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Elderly & Vulnerable Clients
As you grow older, there are several matters you’ll need to consider. Likewise, if you are supporting an elderly or vulnerable relative, it is important to make sure you are giving them all of the right support.
At Kingsfords Solicitors, our expert legal team have plenty of experience in supporting elderly and vulnerable clients with their legal affairs. We can advise you on everything from managing your finances and healthcare to selling your property.
We work with a wide range of clients, including those who are unable to take care of themselves and their finances or need support to do so e.g. clients with disabilities or learning difficulties.
Our team includes an expert group of Wills, probate and power of attorney solicitors. Many of our lawyers belong to the Law Society’s Private Client Section, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and one of our solicitors has passed the STEP Advanced Certificate in Advising Vulnerable Clients.
We understand that supporting older and vulnerable people is a crucially important service. Our team are dedicated to supporting our clients, protecting their needs and preserving their legal rights and ensuring their wishes are met.
Our solicitors for elderly and vulnerable people have expertise in dealing with matters such as:
- Preparation of lasting powers of attorney
- Wills and inheritance tax
- Applications to the Court of Protection
- Guidance on care & nursing home funding issues
- Advance decisions (living wills)
- General legal advice for older people & vulnerable people
Get in touch with our elderly & vulnerable client solicitors
Our elderly & vulnerable client expertise
Lasting Powers of Attorney are legal documents registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. An LPA permits you to choose a trusted person to act as your ‘attorney’ so they can make certain decisions for you. LPAs can be used if you need support to organise your legal affairs or if you are unable to manage these affairs yourself.
We are very experienced in providing assistance with preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney and supporting people acting under an LPA.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
Under a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, your appointed attorneys can support you to manage your financial affairs, to include managing your bank accounts, purchasing or selling properties, paying your bills and general financial assistance.
Personal Welfare LPA
A Personal Welfare LPA provides your attorneys with the permission to make decisions about where you live and your day-to-day care. Your chosen attorneys can also refuse or provide consent for your medical treatment, according to your predetermined wishes.
Appointed attorneys can only give consent on your behalf when you lack the appropriate mental capacity to do so. Our power of attorney solicitors can guide older & vulnerable clients to complete the LPA application process.
Advance Decisions (Living Wills)
Living Wills, also known as advanced decisions, allow people to determine their wishes concerning future medical treatment, including refusing medical treatment.
You might need a Living Will if you become incapable of communicating your preferences regarding your medical needs. An advanced decision is a legally binding document, ensuring that those who care for you are obliged to follow the instructions.
Our Living Wills solicitors can support you to draft a document that reflects your requirements. When you’re drafting an advanced decision, there’s plenty to consider. Advanced decisions should be based on your medical history, so you’ll also need guidance from your health care providers.
Making a Will and inheritance tax planning are essential parts of preparing for your future. Unless you draft a Will, any wishes that you have concerning your estate may not be followed. If an individual does not have a Will, their assets are distributed according to intestacy guidelines. These circumstances could cause additional emotional turmoil, for your loved ones left behind.
Our Wills and inheritance tax solicitors can support you to arrange your estate, minimising stress and ensuring that your legal documents reflect your intentions. Our solicitors for older people approach every case with both care and professionalism, providing complete assurance that your personal affairs are in safe hands.
Trusts are a way of protecting certain assets, such as property or cash. They can be used for purposes such as tax planning and making sure vulnerable people are provided for. One individual, referred to as the ‘settlor’, places assets into the trust, which will then be overseen by two or more ‘trustees’.
A trust may be necessary in the following circumstances:
- To protect assets until the beneficiary has reached a certain age.
- To put provisions in place for your loved ones in the future.
- To be used if a person cannot manage their own affairs due to lack of mental capacity.
- To support efficient tax planning.
To learn more about trusts and when you might need one, contact our trust solicitors.
The Court of Protection exists to safeguard people who lack capacity. For instance, if an individual loses mental capacity and can no longer handle their affairs. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, it can be difficult to manage another person’s affairs.
In these situations, it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order. The order allows the appointed deputy to take care of someone’s welfare, financial matters and property (depending on the terms of the order).
Our Court of Protection service includes the following:
- Deputyship Applications for Property and Financial Affairs
- Deputyship Applications for Personal Welfare
- Applications for Statutory Wills
Guidance on care & nursing home funding issues
Whether you receive care in your own home or at a residential care home, the associated costs can be expensive. Under some circumstances, you might be eligible for NHS support or a financial contribution from your local council.
If you have health issues, you might be eligible for support under the NHS Continuing Healthcare Scheme. If you do not fit the necessary criteria, yet you are receiving nursing care, the NHS may still pay a contribution to your care home.
It can be difficult to arrange, manage and fund your care without legal advice and guidance. Our solicitors for elderly and vulnerable people have plenty of experience advising clients about their care funding options.
General legal advice for the elderly & vulnerable
We can provide a range of general legal advice for older people and vulnerable clients including on issues such as:
- Legal advice on pensions
- Protecting your money and assets
- Legal advice on debt
- Health and social care
- Disputes with social services or the NHS
- How to obtain state support
Frequently asked questions about elderly and vulnerable client legal issues
Who are the SFE?
Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) are a group of lawyers dedicated to supporting vulnerable people and the elderly. The SFE is a well-respected legal group made up of qualified solicitors with specialist knowledge on working with older people. Many members of our legal team belong to the SFE, putting us in the best position to offer you an outstanding legal service.
How do I write a Will?
The first step to writing a Will is to assess the value of your estate. You can do this by creating a list of both your debts and assets. An estate is usually made up of the following assets:
- The house you own and any other properties
- The savings you’ve accumulated in your bank accounts
- Premium bonds, or other national savings
- Pension funds
- Personal belongings, for instance furniture, antiques and jewellery
- Investment trusts or stocks & shares
- Vehicles you own
To plan and draft your Will, you’ll need the support of an expert Will solicitor. This helps to ensure your Will meets the requirements to be legally valid and that all of your assets and loved ones are fully considered.
How much will I pay to fund my own home care?
Many elderly and vulnerable people choose home care, as opposed to a residential care home. If you’re eligible to pay your own fees, this option is referred to as self-funding.
Fees for homecare tend to vary depending on where in the UK you live. Age UK estimate approximately £15 per hour for the majority of homecare services.
Choosing your care options can feel a little confusing and you might not be sure about which kind of financial support you’re entitled to. For legal guidance on your care options, our solicitors for elderly and vulnerable people can assist you.
Where can elderly people access support?
There are a number of organisations that offer further support for elderly people, many of which are free of charge:
First Stop: A free service providing information to elderly people, about care options and housing.
Tax Help for Older People: A charity made up of tax volunteers, providing tax advice for elderly people receiving lower incomes.
Age UK: A non-profit dedicated to supporting older people, offering advice on a wide range of different topics from finances to health.
Speak to our elderly & vulnerable client solicitors in Kent today
- Marcus Parsons
- Director & Head of Wills, Probate and Powers of Attorney
- Julie Granger
- Director - Hythe Office
- Adam Luke
- Rebecca Evans
- Sarah Geering
- Elizabeth Isaac-Garner
- Chartered Legal Executive
- Emma Bishop
For more information please call us on 01233 624545