Legal Services for the Elderly Malton, York & Wetherby
There are many issues to consider as we get older. Amongst them is the concern over who would look after your assets, should you become ill, housebound or need to move to a nursing or residential home.
You can appoint an attorney to deal with your affairs in any of these situations and to provide peace of mind. This is done by executing a Power of Attorney or a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) whilst you are well enough to do so. If you are not well enough to execute an LPA then your family will be able to apply to the Court of Protection.
We can offer advice on the preparation of the LPAs and Deputyship applications.
Our team of specialist lawyers can also advise on other issues that may concern you including:
- Local Authority funding for long-term care
- Estates & Trusts
- Powers of Attorney
- Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
- Court of Protection
- Inheritance Tax
We are able to offer home or hospital visits if you are unable to travel to one of our offices.
A Helping Hand
When you have lost a loved one, you may need some guidance with sorting out their affairs at what is already a difficult time...
This is where Pearsons & Ward can help
Depending on the circumstances, you may or may not need to apply for what is known as a "Grant of Probate". We can advise you whether or not this is needed and, if so, we can offer as little or as much guidance as you need with this process, and with finalising your loved one's affairs efficiently, whether or not they left a Will.
Our rates are competitive and an estimate of costs will always be given before we carry out any work.
Advantages of taking legal advice
There are some areas of the process which you may be happy to deal with without the assistance of a solicitor, but if you do decide to seek legal guidance there are many advantages to this, for example:
- The process will be dealt with quickly and efficiently by experts with years of experience
- It takes the worry of dealing with the estate away from you at a difficult time
- Potential family feuds can be avoided
- Solicitors are experienced at dealing with HM Revenue & Customs to ensure that the deceased tax affairs are left in order, and have knowledge of issues which could otherwise have been missed (such as the possibility of claiming a refund of overpaid income tax on behalf of the deceased)
- Solicitors can offer ongoing advice to family members if they need it. For example:
- varying the terms of the Will
- making sure your own Will is in order
- advice on the setting up and running of trusts that commence on someone's death
- advice on ways of saving Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax.
Does your Will reflect your current circumstances?
If you don't have a Will, or have not reviewed it for while, we would strongly recommend that you do have a Will drawn up for the following reasons:
- You can control who will inherit your Estate after your death
- You will be able to plan for future tax implications
- You could make provisions for minimising nursing home fees
Many people who do not make a Will believe that assets will go to their nearest and dearest. Sadly, this is not always the case.
If you do have a Will, but have not reviewed it for a while, it is important that you do take a look at your Will to ensure that it still correctly reflects your wishes and also takes account of any changes in your circumstances. For example:
- Changes in family or financial circumstances - e.g. divorce, re-marriage, additional dependents, inheritance etc
- The age or death of a beneficiary or an executor
- The need to plan for future circumstances - e.g. tax planning, minimising nursing home fees etc
If, having considered the above, you wish to make or renew your Will, please contact us. We can offer:
- A fixed price for making your Will at a competitive rate
- FREE Will storage
- Wealth of experience in preparing Wills
Reduce your tax burden and make sure your assets go where you want them to go. With recent changes in tax legislation, it is more important than ever to make sure that you are aware of your liabilities and know your options.
With the right planning, not only can our team help you protect your loved ones and avoid unnecessary Inheritance Tax, we can even help protect you against the cost of Revenue investigation.
Taxation areas covered include:
- Inheritance Tax reduction strategies and planning
- Income Tax
- Capital Gains Tax
- Estate Administration, including your responsibilities as an Executor
We are members of the Law Society's Probate Section and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to choose a person or people that they trust (called attorneys) to make decisions on their behalf at a time in the future when they either lack the mental capacity or no longer wish to make those decisions themselves.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) were introduced in 2007 and there are two types: one that deals with property and financial matters and one that deals with health and welfare issues.
Property and financial affairs decisions include:
- Operating your bank accounts,
- Paying your bills
- Managing your investments
- Dealing with benefits/pensions
- Selling property
Health and welfare decisions cover:
- Diet, dress and day to day care
- Where you should live and who you should live with
- Medical treatment including consenting to and refusing medical examination and treatment
- Complaints about your care and treatment
- Acceptance or refusal to life sustaining treatment on your behalf
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) were replaced by LPAs. Although new ones can no longer be made, existing ones do remain valid. EPAs allow your attorneys to assist you in dealing with your property and finances and so you may wish to consider whether you now wish to appoint someone to help you with health and welfare matters by making this type of LPA.
Who would look after my personal welfare and finances if I were unable to?
If you don't know the answer to the above question then you are not alone. We often take for granted the ability to manage our financial affairs, such as paying household bills, mortgages, healthcare costs and give little thought to what might happen if we were unable to manage these tasks anymore.
Why would I be unable to manage my affairs?
For various reasons such as mental incapacity or physical restrictions, both of which can result from illness, accident or old age.
What can I do?
Set up a Lasting Power of Attorney ('LPA') - a legal document which allows you to appoint someone you trust (known as an 'Attorney') to act on your behalf if or when the need arises. This is different to an 'Executor' in a Will who can only act after your death. There are two types of LPA. One deals with finances and can be used even if you are not mentally incapable, for example, if you have difficulty in physically getting out and prefer to have someone take care of things for you. The other kind deals with personal welfare matters, such as where you live, life-sustaining treatment, medical care etc. This type can only be used if you lack the mental capacity to make such decisions yourself.
Who should I appoint as my Attorney?
Your Attorney or Attorneys could be trusted family members, friends or a professional such as a solicitor. We strongly recommend choosing more than one Attorney so that you are covered in the event of one of your Attorneys being unavailable if or when action is required. If you don't have family members who you wish to appoint, solicitors are a popular choice as, not only are they experienced in handling the kinds of responsibilities involved, their strict regulation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority offers peace of mind.
What is involved in making an LPA?
After choosing an Attorney(s), you should make an appointment to discuss your requirements, including any restrictions you may want to place on your Attorney's authority. We will then prepare a draft for you, which, once approved, can be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian so that it is in place should the need for it arise at a later date.
What happens if I don't have an LPA and become unable to manage my affairs?
The Court of Protection will deal with your affairs and appoint somebody to act on your behalf. This may not be the person you would have chosen and the process is not only expensive and complex but the costs involved are ongoing. Furthermore, there could also be delays in actually administering your finances whilst your application is being processed.
Why use Pearsons & Ward?
At Pearsons & Ward, we understand that the process of making an LPA can be a sensitive one as it requires you to look ahead to potentially difficult future events. As LPAs have such far-reaching financial and personal welfare effects, it is important not only to obtain proper legal advice but to reach a solution with which you are happy. Our highly qualified and experienced Wills & Probate team understands the importance of ensuring your peace of mind and will handle your case with Pearsons & Ward's trademark combination of sensitivity and legal expertise.
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) prepared before October 2007 is still valid but new ones could not be created after that date. Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) replaced EPAs from then onwards.
There are some differences between EPAs and LPAs, the main one being that EPAs only allow your attorney to make decisions about issues relating to your Property and Financial Affairs, whereas there are 2 types of LPA, one which covers Property and Financial Affairs and a separate one which covers "Health and Welfare" issues.
At the time when EPAs were made, which allows your attorney to assist you in dealing with your finances, the opportunity to appoint an attorney to act for you on health and welfare issues was not available. This could be something which you may now want to consider.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare allows you to appoint someone who you know and trust to make decisions about your health and welfare in circumstances where, due to a lack of mental capacity, you were unable to make those decisions for yourself.
Some of the decisions your health and welfare attorney could make:
- Healthcare and medical treatment
- Where you should live and who you should live with
- Day to day care, diet and dress
- Who you may have contact with
- Consenting to and refusing medical examination and treatment on your behalf
- Arrangements needed for you to be given medical, dental or optical treatment
- Assessment and provision for community care services
- Rights of access to personal information about you
- Complaints about your care and treatment
You can also decide whether or not you would want your attorneys to have the right to accept or decline life-sustaining treatment on your behalf, and this element has to be specifically provided for in the LPA document.
If someone loses capacity and has not made a Lasting Power of Attorney then it does not mean that no-one will be able to make decisions on their behalf. A family member, professional or friend can make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their Deputy.
The Deputy application is a detailed and lengthy procedure and requires information about the person's finances and a capacity assessment. Once the Deputy Order is made, the Court of Protection may impose ongoing supervision requirements such as the submission of an annual report detailing how you have managed the person's finances in the previous year.
Our expert team is on hand to advise you of your duties and responsibilities as a Deputy, complete and explain the application paperwork and support you with any ongoing requirements.
Contact our Solicitors for the Elderly in Yorkshire
To find out more about our Elderly client services and how we can help you, call us today on 01653 692247 (Malton) or 01904 716000 (York) or 01937 583210 (Wetherby), or complete our online enquiry form.