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Lasting Power of Attorney

Woman meeting notary for advice

Talking to a Family Lawyer

We all fear some appointments, whether it is an appointment with a doctor or dentist, or meeting your family lawyer for the first time. In this blog, family law solicitor, Louise Halford, looks at how to get the most out of your first meeting with your family lawyer. For expert Divorce, Children and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form. In this article we look at: Choosing your family law solicitor Timing your appointment Company at your appointment Preparing for your appointment Talking to your family solicitor Choosing your family law solicitor Before your initial consultation with your family law solicitor, it is best to do some research on whether your family lawyer and the firm are the right fit for you. Just because a friend found a family solicitor wonderful in their divorce, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily be right for you, or that they are experts in the area of family law you need advice on. At Evolve Family Law, we believe in being proactive in helping you choose the right family solicitor for you. That’s why we publish information about the lawyers and our fee guide on our website. We will also speak to you to try and make sure there you are seeing the best solicitor for you at your initial consultation. That’s because family lawyers, just like consultants and surgeons, specialise in different areas of family law. If you need urgent advice about child abduction fears and child relocation orders you don’t want to see a solicitor who has a particular interest in international prenuptial agreements when the firm has expert children law and child abduction lawyers. Timing your appointment It is never too early to have an initial consultation. It can be helpful for you to learn about likely children or financial settlement options should you go ahead with a planned separation. That way you can make informed choices. Taking family law legal advice does not commit you to starting children law or financial court proceedings but it does help you work out the best options for you, through having the information you need to make informed decisions. [related_posts] Company at your appointment If you want to bring a friend or a family member to your appointment that should be fine with your family solicitor. Bringing someone with you can be really helpful as they can make sure that you are asking the questions you want answers to. They can also discuss the advice you received with you after the meeting. All family solicitors ask of you is; to choose the person who comes with you with care. That is because you may be discussing personal issues at your appointment. Your solicitor will not want you to feel inhibited and unable to be totally open about the reasons why you need help and legal advice. Also, a family friend or relative needs to be there as a support, rather than to take over the appointment to discuss their own family law problems or their own views on your relationship or family law issue. If they do that, it is frustrating for both you and your family lawyer solicitor as we both need to focus on you. Therefore, if you want company at your appointment, think about who will provide the best support to help you to get the most out of your consultation. Preparing for your appointment Whilst you are welcome to just turn up to your phone, zoom or office appointment, it can help some people to prepare for the appointment. We don’t mean anything ‘too heavy’ by this. Just have a think about why you need advice and the background. For example, your family solicitor may want to know the date of your marriage or date of separation or when your children were born or the approximate date of when an incident occurred . It is surprising how easy it is to forget dates or to only remember the questions you wanted to ask your solicitor after your consultation. Lawyers like questions, so do bring a list of questions with you. Whilst a family lawyer may not be able to fully answer all your questions at a first meeting, they will be able to tell you what information they need to gather to fully answer your queries. Talking to your family solicitor An initial consultation with a family solicitor is a ‘two-way street’; your family lawyer needs to know a bit about you and about your family law query as well as your goals. Armed with that information a family solicitor can help you get the best out of an initial consultation. Consultations work best when you have the confidence to ask your questions. You therefore should not worry about whether your questions are too basic or whether your solicitor will think you should know the answers. Likewise, your lawyer may need to ask you some questions that you don’t think are very relevant to your family solicitor answering your questions. However, there are some questions that will help your lawyer understand the circumstances so your legal advisor can then work out how best to answer your questions as accurately and as thoroughly as possible. For expert Divorce and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.
Louise Halford
Mar 17, 2022   ·   5 minute read
woman helping senior with paperwork

What Is a Power of Attorney in the UK?

A power of attorney authorises nominated members of your family or trusted friends to act on your behalf if you are not capable of making your own decisions because you lack capacity to do so. Many people don’t think that they need a power of attorney but accidents or sudden ill-health can happen to us all so it is sensible to put a power of attorney in place so it is there if you need it.Cheshire and Manchester Private Client and Power of Attorney Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialises in Will preparation and powers of attorney.  For advice on making a power of attorney or a Will call Chris Strogen at Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. We have offices in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire and Whitefield, Manchester but offer remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone.What Is a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney? There are two types of power of attorney and you can chose to have both or just one type, depending on your preferences. The health and welfare power of attorney gives authority to your nominated family or trusted friends (who are referred to as attorneys) to make decisions about your care needs and medical treatment.    Your attorneys are only able to act on the power of attorney if you are not able to express a view on your medical treatment or care needs because you lack capacity. Lacking capacity is something that is assessed by doctors and could occur, for example, if you are in a coma after an accident or have had a severe stroke or are on a ventilator.   What is a property and financial affairs power of attorney?  A property and financial affairs power of attorney authorises your nominated family, friends or professional advisors (who you appointed as your attorneys in the power of attorney document) to manage your property and financial affairs. For example, if you lack capacity to manage your own financial affairs it could be very helpful to have a trusted person ensure that all your household bills or care home fees are paid from your bank account or to arrange the sale of your family home if you need to downsize to a sheltered apartment or are moving to live with a family member.   A property and financial affairs power of attorney can either be set up so that it can only be used if you lose capacity or at any time, depending on your preferences. For example, if you have capacity to make your own decisions but spend a lot of time overseas it can be helpful to have an active property and financial power of attorney so your attorneys can sign paperwork on your behalf.   Who should you appoint as an attorney in a power of attorney? Your choice of attorney may depend on the type of power of attorney you are executing. If the power of attorney is a health and welfare power of attorney you may want to choose close family members or friends who know you well and would know what medical choices you would be likely to make if you had the capacity to make your own health and welfare decisions.   If you are planning to execute both powers of attorney then you can choose different attorneys for each document as you may think that different friends or family members would be better suited to manage your property and financial affairs.    If you decide, at a later date, that you want to change an attorney then you can do so provided that you have the capacity to change the document. That’s why it is important to review your powers of attorney when you are reviewing your Will or your insurance provision to make sure changes don’t need to be made.   How long does a power of attorney last for? A power of attorney is indefinite in length and will last until you cancel it. You can cancel a power of attorney at any stage provided that you have legal capacity to do so. That means that if you execute a power of attorney whilst in your twenties nominating your husband, wife or siblings to be your attorneys then the power of attorney document may never need changing. Obviously if you separate or divorce or one of your attorneys loses capacity or passes away then you can change the power of attorney at that stage.   When is a power of attorney used? A power of attorney has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian but a health power of attorney won't be used unless you lack the capacity to make your own decisions. Any loss of capacity to make your own decisions could be temporary or permanent, depending on the nature of your condition. A property and financial affairs power of attorney could be set up so it is only used if you lose capacity or so that the power of attorney can be used by your attorneys, depending on your preferences.   Is a power of attorney necessary?  If you lack capacity then a power of attorney makes it a lot easier for your friends and family to help and support you. Sadly, loss of capacity can happen quickly (because of an accident) or slowly (without our realising that we are losing our capacity) and that’s why it is sensible to sign a power of attorney so that you have the power of attorney in place when or if you need it.   If you wait and lose capacity then you can't sign a power of attorney at that stage. In addition your relatives can't sign a power of attorney for you. If you become incapacitated without a power of attorney then your family or friends can make an application to the Court of Protection for a deputy to be appointed to look after your affairs.    The drawback of not executing a power of attorney is that a court application for the appointment of a deputy costs more in legal fees than signing a power of attorney. In addition if you lose capacity your attorneys can immediately help you through the authority given to them in the power of attorney document. If family or friends have to make an application to court for a deputy to be appointed there is likely to be a delay between the Court of Protection application and the appointment of the deputy.    How much does a power of attorney cost?    At Evolve Family Law we believe it is important to be upfront and transparent about legal fees so we publish a price guide on our website. That way you have the confidence of knowing the price of a power of attorney document before calling our friendly power of attorney solicitors.   If you want Evolve Family Law to prepare a power of attorney for you or a relative (health and welfare or property and financial) the cost will be £240 inclusive of VAT. If you want us to prepare both types of power of attorney for you then the cost is £450 inclusive of VAT.   If you are married or in a civil partnership and you both want a power of attorney (health and welfare or property and financial) then the cost will be £450 for both of you. If you and your spouse or civil partner both want both types of power of attorney (health and welfare and property and financial) the cost is £720 inclusive of VAT.   There are registration fees payable to the Office of the Public Guardian for each power of attorney that has to be registered with the Office for the Public Guardian.   Although Evolve Family Law charge a fixed fee for your power of attorney you will get bespoke legal advice from a specialist private client and power of attorney solicitor that looks at your personal situation for a fee that is simple and understandable. Manchester and Cheshire Private Client and Power of Attorney Solicitors For specialist private client advice on your power of attorney or making or changing your Will or estate planning call Chris Strogen at Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law has offices in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire and Whitefield, Manchester but we also offer remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone.Latest From Our Family Finance Blog:
Chris Strogen
Dec 11, 2020   ·   8 minute read