Elderly Client Services

As you or your loved ones get older you may find yourself facing a number of concerns about the future, such as managing your financial affairs, paying for long-term care or protecting your assets for your children and grandchildren.  Therefore, getting the best legal advice to help with lifetime planning is essential.

Our Private Client lawyers specialise in advising on the legal issues that affect older and vulnerable people and their families, their carers and advisers. We can help you with the legal and practical decisions when dealing with these complex and sensitive issues because we take the time to understand your situation and offer legal advice tailored to help you achieve peace of mind in your later years.

Whether it is a simple case of writing a Will to ensure your loved ones are provided for when you have passed away or arranging a Power of Attorney for someone you trust to take over responsibility for your affairs, we will guide you along the best course of action.  We will take you through things step by step ensuring you fully understand the advice we give you so you can decide if it is the right course for you. We won’t pressure you into making a decision you are not happy with.

We will make home, hospital or care home visits.

More from the Downs Blog

Could you write a letter with your will?

In a previous blog I wrote about how the pandemic had caused a spur of new will applications, however, it seems that writing official records is something that has taken a lot of households by storm.

Are you locked out of your Child Trust Fund?

If you set up a trust fund for a child who has learning disabilities, you might want to consider how to access those funds when the child reaches 18.

The digital assets that are worth a will

Last year, we wrote a blog about how digital assets are commonly overlooked when writing a will. But, thanks to a recent survey by the Law Society, now might be the best time to give it some thought.

 

We are open

During these uncertain times, it is good to know you can count on us.

Even after the recent Government announcement of another national lockdown we remain open for business and are here to help you.

Actress case demonstrates how family feuds can go too far

Just as we publish a blog about why it can be difficult to leave direct descendants out of your will, we hear about the case of Tamara Lucas.

Watch out for sting in the tail for shared ownership with family members

Before going into shared ownership with any family members, just make sure you are not setting yourself a trap for later on - as one family nearly found out.

 

As well as credit checks, should more companies be running mental health checks?

Affordability is a key issue when it comes to any transactions or financial contracts. Whilst an applicant may be sound on paper, there are no personal or medical references needed, but why is that important?

When family feuds go wrong: Can I leave my son out of my will?

You’d be surprised how often I get asked questions like this in my profession, but whilst leaving a family member out of a will is a difficult moral dilemma, there might be other things to consider - or it could just come back to haunt you.

As Covid cases rise, protect yourself with an LPA

With the endurance of a second national lockdown, our hearts go out to those who are currently, or have previously, faced a battle with this terrible virus. As cases continue to rise, now is more important than ever to make sure loved ones are looked after - beyond just physical healthcare.

Deed of variation: Why it should always be carefully considered

Sometimes, even with good intentions, the allocation of assets and property when a loved one passes away can have unwelcome side effects. This was a harsh lesson one family learnt, when one spouse tried to leave half of a property to children - but it soon turned out this physically wasn’t possible.

Money talks: have you had a conversation with your other half?

A recent article in the Sunday Times featured a widowed gentleman, who wrote about how, during his 55 year marriage, he really struggled to deal with the financial side of his wife’s death - even though he had always been the one in the partnership who “took care of the money”.

Warning for will-holders as expat succession rules could change after Brexit

As talks continue surrounding Brexit and the UK’s formal departure from the EU, expats are being urged to update some of their important legal paperwork before the exit deadline.

Solicitor’s pet uncovers curious will that dismisses copy-cat claim in court

You couldn’t make it up, but it seems that a mischievous moggy was solely responsible for unravelling a mystery and helped solve a family feud over a £2m will battle.

Attorneys: are you doing all you can to prevent bank fraud?

Of course, no one plans to intentionally become a victim of fraud but, the fact is, scams are becoming so clever many of us fall for them without realising - and if you are an attorney acting on behalf of someone else, you need to be extra vigilant.

Social care needs to be more of a priority

According to research by Age UK, more than 2,500 elderly patients are kept in hospital unnecessarily as they had nowhere safe to go – and it’s costing the NHS around £587 million.

Could new IHT residence band see step children missing out?

New laws introduced by the Government from the tax year 2017/18 onwards allowed married partners to pass on up to £1 million worth of value in their family home, as long as it was passed to direct descendants.  However, since the law has been introduced, some have found themselves worried that some of their loved ones may be missed out.

New Will rules further address the need to write one

Surviving spouses and civil partners are about to benefit from an additional £20,000 if their spouse dies without leaving a will (or where there is an invalid will or it fails to deal with the estate fully). Under such circumstances the “intestacy” rules prevail, which are laid down in statute and create a proscribed order as to who inherits the estate.  

Could you consider a more vulnerable loved one this Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day is the time of year our minds turn to our loved ones. But, whilst exchanging cards or gifts is commonplace, it is worth considering other things you can do for a more vulnerable loved one.

Bringing life to the “death document”

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that humankind doesn’t like thinking about dying – and it makes us notoriously bad at planning for it. After all, who would want to plan for death, when life is all about living? The thing is, in my line of work, I see all too often how planning for death can actually help people live life to its fullest.

 

 

What’s the weirdest thing you could leave in a will?

No sooner had we written our recent blog about leaving crypto currency in a will, news hit the headlines about a football fan who left money in his will so that he could buy players a pint.

OPG release details on elder abuse investigations

In a recent blog, we reported how the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) had seen an increase of reports relating to elder abuse. Whilst this is unfortunately not a new trend, the report has thrown some light on the responsibility of carers and those who may be more vulnerable to physical, mental or financial abuse.

Should you be including crypto-currency in your will?

In a recent blog we talked about how digital assets may not be so clear cut when it comes to rightful ownership in the event of your death. However, if you happen to own any crypto-currency, you might want to think about telling your loved ones how to retrieve it.

Civil Partnerships can void a will - have you updated yours?

If anyone out there was lucky enough to receive a proposal over Christmas, chances are you’re still up on cloud nine. However, whilst thinking about any preparations, you might also want to think about some of the legal implications and how this will affect you and your family.

Funeral plans: Don’t let them be the death of you

“Gazelle will never say: ‘Just eat me’. We have to hunt.” This was a line spoken by a manager at one pre-paid funeral provider, according to undercover operations that were reported by the Guardian. Sadly, this is just another example of vulnerable individuals being put at risk – as most of them should probably never have been sold a funeral plan in the first place.

Inheritance tax: What’s changing – and how can you save thousands of pounds

Back in 2016, then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced as part of the annual Summer Budget, a tax break that would put many families in a more favourable stance when it came to passing on property after death.

Elder abuse: how that expectation of trust can quickly go wrong

I wrote a blog recently about why it is important to seek legal advice when seeking an attorney.This related to some published findings about those acting on behalf of a vulnerable person – and whether or not their intentions were genuine.

Always seek legal advice when nominating an attorney

In an article published recently by the Law Society Gazette, a law firm in London published findings of a survey relating to Lasting Powers of Attorney – specifically for those who act on behalf of a vulnerable person.

Those without a will could be letting the royals benefit from their cash

I’ve written a number of blogs about the importance of writing a will. But, in an article published in the Times recently, it really brought home the truth of what happens if we fail to write one and die ‘intestate’. The law then determines who will inherit depending on your family circumstances.

IHT refunds might be due on property sold at loss

Whilst the housing market continues to stagnate, it looks as though there could be some unexpected perks where a property has fallen in value.

Protective trusts could protect your family

It’s true that many consider trust funds as an outdated concept, but it might be time to dust them off – particularly if you’re looking to protect elderly or vulnerable members of the family.

Funeral disputes: a rise from the ashes

It’s an unavoidable fact of life, yet when it comes to death, we do everything we can to steer away from the subject. But, it’s an important one – because it means you and your family can have peace of mind.

What is the true cost of care?

We’ve all misplaced things occasionally, but a will is something that you’d hope would be stored correctly for a time when an executor would need to administer an estate. However according to a recent article, Lloyds bank has uncovered a number of wills that couldn’t be matched to owners.

Have a will? Check you bank

We’ve all misplaced things occasionally, but a will is something that you’d hope would be stored correctly for a time when an executor would need to administer an estate. However according to a recent article, Lloyds bank has uncovered a number of wills that couldn’t be matched to owners.

When is a gift not a gift? When it comes with conditions

I think we’ve all probably been in situations where we have handed out money, either as a loan or a gift, and had good intentions for the recipient. Whether it’s help to buy a car, or purchase a first home, many people often tend to gift money to help out family and friends.

Time to think about updating your will?

Not many people relish the idea of writing down wishes relating to their death, however, according to research by Royal London, more than half of us in the UK still don’t have one – and 5.4 million don’t even know how to get one.

What’s the difference between an attorney and an executor?

Whilst this may sound like the opening to a punchline, there is a serious side to this question. Do you know the difference between the duties of an attorney and the role of an executor.

Self-employed? You might want to think about how you will fund retirement

According to recent news, the average self-employed worker faces working until they are 79 to secure a big enough pension pot to support them in later life.

Things you need to know before becoming an executor

No one likes to think about death, but unfortunately it’s a fact of life. People not wanting to talk about death is one of the main reasons why 60% of us risk dying without a will – and without the legal protection of our wishes for our families.

Financial institutions need to do more to abide by LPAs

Going through the heartache of caring for an ill or elderly family members is difficult enough, yet for those who have secured a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) are still trying to jump through financial hoops.

Where there’s a Will… there’s a holiday?

It’s holiday season, so people are off on their travels. It is also the time of year when people start to think about their wills – either writing them for the first time, or updating them.

Unnecessary DIY Will Disputes are keeping High Court too busy

Many people are tempted to write their own wills to avoid the expense of a solicitor, however, a poorly-written will can quickly lead to mounting costs – as well as a legal minefield.

Why now is the most important time for the LPA

Lasting Powers of Attorney, or LPAs are legal documents that outlines for an individual who is or are appointed as an attorney/s in the event that the person making the LPA is not able to make decisions for themselves during their lifetime. There are two types of LPA, one covering property and financial affairs and the other in relation to health and welfare decisions including medical. LPAs are extremely important – as without one, your wishes and feelings may not be properly taken into account and there is no one to step in and make any decision needed in your best interests. In some cases sadly without an LPA the result in arguments amongst the family, particularly where there is a second marriage.

LPAS – Are you claiming Council Tax Relief?

Consumer website, MoneySavingExpert, has embarked on a long-running campaign to raise awareness of council tax discounts that are available to those who are considered “severely mentally impaired” – and it can include carers too.

Communication is key in bringing down Will Disputes

When it comes to wills, some clients come to me following the loss of a loved one, questioning whether their will was written fairly. It is often quite surprising to know what many of these clients are unaware that it is possible to contest a will, despite the fact it is a legal document.

Willing to get writing? Here are a few things to consider

Thankfully, will writing is being given more air time than it used to, but, it still doesn’t stop nearly two thirds of us not having one.

What happens if... My partner dies without leaving a will?

This is a very common question, because, sadly, so many of us die without making a will for one reason or another.

March in to Making A Will

An up-to-date will written by a solicitor is the best way to ensure your wishes will be respected. It allows you to provide for your family and friends and leave a gift to your chosen charities too. It is also a chance to think about updating your will if you have not done so in a while.

Fact: No will means unclaimed estates will be claimed by the Crown

We really do seem to have a reluctance to write a will in this country. According to recent research, around 60% of adults in the UK have not written a will. We may shrug it off as something we’ll “get around to” or “maybe someday” – but there is a very serious underlying issue. If you do not write a will, your estate is likely to be claimed by the Crown.

Will the Autumn Budget provide any more news for housing?

As the frenzy builds as to what the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget may contain, all eyes are once again on the property market.

LPAS: Are you entitled to a refund of overpaid registration fees?

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) launched a refund scheme earlier this year for Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) registered between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017. If this applies to you, you might be eligible for a refund from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

Where there's a will, there could be a cost trap

The following blog came about following a recent experience with a client. They had used a will writing company to prepare a will around 10 years ago. Since then they have paid £18 per year to cover the ongoing costs associated with storing the will. However, nine days after the client signed the will, it was deposited with the Principle Probate Registry for a one off fee of £20. Once received the Registry issue a Certificate of Deposit of Will confirming that it is held by them.

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