Ealing solicitors respond to the challenges of our ageing society
With the increasing longevity of the UK population, ageing and quality of life in later years are becoming a growing concern in society. The demands of longer living, the breakdown of the nuclear family, and the changing idea of the wider family mean there is a huge need for professionals to update their knowledge and skills.
One Ealing solicitor has just been recognised for her expertise in advising older clients after earning new professional accreditations. Suzanne Mynors, at Prince Evans Solicitors on the Uxbridge Road in Ealing, has received two awards from Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE). SFE is an independent, national organisation of lawyers, including solicitors, barristers and legal executives, who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.
SFE members have experience and expertise in legal issues and ways of working affecting older and vulnerable people. These include older client communication and appropriate interview techniques, but also issues such as protecting vulnerable clients’ interests and safeguarding them from undue influence. At the same time they will take into account any difficulties, whether mental or physical to ensure clients can make the best decisions possible.
These solicitors will provide home visits where necessary. They will provide independent advice, which is in the older or vulnerable client’s best interests, respecting their dignity and understanding the need for a holistic approach to problem solving. All advice is of course always confidential.
Not just any lawyer can be a member of SFE. Members must have spent a substantial amount of their time working for older and vulnerable clients and have to fulfil exacting criteria for membership. They must also follow the SFE code of practice.
The awards Suzanne received from SFE are the Older Client Care in Practice (OCCP) award and the Older Client Law in Practice (OCLP) award.
Suzanne said: “I care deeply about ensuring that older members of our society are treated with respect, dignity and care. I provide services to vulnerable people right to the end of their lives, and I’m determined to do this to the highest professional standards. Having been a solicitor for over 17 years, I recognised the value of gaining accreditation for this and saw it as an extra endorsement of my skills.
“It was an opportunity to develop better interpersonal skills that are sometimes lacking for lawyers, especially when assisting elderly, infirm or vulnerable clients.
“The awards reinforce Prince Evans Solicitors’ commitment to investing in its staff as well as the firm’s reputation for providing service excellence to all clients.“
Since 2003 Suzanne has also been a member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP). STEP members help families plan for their futures: from drafting a will or advising family businesses, to helping international families and protecting vulnerable family members. STEP is the worldwide professional association for lawyers working in this area, promoting best practice, professional integrity and education. All members of the Private Client Department at Prince Evans Solicitors are also STEP qualified, marking the team out as experts in this field of law.
Anthony Best, a senior partner at the firm, added: “We are very pleased that Suzanne is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly and STEP as it demonstrates her ability to guide older and more vulnerable clients through the legal process.
“She has the specialist client care skills needed to support older and vulnerable clients and is experienced in understanding the additional needs and considerations that are often required.
“Prince Evans Solicitors place great emphasis on the importance of communication and building strong relationships with clients demonstrated in our commitment to the professional development of all our staff”.