Private client is the term lawyers use to describe a range of personal services that assist an individual with their personal (hence ‘private’ affairs). This can often be linked with other matters such as buying or selling property or engaging in litigation but covers much more than that and can often cover very mundane or every day personal or financial matters. Dating back to the times when lawyers were used as trusted ‘men of letters’ or personal secretaries or business managers it stems from the needs people have to have a completely impartial absolutely trustworthy third party who will make sound decisions with only the client’s best interest and wishes in mind.
A power of attorney is a deed that gives someone authority to act on behalf of someone else. This can be very useful in managing personal affairs in all sorts of reasons ranging from illness travelling or working abroad or even imprisonment.
Can be executed well in advance of when they are actually needed and tend to be part of sound advance planning for when we get older and may need to start thinking about getting some help with our everyday life. They can be for both property and finances and for heath and welfare. A person can only make an LPA when they have legal capacity to do so and it can only be used once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). This is part of the Court of Protection . A Property and Finance LPA allows someone to assist with the decisions over bank accounts and other assets including houses . A Health and Welfare LPA allows decisions to be made and assistance given in everything from medical and care decisions to end of life treatment ( which requires specific advance direction )when someone is not able to make their own decision. These have become much more necessary as medical authorities and Care departments have to comply very carefully with issues of consent and confidentiality under GDPR and so can refuse to discuss matters with even close relatives.
Unfortunately some people delay too long before completing a Lasting Power of Attorney and their deteriorating health means they are no longer able to manage their own affairs and do not have the legal capacity required to execute the deed to give someone else the authority to help them . This can lead to considerable difficulties as they may now be depending on nursing care or other support but their funds and home are inaccessible to help them . The solution to this problem is an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed by the court. This can be a relative or trusted third party with a substantial connection to the person or indeed we can apply to be appointed if there is no one suitable or if the family are likely to disagree over the decisions that need to be made . The application process takes longer and costs more than an LPA and the Deputyship is also subject to more ongoing duties supervision and expenses so for this reason we strongly recommend the making of LPAs early whilst capacity is not an issue.
The decision making process for both Deputies and Attorneys is however reasonably similar being governed by the Mental Capacity Act ( MCA) which gives a number of principles and guidelines that should be kept to to help ensure that all decisions made on behalf of someone else are to be in their best interests first and foremost .
Trust funds can be set up in many different ways and for lots of different reasons. These range from charitable intentions ,joint ownership, personal injury or litigation settlements to Will trusts for beneficiaries who are not of age or under a restriction or a disability. Running a trust and being a trustee has its own set of problems responsibilities and challenges. We can either assist trustees that have been chosen or have ending up with the task or be appointed to act as trustees ourselves to ensure that the purpose of the trust is carried out. This impartial use of professional trustees often means much of the potential mistrust and friction that can sadly occur in families can be avoided.