Vulnerable Clients

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Vulnerable clients

We are dedicated to safeguarding the welfare and financial affairs of those suffering from mental incapacity due to learning difficulties, old age and mental illness or as a result of an accident or medical negligence. Our specialist team advises individuals, their families and carers, trustees, local authorities, charities and other professionals on a broad range of issues related to capacity including the law and procedure of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, ongoing financial management and planning. We are conscious of the sensitive nature of our work and offer a highly personalised and responsive service, regularly meeting clients in their own homes.

Representation & empowerment

Our legal, financial and tax systems are now so complex that it is difficult to ensure you are receiving all the services, benefits and assistance that you are entitled to. Sadly, it is now often the case that you need to demand what you are entitled to. This can be a daunting task for most people and we have therefore developed a wide range of service options to assist our clients in this regard.

Our services begin with simple advice and support for clients who are able to represent themselves. We can assist such clients in accessing appropriate financial advice, benefits and care services either periodically or upon an ongoing annual basis. Ultimately we can provide professional fiduciary services for clients who require decision making to be delegated.

Professional fiduciary services

To take on the role of attorney or deputy is a significant responsibility and should only be entrusted to an experienced and independent person. As your solicitor we are uniquely placed to take on wider fiduciary roles on your behalf. Provided both parties are happy with the proposed arrangements, there are four different fiduciary roles which we may be able to take up on your behalf. Our fees for each will depend upon the particular matter involved and the principles of our Pricing Philosophy will apply.

Powers of Attorney

When someone becomes incapable of managing their affairs, it can be a very difficult time, both for them and their family and friends. When planning for the future it is important to consider what would happen if you were to lose mental or physical capacity due to dementia, illness or accident and could no longer manage your financial affairs. We therefore recommend the preparation of a Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’). This is an important document which enables you to choose one or more individuals to act on your behalf. You may wish to appoint your partner, friends, relatives or a director of Stonegate to fulfil this role.

The Court of Protection

If you were to lose mental capacity without having made an LPA (or its predecessor an ‘EPA’) then the Court of Protection may have to make decisions for you. The Court has a wide range of powers available to it, including the appointment of deputies, the completion of a Statutory Will and authorisation of gifts for inheritance tax planning purposes. We have significant experience in helping clients to make such applications to the Court. The application process is lengthy and complicated so carefully drafted applications are important in achieving timely, cost effect results.

Care fees & Benefits

As the government’s austerity plans progress it is likely that they will continue to tighten their approach to welfare payments. At the same time the cost of care continues to rise rapidly and as such professional advice with regard to your care options and entitlement to funding care fees is more important than ever before. We can advise on the implications of care costs and in relation to DWP, local authority and NHS benefit assessments and assist you in raising appeals against unfavourable decisions.