Fees to register a Power of Attorney will go down from 1 April 2017
The fees for registering a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or its predecessor, an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), will decrease from 1 April 2017. The draft Public Guardian (Fees, etc) Amendment Regulations 2017 were approved without amendment on 21 March 2017, putting an end to doubts about whether there would be enough parliamentary time to deal with this.
LPAs enable a person to nominate individuals or a trust corporation to make decisions on their behalf when they lack mental capacity or in the case of financial matters if they are unable to conduct their affairs, for example due to being out of the country or being injured. An LPA has to be registered before it can be used.
An ageing population and increased concern about dementia has resulted in almost 2.5 million LPAs being registered since they were created in October 2007. This unprecedented high demand for LPAs has seen the scheme generate more revenue than the government is entitled to recover.
The fee payable on the registration of an LPA goes down from £110 to £82, while the fee payable on resubmission (where an application needs to be resubmitted due to an error in the original) reduces from £55 to £41.
The fee is worked out on the basis of covering the cost of registering the power of attorney as well as paying for the costs of the Public Guardian’s functions. Unlike the recently announced increase in court probate fees, LPA fees are linked directly to the processing costs, which have been streamlined which is why there is a reduction in this case, whereas court probate fees are not directly linked in this way.
There was some concern about whether there would need to be the usual 21 day period between the regulation being passed by parliament and coming into force. However, it was decided to implement this from 1 April so that the benefit could be passed on immediately.
The Hansard report refers to plans to introduce a refund for those who have paid the higher fee previously which will be announced shortly. It was debated whether this should be through an online system or whether mailings will be sent to the individuals who were over charged.
There was discussion about increasing publicity for the online tool to create LPAs but the overall figures of those using the service are good and MPs were conscious of creating opportunities for cold calling to take place.
If you are thinking of registering an LPA before 1 April 2017, you might want to delay until after the reduced fees come into effect unless there is a particular need for urgency.
Our specialist teams have a great deal of experience in drafting and implementing both financial and health and care LPAs so can prepare and register these documents for you, and advise on how they work in practice and on particular provisions that might be useful.
Please contact us here for more information.