In our weekly legal column, the Leader, with the expert advice of the team at GHP Legal, sets out to answer some of your problems. Today's question is answered by solicito Ulia Choudhry...

Can we claim back LPA registration fee as grandmother died before registration docs were returned?

Q: In 2021 my grandmother made an application to the Office of the Public Guardian to register her lasting powers of attorney, for both health and welfare and property and finances. However, she sadly died before the documents were registered and returned to us.

I was one of the named attorneys in her LPA, but due to the circumstances I am not sure what to do. Can I administer her estate using the LPA? Alternatively, if I cannot do this, can I ask the Office of the Public Guardian for a refund of the registration fees that my grandmother paid them?

A: A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) only operates during the lifetime of the donor. So once the person who has made the LPA dies, any authority connected to it also ceases. This means therefore that you will not be able to deal with your grandmother's estate administration using the LPA alone.

In respect of the fee, as the LPA was formally registered the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will not refund the fee for registration because the registration itself has taken place, irrespective of the fact that it was not able to be used.

If your grandmother died whilst the application was still being processed, i.e. prior to it actually being registered and returned, and you had informed the OPG of her death at this stage, then the outcome may have been different as the OPG have a statutory four-week waiting period they need to abide by before they begin to process the registration. So, If the registration process itself has not begun, then the OPG may be able to return the fee, but the fee is effectively lost once the registration process has begun.

• This question has been answered by Ulia Choudhry, a solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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