The ageing population means that there is a large and increasing market for legal services for elderly people. Services in which elderly people are often interested are:-
- Powers of Attorney
- Concerns about costs of residential/nursing care
- Equity Release
- Advice regarding dementia/mental incapacity
Individuals are free to obtain legal advice from wherever they choose. The advice could be from a Solicitor, or it could be from another organisation such as a financial adviser or a will writer.
Why use a solicitor rather than anyone else?
- Solicitors have undergone lengthy training, probably six years between leaving school and qualifying.
- Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which provides strict controls on the way Solicitors practice to ensure that the public are protected.
- If a Will or other document is stored at a Solicitors’ practice then the document will be kept safe, and if the Solicitor goes out of business the documents will pass on to a successor practice. The Law Society will be able to advise where the documents are held.
- Solicitors are insured. If anything goes wrong the Solicitor’s insurance will cover the costs of putting it right.
- Solicitors have to keep client’s money separate from their own money.
- Some unregulated Will writing companies are “here today gone tomorrow” organisations. Be wary of letting them store valuable documents for you.
Fees – Solicitors are required to be up front about the fees that they will charge.
You should be wary of organisations which:-
- Ask for significant amounts of money up front without specifying what it is to be used for.
- Offer an initial Will for a very low price coupled with a home visit. Clearly the organisation will have to sell other products or services to you to keep in business.
- Some organisations ask for significant money on account of “probate fees”. A bit like a pre-paid funeral. Be very cautious of such requests.
When obtaining advice of this nature, always obtain advice from a Solicitor, preferably one who has been recommended to you.
Otherwise, take a look at the website www.sfe.legal.com which represents Solicitors for the Elderly. This is a group of Solicitors all of whom specialise in providing legal advice for the elderly. Members of the Elderly Client department at Morrish Solicitors are members of Solicitors for the Elderly, and Tom Morrish is Regional Co-ordinator for the Yorkshire region.
Telephone Tom Morrish on 033 3344 9609 for further assistance or visit our website.