Keep It in the Family – Bentley House, 22 January 2020

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Charles Fraser and Victoria Wood of Longmores Solicitors’ Older and Vulnerable Client team recently addressed a group of residents, family and staff at Bentley House Care Home in Hertford. A broad range of issues relevant to the group were covered, including making Wills, Inheritance Tax considerations, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyships, and Continuing Health Care funding appeals.

It is not often that both residents/clients and their families get to discuss these issues together, so the setting at Bentley House provided the perfect forum for an open dialogue between everybody, guided by Charles and Victoria.

The discussion opened with a consideration of Inheritance Tax and some of the ways in which your family’s inheritance can be saved by ensuring all available nil rate band allowances are utilised; the effective use of both exempt and non-exempt gifts during lifetime; and a comparison of absolute gifts and gifts into trust.

We then contemplated Wills and how these were a useful tool, both for making a clear statement to family about your wishes with respect to your estate, funeral and guardianship of children, and in terms of making gifts into trust to provide control over the ultimate destination of assets. Such gifts also protect assets in situations where second marriages, care costs or vulnerable beneficiaries are a consideration.

Finally, discussion turned to care costs, appeals relating to Continuing Health Care funding decisions and considerations when granting Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). We also contrasted LPAs with applications to the Court of Protection for Deputyships and other areas in which Longmores can assist with applications to the Court.

It is always interesting to receive feedback on practical issues families are encountering. One such problem is where relatives have granted powers of attorney in their previous format, Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs), rather than LPAs. EPAs are still valid, but some officials, unfamiliar with them, raise issues when they are presented. This happens particularly because EPAs, unlike LPAs, did not require registration before use, and Longmores are able to advise on such situations.

Charles and Victoria regularly give talks on these matters. If you would like them to attend your care setting, or if you are a private individual who would like more information on the above, please contact either Charles Fraser or Victoria Wood.