Court fees and legal costs in the Court of Protection: How the Chicken and Egg dilemma can be avoided

If you are taking the time to read this article, there’s every possibility that a loved one has lost capacity and that you need to do something about it.

No one likes to pay for legal work to be carried out, but sometimes it is simply unavoidable.

Court of Protection work can be particularly time consuming and therefore expensive. Solicitors often require payment up front, which presents a particular problem for those making the application. On top of this, there are also Court fees to pay.

If a person (a “donor”) has lost capacity, you may find yourself in a classic ‘chicken and egg’ scenario: you cannot access their money, because the person has lost capacity, so to access their money you need to make a Court of Protection application, but to do this you need money. It’s a vicious circle.

We recognise that people will experience a ‘cash flow’ problem. We are therefore often prepared to defer our fees until the order is granted by the Court. This means that our fees can be taken out of the donor’s bank account once the Order has been made, instead of being funded by you up front.

Court of Protection applications usually attract a £400 application fee. It is possible to ask the Court to reduce their fees by 50% (known as a ‘remission’) or in some circumstances, remove them entirely (an ‘exemption’).

Exemption from court of protection fees

A person is entitled to a total exemption of the court fee if they are in receipt of certain benefits (remember – it is the person that has lost capacity who is assessed for an exemption, not the person applying):

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income support
  • Universal Credit – with gross annual earnings of less than £6,000
  • State Pension – Guarantee Credit
  • Scottish Civil Legal Aid

Remission of court of protection fees

A person is entitled to a 50% remission of the Court fee depending on their age and Disposable Capital or income.

Disposable Capital is usually made up of the following, although this list is not exhaustive:

All capital held in any type of saving accounts:

  • ISAs
  • fixed rate bonds
  • market linked investment bonds or savings, or
  • any other form of savings account.
Any type of redundancy capital payment received
Stocks or shares
Any jointly held capital (where one or more parties have a financial interest in a disposable capital source)
Second homes
Trust funds (where accessible), or any other fund available to you

The Capital Threshold limit depends on your age and the court fee, for most people, the capital threshold limits are set at:

  • Under 61 – disposable capital threshold -£3,000
  • Over 61 – disposable capital threshold -£16,000

What ‘income’ will be taken into consideration by the court of protection?

Income is the money you receive from any source and can include wages, money you receive from rental properties, relatives and selling goods publicly or privately, including over the internet.

A person may be entitled to a remission of court of protection fees if their monthly income is below a certain level.

If you would like to discuss funding options for making a Court of Protection application, please contact solicitor Christopher Holten on 0808 139 1606 for a free informal chat about how we can assist you.

The figures cited in this article were correct as at February 2015

Author: cpl

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