Under a new Government scheme, those who registered a Lasting Power of Attorney between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017 could be entitled to a partial refund of fees paid.
Why is the money being refunded?
When you register a Power of Attorney you’re charged an application fee (unless you’re exempt from paying). This fee is set by the Ministry of Justice and you pay it to the Office of the Public Guardian.
Between 2013 and 2017 the operating costs of the Office of the Public Guardian decreased. However, the standard application fee was £130 per registration until 1st October 2013 and then £110 until 1st April 2017. The fee is supposed to cover operating costs only and as such the Government’s now repaying the difference between the amount applicants paid and what they should have paid, including interest.*
As well as applicants, if you’re an attorney or executor, dealing with the affairs of someone who had registered a Lasting Power of Attorney within this period, you could also be entitled to a partial refund.
Want to know more? Contact us, and we can go through the steps to claim back any over payments.
*From 1st April 2017 the application fee for registering a Power of Attorney was reduced. If you applied after this date you would have paid the reduced fee at the time and are unable to claim a refund.
The Importance of Planning Ahead
Without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself, your family would need to apply to the Court of Protection to allow them to make decisions on your behalf. This can be a time-consuming and costly process.
Whether it’s using our Digital Estate Plan Portal or by appointment with one of our professional advisers, we are on hand to help you; from writing your documents; to help and advice on signing your Lasting Power of Attorney; all the way to making sure your documents are stored securely.
Lasting Power of Attorney
Before October 2007 you would have made what was then known in England and Wales as an Enduring Power of Attorney. After this date the document changed to a Lasting Power of Attorney.
The old Enduring Power of Attorney only detailed legal and financial decisions to be made on your behalf. However, the new Lasting Power of Attorney documents are far more flexible and cover more aspects of your life.
Financial or Welfare
Choose to make one or both types of Lasting Power of Attorney.
Property and Financial Affairs
Allows you to appoint one or more people to make decisions, on your behalf, about your property and financial affairs.
This includes fulfilling important tasks such as;
- Managing bank and building society accounts
- Paying bills
- Writing cheques
- Transferring money
- Receiving salaries and pensions
- Arranging the upkeep of your property
- Arranging insurances
- Selling your home
A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney can be used at a time when you have lost the ability to make your own decisions, as well as to make temporary decisions; e.g, if you were to travel outside of the country for a prolonged period; or long term decisions; if you have a disability which makes getting to the bank and paying bills difficult.
Health and Welfare
Allows you to appoint one or more people to make health and welfare decisions on your behalf.
- Your medical care
- Refusing life-sustaining treatment
- Moving to a care home
- Your social care
- Your daily needs and routine;
- Taking medications
A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used once you have lost the ability to make your own decisions.
Who are Attorneys and what do they do?
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place ensures that you choose the people you wish to manage your affairs should you be unable to do this for yourself. These people are appointed as your ‘Attorneys’.
Being an Attorney is an important role. You must make sure your Attorneys are aware of what is involved and ensure that they are happy to take on the responsibility before you appoint them.
The Duties of an Attorney
The main objective for your Attorney is always to act in your best interests. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and its Code of Practice sets out Attorney responsibilities, which are:
- A duty of care when making a decision on your behalf
- To carry out any instructions that you have made in your Lasting Power of Attorney
- Not to benefit themselves, but to benefit you, meaning they should avoid any potential conflicts of interest and should not profit or benefit personally from their position
- A duty of good faith, meaning they should act honestly and with integrity
- Keeping your affairs confidential unless you have specifically stated otherwise
- If they are dealing with your money, to keep this separate from their own
- To keep accurate accounts and records of anything they have done as your Attorney
Before making decisions for you, your Attorney must first be satisfied that you are unable to make them yourself. For example, it may be necessary to have assessments made about your capability by a relevant professional.
You must be confident your Attorney will attempt to make every decision with your best interests in mind and abide by your wishes even if they disagree with them. Your Attorney should consider the following when making decisions:
- Your past and recent views and wishes
- Your beliefs and values
- The possibility that you may regain capacity
- Your current circumstances
- Any guidance or restrictions written in your Lasting Power of Attorney
Making and Updating a Lasting Power of Attorney
As we have mentioned before, making a Lasting Power of Attorney is very important. Keeping it up to date is just as important!
The process for making and updating the documents is similar (continue down the page for more information about revoking a Lasting Power of Attorney). Whether it’s the first time you have made a Lasting Power of Attorney, or the third, we will go through each part with you step by step, giving you professional advice specific to your situation along the way.
We are here to support you from start to finish.
How do I sign my Lasting Power Attorney documents?
The next step in making a Lasting Power of Attorney is signing it.
Coming Soon…Check back here for a detailed explanation of how to sign your documents.
In the meantime, our Customer Care Team are on hand via live chat, telephone and email to guide you through what to do.
Exemptions and Remissions
Lasting Power of Attorney registration fees are payable to the OPG by the person seeking to register the documents. Where an application is made for a fee exemption or remission, it will be based on the Donor’s financial circumstances and not those of any other person applying to register, i.e. the Attorneys.
If you apply for an exemption or remission of the registration fee, then evidence to support the application will need to be sent along with the completed application form.
When applying for a registration fee exemption, you must enclose copies of recent letters (dated within the last three months) confirming receipt of the benefits below, such as letters from the Department of Work and Pensions or benefit provider.
You may be eligible for a fee exemption if you receive the following:
- A combination of Working Tax Credit and either Child Tax Credit, Disability Element Working Tax Credit or Severe Disability Element (within the Working Tax Credit). This does not include Disability Living Allowance, Invalidity Benefit or Personal Independence Payment
- Income Support
- Income based Employment and Support Allowance
- Income based Job-Seeker’s Allowance
- Pension Guarantee Credit element of State Pension Credit (you will not be eligible if this is calculated as nil)
- Housing Benefit; or Council Tax Benefit (not the 25% single person reduction)
- Local Housing Allowance
If you do not qualify for a fee exemption, you may be eligible for a fee remission. If your gross annual income is less than £12,000, or you receive Universal Credit, you will be eligible for a 50% reduction of the fee. Gross annual income may come from employment, non-means-tested benefits (such as Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment), pensions, Pension Savings Credit, rent from property and interest from saving and investments.
If applicable you will need to include an official letter or entitlement notice from the appropriate benefit provider with your application.
Your application must be accompanied by supporting evidence in the form of:
- Paid employment – Copy of wage slips from each job
- Self employment – Most recent tax return (Self Assessment)
- State / Private / Occupational pensions – An official letter or entitlement notice from the appropriate pension payer
- Interest from capital, stocks, shares or bonds – Current statements or vouchers
- Any other income – you will be asked to provide current documentary evidence of any other income received, such as maintenance payments, rental income, etc.
How to apply for a fee exemption or remission?
To apply for a fee exemption or remission you should complete an ‘Application for a fee exemption or remission’ form and return it to us along with your signed and completed Lasting Power of Attorney documents, and supporting evidence.
If you are applying for an exemption you do not need to send any fee with your documents. If the OPG decides that you are not eligible for an exemption we will let you know and you will be asked to make the full payment, directly to the OPG.
If you are applying for a remission you will only need to send 50% of the application fee to us along with your documents. If the OPG decides that you do not qualify for a remission we will let you know and you will be asked to pay the total fee less any amount already paid.
Don’t forget, we are always on hand to help you with the additional forms and go through the application process with you in more detail.
If the appropriate evidence for an exemption or remission is not provided, your application will be refused by the OPG and the full fee will be payable.
Storing Your Lasting Power of Attorney
If you store your Lasting Power of Attorney with us it is currently locked away in our, state of the art, secure document storage facility, protected from fire, theft and damage.
When the time comes, your Lasting Power of Attorney can be quickly retrieved and delivered directly, and securely, to the people you have expressly chosen, ensuring it is always in safe hands.
However, if you currently store your Lasting Power of Attorney at home, or elsewhere, and would like to benefit from our facilities and store your Lasting Power of Attorney, or other important legal documents; simply contact us now, and we will explain your options and help you through the process.
Family and Friends Vault
Not only can you store your important documents with us, but as part of a unique storage service we have available, your family and friends can take advantage of our facilities as well*. Find out now if you qualify for this exclusive offer.
*Subject to status
How do I retrieve a Lasting Power of Attorney document?
How do I revoke my Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney?
Revoking a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney means that you do not want your current documents to stand, so in effect you are ‘cancelling’ it. There may be several reasons for this – you have updated your wishes, you marital status has changed or you simply do not want your current documents to take effect.
To revoke your documents, simply contact us and we will go through what you need to do next.
How much help do I need?
Not sure where to start? Complete our simple questionnaire. It only takes a few minutes and is designed to help you decide how much professional help you need making a Lasting Power of Attorney, whether its online, via the telephone or face to face.
*You will be directed to the How Much Help website to complete the questionnaires