Government agency to pay back £89m powers of attorney overcharges

The Office of the Public Guardian for England and Wales (OPG) is to repay up to four years’ worth of lasting powers of attorney overcharges.

The agency admitted the fees (£110) were excessive and not in line with the requirements set by HM Treasury. Government agencies such as the OPG are not allowed to do this without specific legislative authority.

Because of higher numbers of people registering lasting powers of attorney, and greater efficiencies of the service in recent years, the £110 charge was well above the actual costs incurred to process the applications.

Since 1st April 2017, the charge has been reduced to £82.

A spokesperson for the OPG said:

“We are committed to taking such steps as are necessary to make sure that people are made aware of, and receive, the refunds to which they are entitled.

'We will be working closely with MoJ and its new income strategy unit, which will oversee the standards and controls set for all income streams.

“We have also made a number of improvements to the way in which we forecast demand and associated costs, in order to enable us to base fee proposals on robust evidence and to ensure compliance with requirements set by HM Treasury.”

What this means for you

If you’re affected by the overcharge in the previous four years, you’ll be refunded in the current financial year.

How it will be repaid has not yet been announced, and it’s not known whether the refund will be paid automatically or will have to be reclaimed.

The total amount to be refunded is estimated to be around £89 million.

We draft upwards of 150 lasting powers of attorney every year, as do many firms of solicitors.

Not to mention the thousands of people who register their own using the court’s online service.

Indeed the OPG’s annual report states that they’ve registered 648,000 powers of attorney in the last year alone. So there are going to be lots of people affected by this.

Source: step.org

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