Deputyship fees refunds scheme launched
Refunds are being offered to those who were charged more than was necessary for certain deputyship fees charged for any period between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2015. Anyone who is eligible and who needs to apply for a partial refund on deputyship fees, was allowed to do so from 4 October 2019.
We have been told that current deputies who are actively acting for existing clients do not need to apply for the refund as The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will be in touch with deputies in the coming weeks to arrange any refunds due.
Due to difficulty in predicting costs as the number of deputyships rose faster than expected, the fees charged by the OPG did not match how much it actually cost the OPG to supervise. It has been confirmed that since 1 April 2015, clients have not been overcharged by the OPG.
The Ministry of Justice, which sets OPG’s fees, has now launched a refund scheme for those who paid higher fees for the qualifying period. 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. The scheme is similar to the recent court scheme where fees were refunded for overcharging on Lasting Power of Attorney registration fees.
Former clients where the deputyship has ended
If you are a former client and you are 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, or someone you are acting for, thinks they may be eligible please visit www.gov.uk/deputyship-refund for more details and to apply.
Ann-Marie Matthews is a solicitor in the private client team at Barker Gotelee, Ipswich Solicitors.