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In some circumstances, it may be inappropriate for family members to be your attorneys. It may be the case that you have no close family or support network. If a member of your family or support network have current or previous bankruptcy issues, they may be legally unable to act, or it may be inappropriate for them to act as an attorney.
Being an attorney requires specific skills and time to act in your best interests, which your family members or other support network may not always have. You may also have a difficult or complex family dynamic, for example, family disputes or breakdowns of trust.
In these circumstances, you may wish to consider appointing professional attorneys.
If you choose to appoint professional attorneys it is sensible to ensure they are professionally regulated, insured and specialists in this area of the law.
At Maitland Walker we are pleased to offer you our professional attorneys service. However, we can only offer this service for your property and financial affairs (and not for your health and care matters). Due to the related costs, it will generally also be inappropriate for us to act for you if you have a low value estate.
The LPA we prepare for you will contain a mandatory charging clause.
If you would like to appoint the partners as your professional attorneys, we will be happy to discuss this option with you. We will advise you as to how this arrangement will work in practice and our likely fees. Your matter would be managed on behalf of the partners by a specialist lawyer.
Our fees will be based on your circumstances and will be based on the amount of time spent. Our standard hourly charge rate will apply. Generally, we advise that the value of your net estate should be at least £500,000 to make it financially viable for you to afford the services of professional attorneys. From experience, we have found that for simple matters, the approximate annual costs of assisting with the management of property and finances are £6,000 plus VAT.
If you are considering this option, you may wish to include additional requirements or preferences in your LPA e.g. to provide copies of our invoices and accounts to a third party or to consult with a third party for important financial decisions such as selling your home. These stipulations must be workable and they may incur further costs due to the time that it will take us to consult and correspond with the third party.
We will provide your attorneys with updates of our estimated fees for acting for you and we raise regular invoices. This information is shared with you, if you have mental capacity or can be shared with the executors or beneficiaries under the terms of your will or the nominated third party, if you lack mental capacity.
When the partners of the firm are appointed as your attorneys we are led by you as to how much assistance and involvement you require from us.
Our role generally develops organically depending on the support you require. We will communicate with you carefully to ascertain your needs and we will be transparent with you about the costs implications of how you would like us to act. Our contact can be a regular meeting at your home if required, or a telephone or video meeting if you prefer. Our role can include the following:
• assisting you with post you receive
• setting up standing orders and direct debit payments direct from your bank account
• ensuring that your assets are managed appropriately and in your best interests
• ensuring that are receiving the state benefits and pensions etc that you are entitled to and, where necessary, applying for these on your behalf
• liaising with your accountant and overseeing the completion of your annual tax returns
• liaising with financial advisors to provide investment advice as we are not regulated to provide investment advice
• liaising with other experts such as valuers
• if you decide that you need to move into residential care, facilitating and supporting you with this move, and the sale of your property if this is required
If you lose capacity to make decisions yourself we will make decisions relating to your property and financial affairs. This will include ensuring your outgoings are paid, inspecting your bank statements and taking investment advice to plan and structure your finances to meet your needs and best interests.