Your bank balance could receive a welcome boost after it emerged hundreds of thousands of people could be eligible for a government refund.
The Ministry of Justice say people who sought a lasting power of attorney were overcharged by up to £54, according to Mirror Online .
It comes after the Office of the Public Guardian, which isn't allowed to make a profit from carrying out this work, failed to drop prices after finding a cheaper way to grant powers of attorney.
Leading investment business Old Mutual Wealth discovered 1.8 million customers had been overcharged a total of £89 million after submitting Freedom of Information questions.
Rachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Old Mutual Wealth, said: “The Ministry of Justice is only supposed to charge enough to cover the cost of providing the service, but the large number of applications meant it made a £89m surplus, which it now needs to repay."
Lasting power of attorney explained
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and can’t make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’).
There are two types of lasting power of attorney:
- health and welfare
- property and financial affairs
You can choose to make one type or both.
“With the continual rise in dementia, there is a very real risk that people will be left in a vulnerable position if they don’t register a lasting power of attorney," said Rachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Old Mutual Wealth.
"Those with dementia are particularly vulnerable to the theft or illegal use of their property, money or other valuables."
It costs £82 to register an lasting power of attorney unless you get a reduction or exemption .
You can cancel your lasting power of attorney if you need to or your circumstances change.
Find out more here .
Refunds are being offered to those people who applied to register lasting or enduring powers of attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017.
You only need to make one claim for each donor, even if you made more than one power of attorney.
You can claim for a refund if you’re:
- the ‘donor’ - the person who made the power of attorney
- an ‘attorney’ - appointed by the donor in an LPA or EPA
The refund must be paid to the donor.
Depending on when you applied, you will get between £34 and £54 - with 0.5% interest added.
However, if you paid a reduced fee, you'll only get half the refund.
How to claim
You only need to fill in one form to make a claim, it takes about 10 minutes.
There's full guidance online and a dedicated helpline. You can apply online here .
If you're using the helpline, call 0300 456 0300 and select option 6 to be put through to the refunds team.
Lines are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 5pm and Wednesday from 10am to 5pm
Calls cost up to 10p a minute from a landline and between 3p and 40p a minute from a mobile.
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