I continue to work with Ms J after she was sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983 with severe mental health issues.Ms J needed an Attorney appointing to manage her property and financial affairs and, as she has no family, was going to use our professional Attorney service.She was, understandably, desperate to get discharged from hospital but there were disagreements about where she would live.It took time to build a relationship with Ms J but this was vital to develop her self-confidence to consider different housing options and decide herself where she wanted to live. In the meantime, I was able to arrange temporary care whilst coordinating the sale of her house and arranging the purchase of a retirement flat where she has happily settled and resides to date. I also dealt with her capital gains tax liability in relation to her previous disposal of land with planning permission.
I am a senior solicitor specialising in Court of Protection work and part of the Health and Community Care team, based at our Westgate House office.
My previous experience in personal injury litigation provided a valuable grounding in working with vulnerable adults prior to specialising exclusively in Court of Protection work.
I now act for people who need to apply to the Court of Protection for authorisation to act or take decisions on behalf of a friend or family member who lacks mental capacity. This is an evolving area of law where an in-depth understanding of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and recent court cases is essential.
The most common applications to the Court of Protection are those seeking to appoint a Deputy to manage someone’s property and financial affairs. However, there are circumstances when health and welfare applications may also be appropriate. I believe that it is essential, when working with my clients, to "look beyond" the finances to fully understand their personal history, wishes and feelings so that I can tailor my legal advice accordingly.
Having built up a picture of someone’s needs, I can then provide advice on issues such as gifting, statutory wills, the Court of Protection application process, Trustee and Deputy roles and responsibilities and contested applications. I also ensure that we address the legal aspects of any care issues and I have represented clients at care reviews and best interest meetings to address these needs.
There are two fundamentally important aspects to my work – accuracy and understanding my clients’ specific needs.
Court of Protection applications can take many months and I have an eye for detail to deliver accurate submissions to minimise any delays. I also recognise that my clients are often vulnerable, with additional support needs. I spend time getting to know them so that I can provide an accessible service which enables them to participate as far as possible in decisions concerning their lives.
I am also experienced in providing advice in relation to complex Power of Attorney cases, particularly those requiring an application to the Court of Protection, to request, for example, permission for the Attorney to make particular gifts.
We have a number of long standing clients whose financial affairs we manage under either a Lasting Power of Attorney or a Court of Protection Deputyship Order. I provide legal supervision to our team and delegate tasks to other team members to ensure that our clients receive a cost effective and appropriate service.
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