Later life planning
It is never too early to plan for your and your family’s future, as well as loved ones who are elderly or vulnerable. Whether you are approaching retirement, selling your business, becoming a grandparent, downsizing a property or considering introducing care at home, or moving into a care home, and how this will be paid for, planning ahead is key.
The earlier you start thinking about the support that you might need in the future, the better. This might be from a financial and a health and welfare perspective, exploring the possibilities for protecting your wealth, and planning for expenditure that might arise in future years. It’s always best to begin thinking ahead before you yourself are elderly or vulnerable and may not be able to make some of the decisions that will apply to your future.
Working with you
As you reach certain life stages, such as retirement and beyond, it is only natural to want to organise your affairs. You may want to consider how the wealth that you have built up can possibly be protected and handed down to your loved ones. You might also be thinking about how to ensure someone whom you trust can make financial decisions on your behalf, in the event that you might not be able to make those decisions yourself in later years. Updating your will and putting in place a financial Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) are good first steps to achieving this.
Finances are not the only aspect to consider. By thinking ahead regarding your health and welfare, you can appoint someone whom you trust now to make decisions about your care in the future, should you lose the ability to make those decisions yourself. You can also give careful thought to how you would like decisions to be made for you in different circumstances, for example, in relation to medical treatment. At what would be a difficult time for you and your family and friends, having LPAs in place can ensure that your chosen attorneys will have the peace of mind of knowing that they have the authority to deal with your affairs on your behalf, and may also have had the opportunity to consider your wishes with you in advance as well.
Working with your family
Our later life advisers also understand that sometimes events can overtake the best of intentions and gather pace when advance plans haven’t necessarily already been made.
If you have an elderly parent, friend or relative who needs support with later life planning, whether that be in relation to managing their financial affairs, planning for the introduction of care, looking at wealth and succession issues, or making health related decisions, our specialist lawyers can advise in connection with:
- Wills or estate planning
- Lasting Powers of Attorney for financial affairs and health
- Queries to do with capacity
- Deputyship, gift and statutory will applications to the Court of Protection
- Dealing with complex and high net worth estates and the protection of assets
- Community care and NHS Continuing Healthcare matters
- State benefits for the elderly
- Advance decisions.
We understand that these issues can arise at a time which is emotionally testing; getting expert advice and putting in place suitable arrangements can help to avoid further unnecessary upset and confusion that can either arise during that person’s lifetime if they are elderly or vunlnerable, or lack the capacity to make decisions, or after their death. We endeavour to guide you through these matters and deal with them sensitively.
Key areas to consider include:
1. Having a will, making sure your wishes are known
- Advance healthcare directive (living wills)
- Making a will, questions to consider
- Important documents relating to your will
- Protecting disabled and vulnerable children
- What happens if I don’t make a will?
- Choosing executors
- What do executors do?
- Leaving a gift in your will.
2. Powers of Attorney
- Lasting Power of Attorney - Property and Affairs
- Lasting Power of Attorney - Health and Welfare
- Registration of Enduring and Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Deed of Revocation - cancel an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney
- Advising lay attorneys on their duties and responsibilities.
3. Court of Protection
- Cancelling a registered Enduring Power of Attorney
- The Office of the Public Guardian and its role
- Advising lay deputies on their duties and responsibilities.
4. Financing and funding
Planning and paying for a funeral
- Care funding
- NHS Continuing healthcare funding
- Community Care Advice
- Advice on Welfare Benefits
- Financing options eg Equity release
- Financial support available
- Protection against financial abuse, scams and fraud.
Our areas of expertise
Our experienced team of lawyers is here to help. We offer a wide range of services for our later life clients including:
- Estate planning
- Inheritance and Capital Gains Tax advice
- Trust creation and management
- Preparing and advising on Lasting Powers of Attorney for both financial and welfare decisions, as well as advance directives (living wills)
- Dealing with the registration of Lasting and Enduring Powers of Attorney
- Problem Powers of Attorney and making applications to the Court to remove clauses that prevent the Power being registered
- Acting as attorneys and deputies, dealing with the day to day administration of a client's property and affairs
- Advising on and handling applications to the Court of Protection where the Court needs to make decisions, or where there is a conflict, including applications for gifts and statutory wills
- Advising on and handling welfare deputyship applications
- Advising attorneys and deputies on their duties and responsibilities
- Advising on issues of legal authority for decision making, capacity and best interests
- Advising on the financial aspects of care including local authority funding, financial planning and welfare benefits and liaising with other professionals (i.e. independent financial advisers) where required
- Contentious probate – our specialist team deals with a huge range of disputes for when things don’t turn out quite the way that was intended. For example, a child is disinherited from their parent’s estate, the executors aren’t fulfilling their duties, or there is concern that the person making their will did not understand what they were doing.
We have one of the largest specialist Court of Protection teams in the country, they work alongside our band one ranked private client departments to offer a unique combination of expertise and resources to deal with a range of work from planning ahead to implementing complex care regimes for clients in their own home.
Our clients include those with high net worth estates, family businesses, adults with learning disabilities or acquired brain injuries and elderly or vulnerable clients living with dementia as well as their relatives and carers.
Please see information sheets: Elderly and Vulnerable clients, Registration of an Enduring Power of Attorney and The role of an Attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney.
We will be able to provide initial advice on the services that we are able to offer you, once you have made your enquiry.
We realise that many of the legal issues that clients contact us for advice on are very personal and sensitive in nature. We pride ourselves in offering a friendly, supportive and efficient service to make the experience as easy as possible for our client.
The team has many years of experience and includes a member of Solicitors for the Elderly, a national organisation of lawyers committed to providing and promoting high quality legal services for older people, their family and carers.
For further information or a no obligation meeting, please contact Louise Mathias-Williams on 01892 701161 or Carrie Bryce on 01892 701272.
Louise Mathias-Williams and Simon Mitchell are both accredited members of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE).