Power of Attorney – Are you due a Refund?

News from Alex Truesdale today in relation to possible refunds for recent Power of Attorney.

Power of Attorney – are you due a refund?

OPG LPA/EPA REFUND PROCESS: FEBRUARY 2018

WHY HAS A REFUND BEEN OFFERED?

When LPAs/EPAs are registered, a fee is payable to the Office of the Public Guardian, of £120 or £110 per LPA/EPA, which in some circumstances was reduced by 50%.

In an announcement made by the Ministry of Justice yesterday, partial refunds are being offered to those who applied to register for powers of attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 (you don’t need to know precisely when you applied).

According to the MoJ, the process to register LPA/EPAs became more efficient during this period (probably because the volume of LPA registrations submitted has climbed so markedly as the general public become aware of the advantages of having LPAs in place)  and as a result, operating costs for the Office of the Public Guardian came down. However, the fee charged for the application did not reduce in line with this. The fee was subsequently lowered by the MoJ to £82 per LPA, a change which came into effect on 1 April 2017. This announcement stops short of an automatic refund being sent out to all donors, so do please spread the word if you have friends, neighbours or relatives who may also have applied

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?

This applies to lasting powers of attorney (LPA) and enduring powers of attorney (EPA) made in England and Wales.  You can make a claim if you’re the ‘donor’ – the person who made the power of attorney, or an ‘attorney’ – appointed by the donor in an LPA or EPA.

The refund must be paid to the donor – or to his/her estate if the donor has since died and may take up to 12 weeks to appear. You only need to make one claim per donor, even if you made more than one power of attorney.

WHAT IS THIS WORTH TO ME?
How much you get depends on when you paid the fees – see table below. You’ll also get 0.5% interest. You’ll get half the refund if you paid a reduced fee (‘remission’).

When you paid the fee Refund for each Power of Attorney
April 2013 – September 2013

October 2013 – March 2014

April 2014 – March 2015

April 2015 – March 2016

April 2016 – March 2017

£54

£34

£37

£38

£45

HOW DO I CLAIM?

If the donor is still alive, start here:  https://claim-power-of-attorney-refund.service.gov.uk/when-were-fees-paid

You’ll need the donor’s UK bank account number and sort code.

You must claim by phone ( 0300 456 0300 (choose option 6))  if:

the donor doesn’t have a UK bank account
the donor has died
you’re a court-appointed deputy

CAN ALEX TRUESDALE WILLS LIMITED APPLY FOR THE REFUND FOR ME?

Unfortunately no – only the donor or the attorney is able to apply.

I HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS – WHO CAN I CALL?

Just phone 0300 456 0300 (option 6) or email the OPG on poarefunds@justice.gsi.gov.uk

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Email me to get in touch
Power of Attorney – Are you due a Refund?2018-02-02T13:18:10+00:00

Where there’s a Will – part 2

Where there’s a Will – part 2

I asked Alex Truesdale for her thoughts on the ruling by the Court of Appeal and am thankful for her very valuable insight, here are her thoughts and observations.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment in this long-running dispute confirms that disinherited children are permitted by a 1975 statute to challenge their parents’ Wills if reasonable provision for their maintenance is not made. “Maintenance” means the child’s cost of daily living at whatever level is appropriate to them. The question of what is “reasonable” is dealt with by the court exercising its discretion to consider a number of factors laid down by statute, including the child’s needs and circumstances, the needs and circumstances of the beneficiary who has inherited instead, and the parent’s conduct. Here, Arden LJ endorses the lower court’s description of Melita Jackson’s conduct towards her daughter Heather Illot, since their 1978 estrangement, as “unreasonable, capricious and harsh”, before replacing the lower court’s £50,000 award with a sum of £163,000. This, Arden LJ reasoned, would allow Mrs Illot to purchase her house, receive a modest income, and potentially arrange a pension through equity release, all without compromising her state benefits.

This is not new Law

None of this is new law. But it is inevitable that this high profile victory for Heather Ilott – albeit one which sees her receiving just over 1/3 of her late mother’s estate – will encourage further challenges to Wills which seek to disinherit family members, particularly if there is no connection between a testator and the charity which has benefited from a windfall legacy. A costs order has yet to be made but will be considerable: Melita Jackson’s insistence that her executors defend to the hilt any attempt by her daughter to contest the Will will already have eroded the value of her estate, and so now the charities themselves face a smaller residual legacy and their own costs bill. There may be a further appeal to the Supreme Court, but I would suspect that the charities will take a view on the reputational as well as financial damage they risk in prolonging a dispute which has run since 2004 and, arguably, since the estrangement in 1978.

Where does this leave testamentary capacity? Much as it was before – the award made in this case turns on its own facts, and does not represent any further curtailment of one’s freedom to leave one’s estate as one pleases, so we should all still be making Wills.

Think ahead and think carefully

However, I would encourage those who do wish to exclude family members from their Wills to leave contemporaneous evidence of their reasoning not only to exclude a particular beneficiary, but also to favour other beneficiaries. This is particularly important if, in the case of charities, the testator has no connection with, or history of donations to, charity during their lifetime. I have been instructed on a number of cases where we have done just that by way of a side letter, to try to avoid the washing of too much dirty linen during probate, a process which makes Wills public. And those asked to act as executors should always check whether they are risking accepting a poisoned chalice that may compel their involvement in a protracted legal battle. As in this case, that may, sadly, become the testator’s most enduring legacy.

Alexandra Truesdale MIPW

Alex Truesdale Wills Limited | Registered in England and Wales no 7275445 | Registered office: 27 Mizen Close Cobham Surrey KT11 2RJ

Alex Truesdale Wills Limited is a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters and complies with its Code of Practice

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Where there’s a Will – part 22017-01-06T14:39:25+00:00
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