Divorce – The Facts

Divorce can be an emotionally challenging and stressful time for everyone involved and the amount of information flying around can feel overwhelming and confusing. Making sure you understand exactly what to expect and what you need to do is vital.

At Prince Evans we like to keep things simple and straightforward and specialise in minimising the emotional distress of divorce on clients and their families by providing expert help and advice.

When a marriage breaks down there are bound to be questions you need the answers to. Here are some facts about Divorce:

1. No-fault divorce

Unfortunately like many other countries such as USA, Canada and Australia there is no such thing as a ‘no fault’ divorce in England and Wales. This has been the subject of much criticism in recent years, however, as the current law stands, there must be an element of blame and one of five reasons must be cited when requesting a divorce:

  • Unreasonable behaviour

  • Adultery

  • Desertion

  • 2 years separation (with consent from your partner)

  • 5 years separation (without consent from your partner)

2. One year rule

You must have been married for at least one year to obtain a divorce, so if you’ve only been married for a short time, unfortunately it will not be possible to get a divorce straight away and there are no exceptions to this rule.

3. Quickie Divorce

Regardless of your individual circumstances and background a ‘Quickie Divorce’ is in deed a myth.

Generally the process can take up to 8 months, however, the length of time will depend on your particular circumstances, these can include; court delays, how amicable your separation is and how your family assets will be split.

4. Pre-nups

A pre-nup is essentially a guide to what happens in the event of a marriage breakdown but it isn’t legally binding in England and Wales. Whilst a Judge will consider a prenuptial agreement – it is possible that it may not be upheld, in particular if certain safeguards have not been met.

5. Court

Most often, divorce is a matter of paperwork. Although a divorce is obtained by making an application to a court, most divorces don’t actually end up going to court.

It is perfectly possible for an agreement to be reached with your partner regarding how family assets will be split. If however, you and your partner can’t agree on the terms or if matters are more complex, there are other forms of dispute resolution available, such as mediation as opposed to going to court.

If you feel that your marriage is in trouble or you are thinking about getting a divorce and would like advice please contact our Family Law Department. We offer an in depth one hour free no obligation consultation with an experienced family lawyer.

Things first time buyers need to know about buying their home

Buying your first property is a daunting proposition. There are many steps in the process and at Prince Evans we will do all we can to guide you along the way. With that in mind, here are 5 things you need to know about buying your first property:

  1. If you are buying with a mortgage then it is advisable to get approval from a lender before you start your search. Pick the right mortgage for you and make sure you shop around before settling for one. Once you are pre-approved, then you are ready to home-hunt. When you find your ideal home, you will need to make a detailed application to your lender so keep your mortgage advisors details close to hand.
  1. Choose your ideal location before searching for your home. Even if you do not have children, living near a school will enhance the value of your property.
  1. When deciding on your budget remember to factor in the costs of purchase, so as well as your deposit, you will need to cover legal fees and disbursements (such as search fees and registration fees) and Stamp Duty Land Tax.
  2. Although the budget may be tight on your first property purchase, it is really important not to scrimp on the cost of a good survey. Try to have at least a ‘Homebuyer’s Report’ carried out and not just the mortgage company’s basic valuation. A property survey will ensure you are not only aware of any hidden flaws the property may have but also that you are paying what the property is worth taking in to account any major works it might need.
  3. Pick the right conveyancer! There are many ‘cheap’ options on the internet, but a mix of unqualified staff carrying out the legal work and potentially missing important points and also not being able to return your enquiries quickly can actually end up costing you much more in the long run. A good conveyancer will be your main point of contact and be only a phone call away to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process.

We wish you happy home hunting and the best of luck for this adventure. If you would like to instruct Prince Evans please contact the Residential Conveyancing Team CLICK HERE

What happens to your digital legacies upon death

When an individual dies their assets are often left to family members, friends or charities in their Wills. Where there is no valid Will, the deceased’s assets are shared out according to the rules of intestacy. Someone that dies without having a Will is an intestate person. Married or civil partners and other close relatives can inherit under such rules. Therefore making a legally valid Will allows a person to protect their estate and determine in it who inherits what.

A digital legacy includes email accounts, music libraries, games, photos, videos, music and films legally obtained from iTunes and content in social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Often people are confused about how to deal with these upon their death, however there are provisions that one can make so that these are left in accordance with ones wishes.
This information can be dealt with a clause within your Will.

Further, it is worth looking into the specific procedures that may already be in place that the social media, email accounts and other websites have to cover the death of a user. Some social networking sites have policies on what will happen to deceased’s customers accounts e.g. Facebook allows a user to nominate a friend or family member to access the account upon death. It is important to ascertain what happens upon your death to each account in which you have an interest so that provisions can be made.

In a world where precious memories are now stored online, not leaving specific directions can run the risk of such photos, videos, music libraries being lost forever. Personal Representatives further run the risk of not being able to close accounts that are held in the deceased’s name.

A helpful tool for Personal Representatives dealing with a deceased’s digital legacies is having a list of all accounts and social networking sites together with wishes of what should happen in the event of their death.

The Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme Protocol, recommends “completion and maintenance of a Personal Assets Log, including digital assets and consideration of how to ensure that those dealing with the estate will be able to access those assets. This is preferable to leaving a list of passwords or PINs as an executor accessing your account with these details could be committing a criminal offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. It is enough to leave a list of online accounts and ensure this is kept current.”

Any documents that contain such important information must be carefully stored.

Each account has varying procedures as to what happens to an account upon death. In the event that provisions are not put in place upon death it may be that the accounts remain open for a period of time. This can cause some distress to family members. Other individuals may like for their accounts to remain open e.g. Facebook so that family and friends can leave tributes. It is important to leave clear directions and authority on how you would like such accounts to be managed.

Please contact Prince Evans Solicitors LLP for guidance on leaving your digital legacies.

Written by Huma Khan

hkhan@prince-evans.co.uk 

Photos from: Social Housing Lease Extensions Seminar

Photos from: Social Housing Lease Extensions Seminar

Jeremy Teall, Partner and Alasdair Muir, Senior Solicitor of Prince Evans Solicitors will be joined by guest speaker, Adrian Spellman of TH3 Surveyors to discussed the following topics:

• Why does a Leaseholder need to extend his or her Lease?
• How does a Lease qualify for an extension as of right?
• Should the parties use the statutory route or use an informal
arrangement without notices having to be served?
• What costs is the Leaseholder liable to pay towards the Landlord’s
legal and surveyors costs?
• How is the premium calculated ?
• What happens if terms cannot be agreed ?
• How does the Tribunal procedure work ?
• What deadlines apply ?

‘Wills & LPA Seminar’ Held with Cancer Research UK!

Photos from the successful ‘Wills & LPA Seminar’ Held with Cancer Research UK!

The regional legacy manager for greater London Cancer Research presented:
• An introduction to Cancer Research UK and what the charity does
• The CRUK Legacy Department
• CRUK’s Free Will Service

Following this, there was a presentation from an expert on the subject of Cancer
itself, and the broader context of the work that CRUK do.

Our Team: Partner, Ben Davies, Senior Associate, Geoff Randall, Senior Solicitor, Georgina
Crane, and Solicitor, Huma Khan from Prince Evans Solicitors LLP presented:

Wills
• why you need one;
• what the consequences are of dying
without one;
• how to reduce inheritance tax liability;
• how to use trusts to preserve assets and
protect loved ones;
• how to prevent future claims against your
estate.

Lasting Powers of Attorney
• why you should consider having one;
• what the latest legislation (EPA vs. LPA)
means for you;
• how to choose the most appropriate type
of LPA for your circumstances;
• what those involved in LPAs have to do;
and
• what else you can do if a person lacks
mental capacity.

What can you expect as a first time buyer?

The legal process in ten easy steps

1. Sort your finances.

You’ll see plenty of articles in First Time Buyer Magasine on sorting your finances in advance; get your credit score checked, have you got a deposit together, what about other fees like Stamp Duty or Land Registry? See more info below about some of these, but have you thought about these before you start your search?

2. Find a property and reserve this with the estate agent / sales team.

You’ve got your finances ready – find a property with an estate agent or new build sales team and reserve this. See our further info below on ‘reservation deposits’. At this stage you might want to meet with a financial advisor or mortgage broker to discuss your options.

3. Instruct a solicitor

If you’re buying a new build property the sales team will have preferred solicitors who they have worked with for years who will know the site. However, it’s always worth shopping around to get quotes from a range of solicitors to ensure you’re getting good value for money.

4. Your solicitor reviews the title

The seller owns the property and must prove this. Previously they would have done this by way of old original title deeds, however, now most properties are registered with HM Land Registry and the seller’s solicitor will provide your solicitor with evidence of this. Your solicitor will review this title and check for any issues or problems.

5. Your solicitor commissions searches

Your solicitor will undertake searches to protect you (and your mortgage lender). These will show if the property has had any problems with planning or building regulations, if the roads are maintained by the local council or someone else, if historically the land has had any negative uses (say if it was once the site of a petrol station or a dry cleaners).

6. You will sort your mortgage offer & your solicitor will check this for you.

Your mortgage offer comes in two parts. One part is sent to you and the second part is sent directly to your solicitor. This is because they act for both you and your mortgage lender and have to complete a form confirmation there is nothing wrong with the property and it represents good security for your mortgage lender.

7. Pay your deposit over.

Your solicitor will now ‘report to you’. This means everything you’ve had up until now, title, searches, mortgage, etc will all be sent to you, with everything for signing, along with a report on title. This summarises their investigation for you and should assist in your understanding of the legal background to your dream home. Read this carefully and if you have any questions do ask your solicitor – it’s what they’re there for. There’s no stupid questions and nothing we haven’t been asked before.

8. Exchange (legally binding)

Once your solicitor has your signed contract, your deposit money, and knows the date you and the seller have agreed as your moving date, they can exchange. This is a quick phone call between your solicitor and the seller’s solicitors and makes the completion date legally binding. Your solicitor will need about a week between exchange and completion to set everything up giving you time to pack!

9. Completion (moving day)

Your solicitor gets the rest of the money from you, your mortgage lender, and sends it to your seller’s solicitors. On receipt you have legally completed and can collect the keys to your new home.

10. Land Registry

Your solicitor will need to make sure you are the registered owner, and your mortgage lender is the registered mortgage lender for your new home. This will take them a few weeks and is completely normal so don’t panic. You can still move in and enjoy your new home while this happens in the background. (If you’re buying a new build property HM Land Registry take several months to register your new lease or freehold ownership so allow longer for this bit). We pay any Land Registry fees and pay your Stamp Duty for you.

FAQ’s

Why do I even need a solicitor? Your mortgage lender is going to be parting with a lot of money and they want this to be sent to a solicitors firm. This is because the solicitor will be acting for both you and your mortgage lender. They will also want the monies sent to a lawyer who will then register the mortgage against the property.

Do i need a mortgage broker or can I arrange my own? You don’t need a mortgage broker and can go direct to a bank or building society, however, brokers sometimes have access to exclusive products which could save you money in the long run.

I’m being sold extra insurance – do I need it? If you are buying a freehold property you will need to arrange your own buildings insurance before exchange. Once you’ve exchanged you must buy the property – even if it burns down or floods – so you’ll want your own insurance to fall back on. You may be offered additional insurance, such as mortgage payment protection, or contents insurance, and it is entirely a personal decision for you as to whether you take this out – you’re not obliged to.

Leasehold vs Freehold – a freehold property is one where you own the property and the land it is built on. With a leasehold there is a lease in place giving you rights, responsibilities, obligations over the specific property only, and agreements with the other leaseholders. Shared Ownership is always leasehold as you have a relationship with the housing association.

Why am I paying Stamp Duty? What’s my Land Registry fee going to be? Stamp Duty is a land tax payable on all transactions over £125k. If you are buying a new shared ownership lease you may have to pay stamp duty even if your purchase is less than this as the rental amount of your lease may trigger some SDLT be payable. Your Land Registry fee is based on the value of your property – your solicitor should put this their initial quotation but if they haven’t you can ask them for this information at any time – it’s easy for us to work out for you.

Reservation deposits paid to agents – is this legal? This is now the norm with new build properties but do read the small print – on what basis will you get the reservation fee back. What if you can’t proceed for reasons outside of your control (say you’re financially stable but then suddenly are made redundant resulting in your mortgage being withdrawn). Read the small print and understand what the conditions are for a refund thinking the entire time ‘worst case scenario’.

Solicitor / Licensed Conveyancer / Legal Executive – what’s the difference? All three are types of lawyers. All three pass strict exams. All three are regulated and have codes of ethical conduct they must abide by (such as keeping your information confidential, and always acting in your best interests, and not acting where they could be a conflict between your interests and someone else’s). All three must be skilled to undertake the work they are undertaking for you. Be careful if the role is ‘case executive’ or ‘case manager’ as this is not a formally recognised legal qualification.

Your First Home Is Now Within Your Reach With A Help-To-Buy: Isa

Most individuals would prefer to own a property and pay their own mortgage as opposed to renting their home and paying someone else’s mortgage. If you are saving to buy your first home then the Government will help you towards the deposit and boost your savings by 25% if your savings are held in a Help to buy ISA account.

If you are a first time buyer who has a Help to Buy ISA, follow these tips to help ensure that the purchase of your property goes smoothly;

– Choose a solicitor who has experience and knowledge of dealing with the Help to Buy ISA Accounts and are already registered on the Government’s portal for the Help to Buy ISA system.

– Inform your Bank with whom you have your ISA account that your offer has been accepted and you will be closing your ISA account in order to use the funds and claim the Government bonus

– Once you are ready to proceed legally, request your ISA Closing letter from the Bank setting out details of your Help to Buy ISA (this needs to include your account number and your closing balance) as early as possible as the letter can take a couple of weeks to arrive.

– The bank will ask you to transfer the funds you hold in your ISA account to a different account of your choice so that it shows nil balance before closure.

– Complete and return your First Time Buyer Declaration to your conveyancer as early as possible. This form confirms that you do not own and have never owned any interest in land anywhere in the world.

– You have then done all you need to in order to use your Help to Buy ISA funds and claim your bonus. The funds will be sent directly to your solicitors account on the day of completion to be put towards your purchase.

On the day of completion, the help to buy ISA funds, including bonus, are added to your mortgage advance and any balance due from you to complete and then forwarded to the seller’s solicitors to complete your purchase.

YOU ARE NOW A PROUD HOME OWNER.

LIMITATIONS/CONDITIONS FOR HELP TO BUY ISA

– You need to be a first time buyer (this includes property held anywhere in the world)

– ISAs must be opened by individuals aged 16 years and over, themselves and not on behalf of someone.

– The property you are purchasing should be residential property.

– The price of the property must be less than £250,000 (or £450,000 or less in London).

– Help to Buy ISAs are available to open until 30 November 2019.

– The maximum amount you can save every month is £200 after opening the account. In the first month you can save an additional £1,000.

– The property must be your only home, and cannot be rented out or used as a holiday home.

If you are a first time buyer considering a purchase and would like to instruct conveyancers who are experienced in dealing with Help to Buy ISAs, call Prince Evans’ Residential Conveyancing Team on 020 8280 2732

Written By:

Talwinder Mahal

Solicitor

 

Making a Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney

When a person is fully prepared, and has their affairs organised, he or she can be said to have his or her ducks in a row. Ensuring that you have a legally valid Will and Court registered Lasting Powers of Attorney will mean that when it comes to matters of estate and life planning, your ducks will certainly be in order. These essential legal documents will ensure that your wishes are carried out as you would want; be that regarding the division of your estate on death or managing your affairs should you become incapable of making decisions yourself during your lifetime”

So says Ben Davies, Partner and Head of the Wills, Trusts and Probate Department at Prince Evans Solicitors LLP.

A Will is one of the most important documents you will ever write, so it is important to ensure that it is done properly and kept up to date with life changing events you may face such as marriage, divorce, a child being born, a health scare, a new house etc. With the landscape of succession planning changing following the implementation of the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014, this is now an ideal opportunity for you to review your estate and have a legally valid Will prepared.

Where a person lacks the requisite mental capacity to make decisions concerning their own personal and financial affairs, it is too late to have a Lasting Power of Attorney drawn up. Do not run the risk of leaving it too late and being left unprepared. Ensure that your affairs are in order now by creating Lasting Powers of Attorney.

In my opinion, having in place an up-to-date legally valid Will and Court registered Lasting Powers of Attorney can be a great relief to those dearest to you, and can lessen the hardship they may face when attending to your estate on death, or making decisions in your best interests on your behalf during your lifetime.”

Prince Evans are holding a free ‘need to know’ seminar on Making a Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney’s on 18th September 2017 from 5:30pm at Ealing Golf Club. 

Should you wish book a place, you must register with Louise Heasman on 07950 248038 or e-mail her at louise@moderndaymarketing.co.uk

Court of Protection Applications

With the ever increasing longevity of the UK population, the question of ageing and quality of life are becoming increasingly fundamental to people’s way of thinking. Some of us may feel an uncomfortable gap in the knowledge and skills we have to cope with the demands of longer living. What do you do if you, a family member or a friend become unable to manage their own affairs?

At Prince Evans, our aim is to provide you with advice and information on all your options in order to protect you, those you care about, and your estate. This advice may help avoid problems and prevent unnecessary costs, losses or expense being incurred. Our care and legal system is complex and confusing, so timely advice is vital to avoid later complications.

If someone is no longer able to manage their affairs, it is probably too late to make a Lasting Power of Attorney to appoint someone else to act on their behalf. If there is a continuing need to make decisions on the person’s behalf, you can ask the Court of Protection to appoint you as a Deputy. A Deputy was previously known as a Receiver.

In 2011, a DWP press release estimated that nearly one in five people currently in the UK will live to see their 100th birthday. In line with the aging population, there has been a huge increase in the number of Deputies appointed by the Court of Protection, with a four-fold increase in applications in the period 2008-2012 which continues to rise.

The most common reason for a Deputy to be appointed is the onset of dementia. In 2015, there were 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and it is predicted that there will be 1 million by 2025. At present, one in six people over the age of 80 have dementia. Other reasons for the appointment of a Deputy might be an acquired brain injury or a learning disability present from birth.

A Deputy is usually a family member or someone who knows the person well. A Deputy can make decisions about someone’s personal welfare and / or their property and financial affairs.

If there is no friend or family member who is suitable or willing to act as a Deputy, the Court of Protection can appoint a professional. The team at Prince Evans are delighted to offer this service when needed, with extensive experience in attending to affairs of the elderly.

You will have to be able to show to the Office of the Public Guardian that you are acting in the best interests of the person who has lost their mental capacity and the Court can cancel your appointment if it decides that your appointment is no longer in the best interests of that person.

The Office of the Public Guardian is responsible for supervising and supporting all Deputies and Attorneys and will require you to submit a report to them of the decisions you have made on behalf of the person without capacity each year.

Most Deputies are appointed to deal with property and affairs. Since 2007, there have been over 10 times more of these applications than for the appointment of Deputies for health and welfare.

The Court can also authorise a Deputy to sign a Will on behalf of someone lacking mental capacity. This is called a Statutory Will. The Court application is lengthy and complex, but it is often in the best interests of the person that their estate does not pass entirely under the intestacy rules. Prince Evans can also assist with this type of application, as well as applications for an order authorising a Deputy to sell property held jointly with someone else, on behalf of someone who lacks mental capacity.

If necessary, you can apply to the Court of Protection for an emergency order, which can be made in as little as 24 hours. You might need to do this if an urgent decision is needed to protect someone’s health or safety. It is also possible to apply for an interim order, for example, if urgent action is needed to pay someone’s care home fees.

Banks and building societies agreed a consistent approach to dealing with Deputies and Attorneys in 2013 and helpful guidance has been jointly developed by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), the British Bankers Association (BBA) and the Building Societies Association (BSA), working in collaboration with the Law Society, Alzheimer’s Society, Solicitors for the Elderly and Age UK, with appropriate guidance as to how to manage a bank account on behalf of someone else being available to download from all their websites.

Regrettably, applying to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a Deputy is a lengthy, paper-heavy and expensive process. Keeping up with the increased demand in this area of law, Prince Evans has significant experience and expertise to assist you both with a Deputyship application and also with the on-going administration of the Deputyship, once the Order has been issued.

The best solution is to plan ahead and complete both types of Lasting Powers of Attorney and have a Will prepared when you are in full health and of sound mind. This not only gives you peace of mind, but can lessen the heart ache your loved ones may face, if they are required to make decisions on your behalf.

Written by:

Geoff Randall 

Senior Associate
020 8280 1719
grandall@prince-evans.co.uk

Retired senior judge at the Court of Protection lambasts Lasting Powers of Attorney – Is he right?

The BBC has recently published an article on a retired Court of Protection judge’s comments on the lack of safeguards in the power of attorney system in England and Wales.

Mr Denzil Lush has warned that people must be more aware of the risks and has vowed that he will not be making an LPA for himself.

His comments and the plethora of financial abuse cases highlight just how vital it is that legal professionals and, in many cases, medical professionals are involved in the preparation of such a document.

What one should not take from the comments is the suggestion that people should avoid making LPAs; there are countless reason why not making an LPA, or leaving it too late, can be hugely detrimental to one’s financial affairs and family life.

Some of the concerns raised are however extremely pertinent and I would like to discuss these in more detail as they highlight the importance of obtaining legal advice from experienced professionals who may be better-placed to spot a vulnerable individual (and therefore ensure the right safeguards are indeed put in place) or advise on the pitfalls one could face and how best to avoid them.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney and how can it help me?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) is a legal document that enables you (the ‘donor’) to appoint a person or people to be your decision makers (your ‘attorneys’), in the event that you do not have sufficient capacity to make these decisions yourself.

The LPA can also be useful if you still have sufficient ‘mental capacity’ to make decisions but need assistance from your attorneys and would like them to be able to manage your financial affairs with your consent.

A good example would be the elderly man who is downsizing to move into a retirement home – he needs to sell the house, buy the flat and therefore liaise with estate agents, lawyers, etc. This, as we all know, is stressful and could be particularly stressful for someone in old age or in poor health. His LPA would enable him to hand over this task to his chosen attorneys (who may be his children, for example). They can even sign the contract of sale on his behalf, with his consent.

This level of authority granted to attorneys does indeed give attorneys a huge amount of power over the donor’s affairs and, once they are in possession of the document, could technically result in the donor’s affairs being mismanaged or their assets stolen.

What protection do I have?

There are certain safeguards in place to avoid the above:

When the donor signs an LPA, a ‘certificate provider’ also needs to sign. This is an important safeguard against abuse. This certificate provider must be an independent person who signs to confirm the donor understands the purpose of LPA and the scope of authority conferred under it; that no fraud or undue pressure is being used to induce the person to make the power; and that there is no other reason to prevent the LPA from being registered.

In the old LPAs, the certificate provider had to make a statement as to their role – for example that either they are acting as a skill-based certificate provider (e.g. a health care professional such as the donor’s GP, or a lawyer with relevant expertise) or that they know the donor personally and have done so for at least two years.

Likewise, you used to have to ‘notify’ a third party that you were making the LPA – to give someone outside the LPA the opportunity to object to the appointment if they thought the choice of attorney was inappropriate. If you didn’t notify someone, you had to have two certificate providers.

The new requirements still insist on a certificate provider however she/he need not make such a statement. Likewise, if you don’t notify a third party you now do not need a second certificate provider.

This is in essence a removal of a previous safeguard. Whilst it has certainly made it a lot easier for people to make LPAs (and therefore encouraged them to do so) it has arguably opened up the opportunity for the abuse of vulnerable individuals.

What further protection is there for a vulnerable individual?

If a third party believes that someone is taking advantage of their position as attorney, they can raise this with the Office of the Public Guardian who are the government body who administer and register LPAs. The OPG have wide-ranging powers to investigate suspected cases of financial abuse and they will, very quickly, allocate a case-officer to scrutinise an attorney’s decisions and to meet with the donor.

If an attorney is found not to be acting in the donor’s best interests they may be removed as an attorney.

However, at the initial creation of the LPA, having professionals involved in the process is key to avoiding the appointment of an unscrupulous attorney.

On the face of it, we certainly welcome the fact that LPAs are being promoted as we see all too often the consequences of someone losing their mental capacity having failed to make an LPA in time and the subsequent difficulties faced by spouses and families who need to manage their financial affairs. The process for applying to the Court of Protection to appoint a ‘deputy’ for an incapacitated individual is still a lengthy and often expensive route. Additionally, the individual does not have a ‘say’ in who becomes their deputy, due to their incapacity. An LPA on the other hand, made in good time, will enable you to choose your attorneys.

However we would always advise that individuals seek legal advice and ensure lawyers and/or medical professionals are involved in the LPA’s creation.

Legal professionals with the relevant expertise may be able to detect warning signs that an individual is or could be subject to financial abuse. Likewise, we can advise on the drafting of ‘instructions’ and ‘preferences’ that can be incorporated in an LPA, which can act as safeguards. We can ensure that if there is a hint of diminishing capacity or a wavering memory a medical professional acts as certificate provider and, in some cases, undertakes a mental capacity assessment before the LPA is signed.

Should you not wish to confer such a wide-ranging authority on your attorney by making a Lasting Power of Attorney (one that will only end on certain occasions such as your death, you revoking the LPA, or the death of your attorneys) it is possible to make a ‘General’ or ‘Ordinary’ Power of Attorney that can be used for up to a year and/or for a specific purpose (such as allowing your attorney to discuss your investment portfolio with a financial institution; or one that allows your attorneys to sell your property).

Again, it is extremely important that you speak with a legal professional and we can advise you on these documents.

The Wills, Trusts and Probate team at Prince Evans have the relevant expertise to advise all clients on this area, including clients who wish to make LPAs in relation to their business.

Please contact Ben Davies the head of the Wills, Trusts and Probate team for more information at: bdavies@prince-evans.co.uk

Author: Georgina Crane – Senior Solicitor, Prince Evans Solicitors LLP.