People overcharged for deputyships can now claim refunds
People who were overcharged when arranging deputyships over a seven-year period can now claim refunds.
It’s thought the average pay-out could be £240.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) sets the level of fees for the appointment of deputies, who help people that lose the capacity to manage their financial and welfare interests. The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) administers the process.
The refunds are being offered to those who were charged more than was necessary for certain deputyships for any period between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2015.
A statement from the OPG said: “Due to difficulty in predicting costs as the number of deputyships rose faster than expected, the fees charged did not match how much it cost OPG to supervise. Since 1 April 2015, clients have not been overcharged.”
The Ministry of Justice has now launched a refund scheme for those who paid higher fees for the qualifying period in England and Wales. The scheme will be run by OPG and does not apply to fees paid to either OPG Scotland, the Office of Care and Protection in Northern Ireland or the Court of Protection.
If you are a former client now able to make all your own decisions, the former client’s attorney or acting on behalf of someone who has died, then you will need to apply for a refund.
Only one application form needs to be completed for each former client; OPG will then find all qualifying fees paid by them during the period.
Full guidance for those applying is available online and there is a dedicated refunds helpline for those who need it. If you think you may be eligible please visit www.gov.uk/deputyship-refund for more details and to apply.
People who don’t have internet access or need help with their refund can contact OPG on 0300 456 0300 and select option 6 to speak to a member of the refunds team. The scheme is open for 3 years so there’s plenty of time to apply.
Current deputies acting for existing clients do not need to apply. The OPG will contact them to arrange any refunds due.
Please contact Jonathan King or Jamiel Zaman if you would like advice about deputyships or lasting powers of attorney.