you can contact, either via telephone on 0300 456 0300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
An LPA is an important document that gives a loved one the power to make decisions on your behalf when you can no longer do so. There are two types of LPA: a health and welfare LPA, and a property and financial affairs LPA.
Recent research from Solicitors For The Elderly (SFE) found that there are only 7% of LPAs in place across the UK, meaning that millions of people are currently unprepared for later life. SFE urges anyone planning for their future to consider setting up an LPA and seek advice from a specialist lawyer.
Lakshmi Turner, Chief Executive of SFE, said:
"Whilst it’s comforting to know that people are making provisions by putting in place LPAs, millions of families, many of whom may have been going through a tough time with elderly relatives, will have been needlessly overcharged.
“It’s good to see the OPG addressing the error, and with the deadline for applications approaching, we’re urging people to check their eligibility for a refund soon.”
If you need assistance, speak to your local SFE lawyer. To find an SFE accredited lawyer near you go to: http://www.sfe.legal