It seems at last that Local Authorities are now making it a priority that elderly people should be able to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. This is often with the help of a care package. I have no doubt that this will be for financial reasons but at last good news for our clients.
When I am drafting Lasting Powers of Attorney, I always discuss which powers the client wishes to give to their attorney. The vast majority will state that their home is not to be sold, and that they do not wish to go into a care home unless their own doctor assesses them as not being able to manage in their own home at all. This seems to be the single most important factor for our clients when they come to see us at Emmersons Solicitors Elderly Client Department.
If this resonates with you or your family then come and see us to discuss the matter further.
On another note, you will all have seen the new adverts about Dementia Friends. As a firm, Emmersons Solicitors has always dealt with a lot if elderly clients. We therefore took the opportunity to become Dementia Friends. Helen Miller, who is also a member of Solicitors For the Elderly, having passed their exam, attended a training session recently to become a Dementia Friend. I asked her what she gained from the training and was very moved by her answer,
“We discussed the illness itself and how it can make people feel isolated, frustrated, scared and vulnerable. I think that from now on, I will be even more aware of how our clients are feeling having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. This will also be relevant when I am acting for other family members in relation to a patient who no longer has sufficient mental capacity to be able to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. In such cases I then have to apply to The Court Of Protection for a relative to become a Deputy to manage the affairs of the patient. The Dementia Friends course will help me to look past the legal issues and past the illness itself to see that there is a v ery vulnerable person who needs help.”
Both Helen and I have dealt with Elderly Client matters for years, in my case 25 years. However, Helen’s comments had a very powerful effect upon me.
Finally, we dealt with a case recently that made us think again about the decisions that people make in their lives. When we are dealing with probate matters we may never have met the deceased however, we often ponder about their lives.
Some years ago a lady from the North East married a chap from the Middle East. They did not have children together. After living together for about five years they decided to separate. That was about 25 years ago. Last year the lady died, she had not made a will; a distant relative came to see us. We had to establish whether the couple had ever divorced. Having investigated this matter we concluded that no divorce had ever taken place in this country.
We then had to track down the husband with the help of an heir hunters firm. We did not know if he was alive or if he had instigated divorce proceedings in his country. Having found the husband he stated that he had not divorced his wife, he just assumed that she would have divorced him. Therefore he was still the lady’s next of kin and as such was entitled to her whole estate. We assumed that he may politely decline the money, after all he had not seen or heard of his wife for all those years. I bet you know the outcome; yes he took all of the estate.
Imagine the mess if the lady had children with another man. They would have been involved in a battle with her husband. What if she had a sister she was close to who had possibly nursed her in the later stages of her life, that sister would not have been entitled to anything.
Think about your own circumstances and who would inherit your estate if you do not have a will. Or do you have a very old will leaving your estate to someone you are no longer in touch with?
Don’t leave it to chance, ask us for a FREE APPRAISAL of your existing will.

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