Fees payable to the Public Guardian will increase tomorrow, 1 April, the OPG has reminded solicitors.
Under SSI 2015/260, which sets the fees for each year up to 2017-18, in broad terms fees currently below £20 will remain unchanged from 1 April, higher fees up to £80 will rise by £1, fees currently between £80 and £120 will rise by £2, with bigger increases applying above £120.
The fee exemptions scheme will also change from 1 April. An application form must now be completed to claim exemption from paying fees due to the Public Guardian. This applies even where civil legal aid was awarded to help with the costs of a guardianship or intervention order. The application form must be accompanied and submitted along with appropriate supporting evidence in order for it to be processed.
Solicitors preparing applications to the court for a guardianship or intervention order may apply in advance for exemption from paying the Public Guardian’s registration fee, as long as the application form and supporting evidence is attached to the court application.
The changes to the scheme mean that:
- for guardianship or intervention orders, legal aid only covers the registration fee;
- exemption now applies to power of attorney registration fee and associated fees;
- a granter/adult or their spouse/civil partner receiving specific means tested benefits is entitled to claim a fee exemption;
- the £16,000 income threshold no longer applies.
Changes to EPOAR
Fopllowing a review of the OPG's digital strategy, from a date to be confirmed, all copies of registered power of attorney documents to granters and specified persons will be sent out electronically by email instead of by paper. If no email address is provided, the sender’s email address must be supplied instead. The sender will then be required to provide the copy. This copy will not need be certified as it is for information purposes only.