OUR SERVICE FOR YOU
Naomi Pinder and Gaynor Lanceley are dedicated solicitors who have combined experience in Private Client of over 47 years. We specialise in helping clients in relation to estate planning, Wills, Powers of Attorney, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Declarations of Trust, Trusts, Probate, Intestacy, administration of estates and inheritance tax, Deeds of Variation and Court of Protection.
We are passionate about raising awareness about the legal consequences of death and loss of capacity to make decisions whether through dementia, stroke, illness or accident. The importance of making the correct legal arrangements well in advance cannot be underestimated.
We are happy to discuss initial queries over the telephone, there is no charge made for this service and we will be able to either put your mind at rest that no steps are needed, or we will be able to advise you about the steps to protect your interests and make things easier for your family.
Making a Will
Making a Will can be daunting and we will take care and time to guide you through the process. Our knowledge and experience in Wills and Probate enables her to advise you about the best way to achieve your wishes. We will ensure that you understand fully the contents of your Will and that you are happy with everything before you sign it.
Some of our clients are too infirm to come into our office, and Naomi will see local infirm clients in their own home for no extra charge. You decide where your Will is stored, but we can look after it for you in our safe at no extra charge.
The cost of your Will is between £175 and £225 plus VAT, and includes full advice tailored made to fit your own individual family and financial circumstances. This cost includes an appointment to take instructions and a separate meeting to check and sign your Will.
Making a Will Trust
Everyone’s circumstances and concerns are different. We listen to you and then advise to address your worries, for example, our advice will be different if we are helping a couple who have been married for 50 years, or if it is for a young couple who have recently got civil partnered and have a child or a second marriage, or an unmarried and non-civil partnered couple. You can see already that the list is long. There is no rush to make a final decision, the purpose of your Will is to reflect your wishes and intentions and to give you the peace of mind that everything is taken care of.
Will Trusts are trusts which are defined in your Will and which come into effect upon your death. The simplest example is a trust created for a minor child, and they can also be used to protect assets from the potential loss to the family, for example through the re-marriage of the surviving spouse or through the payment for care.
Will trusts can also be used to protect the interests of a beneficiary who is vulnerable or living with disabilities.
Choice of Executors and Trustees
Family members can act as executors and trustees and if the estate is particularly complex or there are no suitable family members or for some other reason, Catherine Higgins Law can be appointed. The costs implications of appointing a solicitor trustee are explained and discussed to enable you to make an informed decision.
Probate, Intestacy and Administration of Estates
Bereavement is difficult and we spend time in working with families and beneficiaries in advising, collecting information necessary to apply for Probate, dealing with any inheritance tax issues. We advise where there is no Will and the person has died intestate. In these cases, the law decides who deals with the estate and who benefits. We are also pleased to administer the estate, produce accounts and distribute the estate.
Probate costs are a legitimate concern for the family and work is carried out in an efficient and cost-effective manner. As far as possible fixed fees are agreed before the work is undertaken and if the estate is particularly complex an estimate of the fees is provided and kept updated at regular intervals.
We don’t want any nasty surprises regarding costs at the end of the administration.
Further details are provided in the dedicated sections of the website. We are also able to discuss the costs over the telephone, sometimes, a quick chat is better than the written word.
Planning for Potential Loss of Capacity
As a society we are generally living longer, but many of us will lose our mental capacity to make decisions. The pain and loss experienced by your family at that time is severe and the purpose of making the LPAs and advance care plans is to protect yourself and make things better for your loved ones.
Your family will face the trauma of your loss of capacity, and it is important that they do not also face any avoidable legal and financial difficulties. You can ensure that they are able to manage your financial and property affairs and make decisions regarding your personal care and health by making the LPAs. If you do not make LPAs, your finances would be frozen and an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection.
We are very experienced in dealing with the legal aspects of planning for the loss of capacity through making Lasting Powers of Attorney, Living Wills and advanced care plans.
It is vitally important to make plans well in advance and to avoid the need to apply to the Court of Protection, a procedure which takes a very long time to be resolved, costs a lot of money to set up and there are additional annual fees payable.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)
LPAs are very powerful documents as they give legal authority to your attorneys to make decisions on your behalf if you have lost capacity to make the decision at the time the decision needs to be made. Attorneys are under legal duties to protect and enhance your understanding and to act in your best interests at all times.
An LPA for property and financial affairs can be used to carry out your specific wishes when you have capacity, for example if you are abroad and wish to sell your house or if you have a physical condition affecting your ability such as loss of sight or broken limb.
An LPA for health and welfare can only be used if you lack mental capacity to make a particular decision at a time the decision needs to be made.
We will take time to take full details of your family circumstances and discuss the people you are able to appoint to make decisions about your property and financial matters and your health and welfare.
You are able to make these documents over the internet, but we caution against doing this as the consequences and relevant law and guidance need to be understood fully. It is similar to carrying out a medical self-diagnosis from inputting signs and symptoms into a search engine – a risky business.
Choice of Attorneys
Attorneys can be family members, more than one can be appointed, there are different ways in which they need to make the decisions and replacement attorneys can be named. The combination of your attorneys can be different in your financial LPA and your health LPA.
We will spend time discussing the ramifications of the appointments and how they will work in practice. We will advise you about the legal duties which bind your attorneys, including the duty to keep accounts, the rules about making gifts and the role of the Office of the Public Guardian.
If you do not have anyone suitable to appoint as your attorney, in certain circumstances, Naomi and Catherine Higgins would be able to carry out these duties. Solicitor-attorneys are under a very high duty of care and we would discuss the practical and costs implications to enable you to make a considered decision.
This area of work is carried out on a fixed fee basis and fees are agreed before work is undertaken. The cost making LPAs for finance and health is £600 + vat. There is also a registration fee of £82 for each LPA making a total of £164. In other words, making both LPAs is £884 (You may be exempt from the registration fee depending on your financial circumstances).
Court of Protection
A person may lose capacity to manage their affairs and have not made an LPA. In these cases, the person’s finances are frozen and an application must be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. This Court Order provides legal authority to a named person or persons to manage the affairs of the person who has lost capacity under the auspices of the Court of Protection.
We have wide experience in these matters and will be pleased to help in connection with the application to the Court and any related matters which may arise.
The costs are fixed by the Court and are £950 + vat. There are also other expenses including the court fee, insurance premium and the doctor’s fee for issuing the medical report.
Planning for the Future Series
Naomi has spent time in developing a series of life planning documents which we will discuss and give to you. They are designed for you to provide relevant and up-to-date information to help your attorneys to act in your best interests if you lose capacity. There is no additional charge for these important documents.
We look forward to hearing from you and working together to achieve your wishes.
By providing your details, you are happy to allow contact about your query from a solicitor at Catherine Higgins Law Limited.