Pay Back Time From MoJ
Clients could be due cash back from the Ministry of Justice after it announced that charges for registering LPAs have been too high in recent years.
The Office of the Public Guardian (the OPG) has admitted to previously charging too much when registering Lasting Powers of Attorneys (LPA’s) and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA’s), leading to a commitment from them to ensure that those overcharged receive a proportionate refund within the next financial year.
Up until April 2017 the fee charged by the OPG for registration of Powers of Attorney was £110 per document – more than the actual cost incurred by them when processing the applications. Government agency fees are not allowed to exceed actual processing costs unless there is specific legislative authority to this effect. This was not the case in this situation.
Although the fee has now been dropped to £82, the result is that a significant number of people have paid more than they should. Figures suggest that the OPG’s total income for the year was 148 per cent of its costs and that thousands of customers have been affected.
The OPG established in October 2007 is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. It is responsible for registering LPA’s & EPA’s, supervising deputies appointed by the Court of Protection, maintaining the public registers of deputies, LPAs and EPAs and investigating complaints, (or allegations of abuse) made against deputies or attorneys acting under registered powers.
The OPG has explained that the error occurred due to an increased volume of applications and better efficiencies in the way they now process applications.
“The good news is that the OPG have recognised the mistake and will contact people to help retrieve the extra money they have paid out. They have not only dropped the registration fee moving forward, but are also taking pro-active steps to refund those who have been overcharged,” said Private Client Solicitor at Pearson Solicitors in Oldham
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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
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