Older Clients Issues - Frequently Asked Questions

28/10/2010
We are often approached by family members on behalf of an elderly person. These queries can be on a variety of subjects.

Mum is not well and needs a Power of Attorney so that I can manage her affairs for her.

It will be necessary for your mother to have a meeting with one of our specialist Private Client lawyers to discuss her requirements, and to instruct the lawyer on who she wishes to be her attorney and what powers she wishes that Attorney to have. Before any documents can be prepared the lawyers must be satisfied that your mother understands the nature and effect of the document she is signing.

It may be that it is too late for your mother to enter into a Power of Attorney, and an application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputyship must be made.

It may be that your mother wants to ensure that note is taken on her medical treatment wishes prior to her death. In this case she should also consider an Advance Directive (living Will).

Dad wants to make a Will leaving everything to me.

It is necessary for your father to have a meeting with one of our specialist Private Client lawyers to discuss his requirements, and to instruct the lawyer on what he wishes included in his Will. Before any documentation can be prepared the lawyer must be satisfied that your father understands the extent of his assets, his moral obligations and the nature of the Will.

Can the lawyer take instructions from a family member?

The lawyer cannot always act for the whole family, especially where there may be a conflict of interest. We may be approached by a family member, to prepare documents, or act in some way on behalf of another, but it is very important that the lawyer actually meets with the person who wishes the document preparing. That person is the client. Whilst it is understood that the family members wish to help their relative in any way including prompting them if need be on what their wishes are, you must understand that the instructions we receive must come from the client and must be freely given without any influence. The lawyer will insist on seeing the client alone so that a full and frank discussion can take place and the client's true instructions taken.

I want to ensure that my family do not pay any unnecessary taxes on my death.

Tax and estate planning are topics that our specialist Private Client lawyers can discuss with you. Inheritance Tax is something that many of our clients wish to discuss, especially where reliefs and exemptions to that tax may apply. There may be actions that you can take immediately, or through your Will, which can reduce the tax burden on your estate.

My pension income is inadequate and I need to find extra money.

Equity release is a subject that is fashionable at the moment but is not something that you should enter into lightly. You must remember that the amount your estate will ultimately have to repay the loan company will depend to a large extent on how long you live. Interest is added to the capital advance on a monthly basis throughout the length of the loan. It may be that the final debt is higher than the value of your home. It is important that you discuss your plans with one of our specialist Private Client lawyers before committing yourself to any advance.

I cannot manage at home any more on my own.

Care in the Community is something that one of our specialist Private Client lawyers can discuss with you and assist in arranging an assessment of your care needs. Not everyone will need to go into residential accommodation buy may be able to manage at home with daily help.

Should you need full time residential care, funding of fees is something that is in the forefront of many clients minds. Again, one of our specialist Private Client lawyers can discuss your circumstances, and assist in making any arrangements for your present and future needs.

For further information and assistance on any older client matter please contact one of our specialist Private Client lawyers to discuss your requirements.

This publication is written as a general guide only. It is not intended to contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.

 



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