The specialist family lawyers group Resolution (formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association) has set up a group of collaborative family lawyers who are trained and skilled in the joint approach to resolving family disputes. The purpose is for both parties to seek agreement without having to go through the courts. The separated couple sit down with each other and their own collaboratively trained lawyers and work out how to share the family assets and the responsibilities, for the children, for example, face to face.
It may take one meeting or it may take several. It requires a commitment to negotiate an agreement without going to court. The couple still benefit from having their own legal advisor, but set their own pace and agenda, with the assistance of their lawyers. The agreement in ancillary relief can be embodied in a Consent Order, subject to the approval of the court.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the lawyers involved cannot then act for either party in the subsequent court proceedings. This ? a real incentive for everyone involved to settle.
There is a growing interest in collaborative law throughout the country and more and more lawyers are undertaking training.
Contact Barbara Stevens, Collaborative Family Lawyer for more information
Do you have Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)?
In this article, we explain what is an LPA and the benefits of having them in place.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), 1) a property and financial affairs LPA and 2) a health and welfare LPA.
A property and financial affairs LPA allows you to appoint someone to manage your financial affairs on your behalf both when you have mental capacity and consent to them acting and also if you lose capacity in the future. A health and welfare LPA allows you to appoint someone to make decisions about your health and welfare, if you lack the capacity to make those decisions yourself. The person or persons you appoint will be known as your attorney orattorneys.
A person can only make an LPA when they have the capacity to understand the document, the powers they are giving to their attorney(s) and when those powers will come into effect. Although people often think of LPA’s as something to put in place as you get older in case you suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia, there is always the risk of losing capacity unexpectedly, for example, being involved in an accident or of contracting an illness where loss of capacity could happen rapidly.
Having one or both LPA’s in place can be beneficial as it allows your family or the people you trust most to take over making decisions on your behalf. It also provides peace of mind. Where someone does not have LPAs in place and loses capacity, the only option is to apply to the Court which is a lengthy and costly process. The Court will then be involved on an ongoing basis for as long as the person lacks capacity or until they pass away. The Court is reluctant to give someone the power to make decisions about a person’s health and welfare if there is no LPA in place and no specific issue to deal with.
We advise putting LPAs in place as early as possible as it takes at least 8 to 10 weeks to register the document with the Office of the Public Guardian and the document cannot be used until it is registered.
Cost can vary depending on the level of complexity and number of LPA’s – typically you might expect to pay between £450 to £950 plus VAT. Separate charges have to be applied in setting up an LPA called Court Registration fees which can range from £82 to £328 (variations may apply depending on personal circumstances). Our friendly and knowledgeable team can talk you through what might be the best options for you and give you an estimate of cost. Our team are more than happy to chat with you – we offer free 15 minute consultations for LPA’s. Ask for Claire, Kirsty, Sarah or Josephine in Wills and Probate department.