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Probate refund scheme launched

In a recent statement made by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), a refund scheme for individuals that have been overcharged for their power of attorney fees between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 has been introduced.

The registration process for power of attorneys was streamlined and as a direct result the operating costs for the Office of the Public Guardian decreased, but the application fee charged was not reduced in line with this until 1 April 2017.

A new refund scheme has now been launched for those who paid the higher fee during the qualifying period 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017, with the MOJ confirming around 1.7 million applications are eligible for a partial refund where they registered either an enduring or lasting power of attorney.

Many regulatory organisations have welcomed the introduction of the scheme and are pleased to see those affected being reimbursed, however many professionals have questioned why the process can’t be automatic as opposed to individuals having to apply to receive a refund.

The Institute of Professional Will writers said: “The Ministry of Justice are doing the right thing in giving the refunds, but surely as they know who they owe it to, a mail merge and cheque to the relevant people is the fail-safe way forward surely? More money will be wasted in adverts telling people they should claim and those who have since died or lost their faculties will often not be able to do anything, come on MOJ please do the right thing!”

If you registered a power of attorney during the qualifying period then you may be eligible to make a claim if you are either:

  • the ‘donor’ – the person who made the power of attorney
  • the ‘attorney’ – appointed by the donor in a lasting or enduring power of attorney

The amount of the refund will depend on the date the fee was paid and could be as much as £54 for each power of attorney registered.  In addition interest will be refunded at 0.5%.

Applicants need to apply online at www.claim-power-of-attorney-refund.service.gov.uk, with claims taking up to 12 weeks to be processed.

Posted: February 16th, 2018