It’s important, while focusing on a business or career, not to lose sight of what happens next. The future of your business – succession planning and the like – may be in place, but what about personal affairs?
The recently strengthened Private Client team at DFA Law understands how difficult the conversations that need to be had really are, and so are also keen to assist clients in putting measures in place that protect their own interests while making life easier for their loved ones.
Rebecca Edmonds has recently joined the team and specialises in long-term care planning. In addition, Rebecca can assist with areas such as Court of Protection matters, Lasting Powers of Attorney, wills and estate planning to ensure that families know exactly what their loved ones want in later life. The input of a professional, who deals with matters without the emotion or sentiment families usually feel, can make difficult questions that much easier to ask, and answer.
“There’s no doubt that these are difficult conversations, no one wants to think that there may come a time when they don’t have capacity to handle their own affairs, but to have everything in order and plans laid out clearly removes a lot of the stress your family have to go through if something happens to you and they can’t act on your behalf,” said Rebecca.
“A lot of our clients come to us because they are dealing with other matters with another department and have been advised to plan for the future. Looking long term, people can make decisions about what they want their care to look like – a care home or a live-in carer, for instance, and then take steps, with the help of a financial adviser, to make sure they have the resources to fund the care they may need.”
The Private Client team often find themselves advising family members who have found themselves, maybe due to a medical issue, suddenly having to act on behalf of a parent or loved one and where no plans are in place. Decisions might have to be taken about choosing between care options and how that will be funded, adding additional worry to what is already a difficult situation.
“Where that is the case, we’ll often be advising on things like how to access assessments from the local authority, whether the person can fund their own care and what provisions are in place,” added Rebecca.
“It’s very satisfying to take a family through those initial steps and help them find a way to make it work, but fundamentally, it is much easier when plans have been put in place at an earlier stage.
“People worry about losing control of their affairs, but I liken LPAs to taking out an insurance policy – it’s there if you need it, hopefully you never will, but should anything happen, you know you’ve taken a lot of the burden off your loved ones.”
Rebecca’s appointment brings the DFA Law Private Client team to five lawyers. It is headed up by Hannah Furr, and also includes Emma Cass; Katharine Dexter and Hannah Cole. Each member of the team has their own specialism but together they offer a full range of services that covers all aspects of estate planning and administration as well as wills, trusts and probate.
Hannah Furr said: “It’s been the firm’s plan to expand the team for a while and now that we have Rebecca on board, bringing additional areas of specialism, we are able to increase the work we can do for clients. People are living longer, they need to plan their retirement carefully, ensure they have enough to live on, and to make decisions about passing on their assets in the right way and with an eye on the tax practicalities.
“It’s a very personal side of the legal professional because it’s dealing with how people live their lives and provide for their loved ones. Through getting to know clients and their families we find we’re working across the generations, helping each one plan for the next stage and what that will look like.
“And it’s never too early to put measures in place. If your children are still young and you’re not sure what they are going to do with their lives, or what help they are going to need, discretionary trusts can be set up where trustees can make decisions down the line about investments and who should get what share of the estate.
“Given a choice, no one would want their children to lose out, or go through any stress, because plans were not put in place, and we’re there to help them make sure their affairs are in order.”
Contact the DFA Law Private Client team on 01604 609560 or email email@example.com.