NEWS


RETIRED SENIOR JUDGE LUSH WARNS THAT LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY CAN HAVE A DEVASTATING EFFECT BUT IS HE RIGHT? 

The BBC radio 4 Today programme interviewed retired Judge Lush after it was discovered that a retired veteran, Frank Willett was taken advantage of by his neighbour who withdraw all of Mr Willet’s savings and sold his house using a Power of attorney.

Judge Lush has estimated that out of 2.5 million registered Lasting Powers of Attorney 1 in 8 Lasting Powers of Attorney result in abuse or financial mismanagement but he could produce any statistics to back up his claim.

In his interview with Radio 4 Denzil Lush states that he would never sign a Lasting Power of Attorney and he would always prefer the alternative application to the Court of Protection for deputyship.

Here at Underwoods solicitors we offer both services and there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

This a legal document which allows someone to make financial or health and welfare decisions on your behalf when you can no longer do so.

What does a Lasting Power of Attorney do?

A Lasting Power of Attorney appoints an individual to act as the ‘attorney’ of another who is in some instances unable to make decisions for themselves because of a physical injury or declining health.

It allows the attorney to make decisions about that person’s financial arrangements, where they live, and even decisions including whether to sell their house.

By putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney you can control who you appoint to be your attorney. If you are already incapacitated unfortunately you will not be able to make that decision for yourself and that is where an application can be made to the Court who will appoint a person to manage your affairs.

There are safeguards put in place when you apply for a Lasting Power of Attorney. A professional or someone you trust has to confirm that you understand what you are agreeing to and you are not being coerced in to signing the Lasting Power of Attorney. You can also restrict your attorney’s powers by stating what decisions they can and cannot make.

Putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney can be arranged in approximately 8-10 weeks and then once registered can come in to effect straight away. An application to the court will often take a great deal longer.

Retired Judge Lush favours the appointment of deputies over Lasting Powers of attorneys. He raised a number of interesting points in his interview with Radio 4 but I am not sure I agree with all of them.

There has been considerable press coverage of Mr Willett’s case in which there was clearly an abuse of an enduring power of attorney’s position and I am afraid to say this can happen.

For the majority of people putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney can offer peace of mind. It is less expensive and a relatively straight forward process. The fees to apply to become a deputy are nearly five times as much and there is an ongoing annual cost depending on the level of supervision required from the court of protection.

Whilst I agree with Judge Lush that people should be fully aware of the risks of appointing an attorney and the power you are providing I do think that in the vast majority of cases Lasting Powers of Attorney operate with few difficulties. On the rare occasion of a problem with an attorney an application can be made to the court to have the attorney removed and an alternative person appointed in place of the attorney.

If you are thinking of putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney and you are unsure about the legal implications of doing so please contact Anna Patsalides of Underwoods Solicitors on 01442 430900 or email anna.patsalides@lawabroad.co.uk.


KERRY COMPLETES SAHARA DESERT TREK

Congratulations to Kerry Underwood who completes Sahara Desert Trek for charity.

Kerry in the Sahara

Kerry Underwood, Senior Partner at Underwoods Solicitors, completed a trek across the Sahara Desert, covering nearly 200km in temperatures exceeding 50 degrees centigrade.

The trekkers paid all expenses themselves and so all donations go straight to the charities involved, the Lord’s Taverners cricket charity which aims to give youngsters, especially those with disabilities, a sporting chance and the Ernst Young Foundation which assists disadvantaged young people in getting into employment and education.

Trek in the Desert
Tents

Kerry was one of 44 trekkers, including former England Test Cricketer, Matthew Hoggard and so far Kerry’s efforts have raised over £4,000.00 and the whole trek has raised over £85,000.

Kerry with Matthew Hoggard

Kerry said of the trek:

“It was very demanding and it is a long time since I have shared a tent with 10 people! There were only a few of us over 30 and nearly all of the trekkers were under half my age, but it was great to see so many young people putting in the effort to raise money for other youngsters who have not had their advantages.

The whole experience was very uplifting and the support given by those making donations shows that in spite of all the troubles in the world the vast majority of people are decent and generous.”

View of the Sahara

Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead said:

“Congratulations to Kerry – a great achievement for a great cause and keeping Hemel Hempstead in the news. I am very proud of him.”

Kerry’s target is to raise £5,000 and anyone wishing to donate can do so by going to https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/kerryunderwood1


Shine Night Walk
ANNA PATSALIDES HELPS TO FIGHT CANCER

Congratulations to Anna Patsalides, one of our solicitors, who has raised £280 to date by completing Shine Night Walk half marathon on Saturday 24th September in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Shine Night Walk is a full or half marathon night walk through London which has helped raise over £4 million with over 15,000 walkers taking part in the fight against cancer.

Anna completed the walk at around 2:30am with tired legs and a heavy heart.

Anna chose to support this event as Cancer Research UK is a charity close to Anna's heart. Like many people she has had family members fight this awful disease.

Help us to keep fighting cancer and please show your support by donating to Anna's JustGiving page https://goo.gl/w1728B.


HEMEL HEMPSTEAD BUSINESS AMBASSADORS

Underwoods Solicitors have been appointed Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors and Kerry Underwood has been appointed to the Board.

Kerry said:-

"I am delighted that Underwoods Solicitors are Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors and I am honoured to be selected to be on the Board. All of us at Underwoods Solicitors look forward to doing our best to promote this great town of Hemel Hempstead and to attract more business to the town."

Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead said:-

"Ten years after the Buncefield Depot fire, the council and local business community launched the Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors scheme to promote the town's continued recovery and encourage more businesses to invest locally, Kerry Underwood and Underwoods Solicitors have given an enormous amount of support to the town and I am delighted that Kerry has joined the board of Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors. He knows as well as anyone that our town has a huge amount to offer and is a great place to do business."


SPORTS DIRECT TO PAY £1M REFUND

Sports Direct have been failing to pay their staff the minimum wage and will now have to pay back-pay for four years in some cases. This is predicted to cost the firm £1 million and some staff will get over £1,000. For the BBC news story see here.

If you have any employment issues please telephone Kerry Underwood on 01442 430900 or email kerry.underwood@lawabroad.co.uk.


DRIVERLESS CARS

Kerry Underwood has a keen interest in the introduction of driverless cars.

The United Kingdom is ahead of the rest of the world in this field and the Department of Transport has issued a Consultation Paper on this subject.

If you have any legal issues or any general questions about driverless cars then please ring Kerry on 01442 430 900 or email kerry.underwood@lawabroad.co.uk