Wills, Trusts & Probate Archives - MLP Law

Celebrity Estates

Jimi Hendrix

Our first celebrity in our new monthly series is the musician described in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as ‘the most gifted instrumentalist of all time’, Jimi Hendrix.

Jimi died in London in 1970 at the age of 27 having aspirated on his own vomit, without making a Will. When he died, Jimi had $20,000 in the bank and various debts, however, because of the estate receiving income from royalties, his estate is now valued at a massive $175 million.

Jimi’s father Al Hendrix was the sole beneficiary of his entire estate. In 1974, the lawyer Leo Branton who had helped Al manage the estate, convinced Al to sign over all of Jimi’s rights for a small, undisclosed amount. Al later sued Branton, claiming Branton had a conflict of interest in the sale as he had an interest in the company he convinced Al to sell to. Al’s claim was successful and Branton settled.

Until his death in 2002, Al managed the copyright for all of Jimi’s work and when he died, Al left his entire estate to his step-daughter Janie, excluding Jimi’s brother Leon.

Leon contested his father’s estate, claiming that Janie had influenced his father to exclude him from his Will. The Court disagreed and in 2007 the Court rejected Leon’s claim against Al’s estate.

From 2004, Leon has been involved in a series of legal battles for using trademarks and copyrights related to Jimi owned by Al’s estate. For example, Leon has used Jimi’s signature to market alcohol and Jimi’s branding to market marijuana products.

Although not all of us have royalty income worth $175 million, the family warfare in Jimi’s estate can happen in estates worth any value.

If you believe your family member or friend has been pressured or coerced when preparing their Will, or you would like to ensure your wishes are adhered to by preparing a Will, please get in touch with our experienced Wills, Trusts and Probate team at MLP Law on 0161 926 9969 or email WTP@mlplaw.co.uk who can help. 

Dispute over George Michael’s Estate from former partner

It has been more than five years since George Michael’s death on Christmas Day 2016, yet the disputes regarding his estate are only just reaching an agreement.

Despite having left a Will leaving his estate being split between various family members and friends, his estate was contested by his former partners, Kenny Goss and Fadi Fawaz neither of whom were provided for under the terms of the late singer’s Will.

Fadi Fawaz issued a claim on the basis of maintenance to support the lifestyle which he became accustomed during the couple’s seven-year relationship. Previously reported, he had asked to remain in the £5 million property where George had allowed him to live.

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 is designed to protect people who ought to have been provided for under a Will but for some reason, were not. Those individuals are entitled to make a claim against the estate for reasonable financial provision to be made. A category of persons eligible for making a claim are spouses or partners who had been living with the deceased in a loving relationship for two years prior to their death.

Fadi Fawaz were reportedly in a relationship for five years prior to George Michael’s death, so it is reasonable to believe that he was capable of bringing a claim against the estate if he could demonstrate this and that he was financially maintained by George prior to his death.

Meanwhile, Kenny Goss persevered in attempting to claim from the late singer’s estate. Following the bitter court battle the trustees of the estate agreed to an undisclosed settlement to Kenny.

Although the estate was left to family and friends, Kenny Goss claimed that he had been promised monthly maintenance to support him following their split in 2011. Kenny sought the sum of £15,000 per month, for life. Kenny argued that he was financially dependent on George during their relationship and he had given up his own career to focus on his relationship with George. Crucial to his claim, he stated that he had remained financially reliant on George even after they split and until George’s death in 2016.

As previously mentioned, the 1975 Act allows certain categories of persons to bring a claim against a deceased’s estate. In this instance, Kenny would need to demonstrate that he was financially dependent on the deceased prior to his death.  Kenny also claimed that when George prepared his Will in 2013, there were questions surrounding his mental capacity.

Kenny based his lawsuit on two common reasons for making a successful claim for inheritance. As he was capable of demonstrating his financial dependency on the deceased he was able to reach an undisclosed settlement with the estate trustees.

The importance of a properly prepared Will offering you all the advice and guidance you need is vital in complex circumstances. Seeking advice from a specialist can avoid the need for lengthy and costly legal proceedings following the death of a loved one.  

MLP Law are advocates at ensuring our clients’ needs are provided for, including preparing them for events during lifetime as in death, to ensure peace of mind. At MLP Law our team of experts are here to talk you through the process, guaranteeing a service which is tailored to your individual needs.

How can MLP Law help me?

If you’re thinking about making or updating your will or require assistance with estate planning needs, please get in touch with our Wills, Trust and Probate solicitors. If you have any particular questions regarding dealing with claims for family and dependents are specialist solicitors can offer advice and guidance.

Our offices are open for covid-19 safe appointments, alternatively we can discuss your instructions via telephone, video call or email.

Contact Details for Wills, Trusts and Probate Team: 0161 9269969 or WTP@mlplaw.co.uk

What was in Princess Diana’s Will?

Princess Diana died on 31st August 1997 in a tragic car accident in Paris, however, there are thousands of conspiracy theories that dispute this and argue it wasn’t an accident. We will resist the urge to delve into some of those conspiracy theories, and instead take a look at Princess Diana’s Will.

Diana’s estate was valued by The High Court of Justice at £21,711,485.00, however, Diana’s estate was liable for Inheritance Tax and the ultimate value of the estate once Inheritance Tax was paid was around £12-13 million.

Executors

In a Will you appoint people you trust, usually up to 4 people, to act as your executors and administer your estate upon your death. The executors will apply for a Grant of Probate (if necessary), collect in the estate assets, pay any debts and then distribute the estate to the beneficiaries.

In Diana’s Will, she appointed her mother, The Honourable Frances Ruth Shand Kydd and her sister The Lady Elizabeth Sarah Lavinia McCorquodale to act as her executors.

Gifts

Diana made various gifts of money and personal items in her Will:

  • The sum of £50,000.00 was left to Paul Burrell, Diana’s butler from 1987;
  • The sum of £100,000.00 and Diana’s clothes (including her wedding dress) were to be held in a discretionary trust for the benefit of Prince William and Prince Harry, their future family members and special charities. Royalties from authorised use of intellectual property (items containing Diana’s photo, name, etc.) and the accumulated interest of these assets was also to benefit the discretionary trust; and
  • Personal effects (including photos, paintings and china) were to be left to her 17 godchildren.

Residuary Estate

The remainder of Diana’s estate, once all debts had been paid (including the hefty Inheritance Tax bill) and gifts had been settled, was to be divided equally between Prince William and Prince Harry.

Letter of Wishes

Diana wrote a Letter of Wishes, which is not legally binding, to accompany her Will and requested that 75% of her personal belongings be inherited by Prince William and Prince Harry and the remaining 25% was to be distributed between her 17 godchildren.

Variation of the Will

In December 1997, shortly after Diana passed away, the executors obtained a “variation order” to vary the distribution of Diana’s Will.

Prince William and Prince Harry were to receive their share of the residuary estate upon reaching 30 years old, however, they could receive income from the estate at 25.

Rather than 25% of Diana’s personal belongings being distributed between her godchildren, the godchildren were instead allowed to pick one item chosen by the executors upon Prince Harry turning 30 in 2014.

The reasons for the executors wanting to vary Diana’s estate are unknown.

If you would like advice on Inheritance Tax planning, preparing your Will or administering an estate, please get in touch by email to WTP@mlplaw.co.uk or phone 0161 926 9969 and we can help.

We are offering COVID safe appointments at our Altrincham and Lymm offices, or telephone and Zoom appointments – whatever is best for you!

Estate Planning: Managing your affairs in a Post-Covid world

Welcome to our series of blogs, addressing post-lockdown issues from a legal perspective.  This week sees the latest blog, from our MLP Wills, Trusts and Probate team, looking at Estate Planning post lockdown.

Uncertain times often lead us to review our personal and financial circumstances, it can be helpful to consider the practical steps you can take to plan for the future.  Covid-19 has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind during the last 12 months, and this article looks at the key things to consider to getting your life back on track and putting effective strategies in place to manage your business and personal affairs as we come out of lockdown.

We have set out below some things to consider putting in place as part of your estate planning needs:

A Will:

Preparing a Will and ensuring your affairs are in order is fundamentally important. It offers you the peace of mind that your wishes are met, whilst easing the stress of loved ones who ultimately have to administer your estate.

There are many benefits to a properly drafted Will and these include providing for minor beneficiaries and the appointment of guardians, help reduce your inheritance tax liability, asset protection and protection of assets for vulnerable or disabled beneficiaries. Reviewing your Wills in ever changing circumstances can ensure that your instructions are up to date and tailored specifically to your needs and wishes.  It is beneficial to consider the use of trusts in your Will to best manage your affairs and make use of all available reliefs.

Without a Will in place, your loved owns will have no choice but to distribute your estate in accordance with the Intestacy Rules.   The rules determine who should inherit from the estate of the deceased based on the surviving family members. The rules do not take into account personal relationships and who is at need but simply look at the family connections and bloodline.

With today’s wide range of estates and the complexity of family structures, it is important to seek professional guidance to ensure that all matters are dealt with properly.

Lasting Powers of Attorneys:

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone, in advance of deterioration of health, to make decisions on your behalf. This is becoming increasingly important as the risk of mental incapacity grows. However, the key thing in preparing these documents is that they need to be put in place before an individual loses capacity.

There are two types of LPAs, a Property & Finance LPA and a Health & Welfare LPA. Property and Finance LPAs let you appoint someone to make decisions including helping you with finances, managing your taxes, buying and selling assets. The Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions relating to your personal care, accommodation and life sustaining treatment.

In the absence of an LPA, if you were to lose capacity your loved ones would have to apply to the Court of Protection to be made a Deputy. This process is both long and costly.

Preparing LPAs at an earlier point ensures that you have control over who is appointed and you can make them aware of your wishes, to ensure that they always act in your best interest.

Business Owners:

The turbulence of the last 12 months has highlighted the need for business owners to think about succession planning, this can include putting provisions in place should one part die or review the passing on of shares in the company to family members.

Succession planning for businesses is beneficial for the owners, the company and their clients. By ensuring the company goes through a stable transition, the company is able to continue providing the same quality of goods and services without any interruption.

Business assets may qualify for certain reliefs on death and preserving these reliefs is an important part of the succession planning process as the concern for most is that they have worked so hard to build their company. Preparing a full plan ensures that there is business continuity and the owners or their successors in title are protected.

It is also important for business owners to consider the consequences, should they be unable to make decisions. Business owners can make business LPAs which deal specifically with the needs of the business. This provides the owners with peace of mind that should they lose capacity the day to day running of the business should be unaffected.

Next Steps?

If you require assistance in dealing with your estate and planning for the future, our specialist team are available to discuss your instructions and requirements with you. Our offices are open for covid-19 safe appointments, alternatively we can discuss your instructions via telephone, video call or email.

Contact Details for Wills, Trusts and Probate Team: 0161 9269969 or WTP@mlplaw.co.uk

FAQ – Lasting Powers of Attorney

Welcome to our series of blogs, addressing post-lockdown issues from a legal perspective.  This week sees the latest blog, from our MLP Law’s Wills, Trusts and Probate team, looking at Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Our blogs over the coming weeks will address a full range of topics across all our services – including our corporate, employment, commercial property, private client and family departments –  as we explore various post-lockdown challenges and opportunities.

“What are Lasting Powers of Attorney?”

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document in which a person (the ‘donor’) appoints people whom they trust (the ‘attorneys’), in advance of deterioration of health, to help make decisions or to make decisions on their behalf of the donor in relation to their finances and/or personal welfare.

There are two types of LPAs, a Health and Welfare LPA, and a Property and Financial Affairs LPA.

An LPA for Property and Financial affairs is vital for managing your bank accounts, investments and any properties you own should you lose capacity. Your attorneys help to make decisions including helping you with finances, managing your taxes, buying and selling assets.

Health and Welfare LPAs are crucial for giving people you trust a say in the most important decisions, for example, your medical care, where you live and your daily routine, and life sustaining treatment.  Otherwise these decisions are made my medical professionals rather than family or friends who you trust.

 “What happens if I don’t make Lasting Powers of Attorney and I lose capacity?”

If you lose capacity without making LPAs, then your family or friends who wish to help you manage your affairs would need to make an application to the Court of Protection to request the appointment of a deputy to help manage your affairs.  This process can be both lengthy and costly.

Court of Protection applications can take around 6 – 7 months and can be considerably more expensive than Lasting Powers of Attorney. During this time while application is being progressed, there wouldn’t be anyone who could lawfully help you with decisions in relation to your health and welfare or property and financial affairs.

 “I’m a business owner, can I appoint someone to manage by business affairs if I lose capacity?”

The short answer is – yes!

A Business LPA gives the attorneys authority to make decisions in relation to the donor’s business interests. This gives the donor control and peace of mind in that they have appointed someone who they trust and who is familiar with managing the business.  

The Business LPA is entirely separate to personal Lasting Powers of Attorney and is limited only to a specific business.

It is important for any business owner to consider the consequences should they be unable or unavailable to make decisions, and for the business owners to understand what would happen to the day to day running of the business.  The appointed attorney would be able to make decisions regarding the day-to-day management of the business, manage the finances of the business (including investing assets), pay employees and suppliers, sign contracts, manage property owned or leased by the business and more.

“When can my attorneys use the Lasting Powers of Attorney?”

Attorneys appointed by an LPA for Health and Welfare can only act once the donor has lost the capacity to make their own decisions.

When making an LPA for Property and Financial affairs or business interests, the donor can choose as to when their attorneys can use the LPA. This can be as soon as the LPA has been registered or only when the donor has lost capacity.

 “Which type of Lasting Power of Attorney should I make?”

An individual can make both types of LPAs, similarly a business owner can make personal LPAs for their Property and Financial affairs, and Health and Welfare together with a Business LPA.

It is important that you consider your wishes and how you would like matters to be dealt with, should you lose capacity.  It is important to consider carefully who you would like to make decisions on your behalf and ensure that you trust they will act in your best interest.

Our experts can discuss your specific needs and requirements to tailor the LPAs to your individual circumstances and wishes.

If you are interested in setting up an LPA or wish to discuss this further, then please don’t hesitate to contact our team specialists on 0161 9269969 or WTP@mlplaw.co.uk, who can provide swift and effective advice to help put your mind at ease.

Delays at the Probate Registry

Are delays at the Probate Registry all too familiar for probate practitioners?

Delays at the Probate Registry first began in 2019 when a proposal to increase probate application fees caused an influx of applications, with practitioners fast-tracking their cases to submit their probate applications before the amendment of fees. In the Government’s proposal, probate fees would rise with the value of the estate, for example, estates worth £500,000 to £1 million would pay a £2,500 probate fee, which is a significant increase from the current fixed probate fee of £155 for all estates. The Law Society actively campaigned against this proposal and in October 2019 the government scrapped its plan.

However, coinciding with the increase in probate applications, HM Courts & Tribunals Service closed 18 sub-registries as part of the government’s £1 billion modernisation programme, which, unsurprisingly, caused further delays.

How has Coronavirus impacted the Probate Registry?

According to a report by the Independent newspaper ‘Coronavirus has made it harder to clear this backlog because many probate registry offices have been not working at full capacity due to staff absences and remote working practices…If mistakes are then made by probate registries under pressure, such as getting the name of an executor and the value of an estate wrong on a grant, the estate cannot be distributed’1.

The delays at the Probate Registry are also having an impact on banks. In the past, banks would require a Grant of Probate for funds over £50,000 or less (dependant on the bank’s policy); however, some banks are now releasing much larger amount of sums, up to £100,000, without requesting sight of the Grant of Probate.

HM Revenue & Customs and the Probate Registry have introduced new processes at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic to improve their services during these unprecedented times. Pre Coronavirus, all Inheritance Tax returns were stamped and returned either to the law firm acting or the Probate Registry where the probate application had been made. Since lockdown, HMRC introduced a new electronic process for dealing with the Inheritance Tax returns and they are now sent via e-mail to the Probate Registry. This new process is not without its flaws. Law firms are not being notified when an Inheritance Tax return has been sent to the Probate Registry and the Probate Registry are not allocating Inheritance Tax returns to the probate application correctly and, therefore, not progressing the application.

How has MLP Law responded to the Probate Registry delays?

Jane Hunter, Private client Partner at MLP Law said, “the team have been working extremely hard to continue to provide a first class service to our clients during the covid crisis.  The delays experienced have been frustrating for all of us and our clients”.  James Kenny, one of our Paralegals in the Private client team at MLP Law has experienced the day to day delays with the Probate Registry, HMRC and Royal Mail. James told us, ‘unfortunately, at present these significant delays have resulted in Grant of Probate/Grant of Letters of Administration application timescales being increased to at least around 2-3 months before a Grant is obtained from the Probate Registry to administer the deceased’s estate. This timescale can however be longer in some instances.’

‘There have also been issues with post being lost or misplaced when in transit to and from HMRC’s Inheritance Tax department and the Probate Registry. On multiple occasions, we have had to resend documentation to them or request further copies of documentation to be sent to us.’

The Probate Registry helpline advises that it is currently taking at least 8 weeks to progress Probate applications and requests probate practitioners do not get in touch until this time period has lapsed. At MLP Law, once this time period has passed, we are actively chasing the Probate Registry on a weekly basis to ensure our client’s matters are progressed.

A bereavement is a very stressful and emotional time for family and friends of the person who has passed and our aim at MLP Law is to take on any unnecessary stress and help our client’s manage their loved one’s affairs.

22 weeks later – Probate delays causing heartache and distress

An article in The Sunday Times caught the eye of our Wills, Trusts, and Probate team. The article, hidden beneath the overwhelming amount of Coronavirus-related news, explains that Christine Reek, acting as the executrix in her late father’s estate, applied for a Grant of Probate online on 16th April and 22 weeks later, the date the article was published (10th October 2020), a grant had still not been issued.

Christine’s late father Douglas Crosby organised his financial information and made a Will, hoping to make Christine’s job of administering his estate as straightforward as possible. However, the delays at the Probate Registry complicated matters for Christine, as she has struggled to deal with her father’s affairs without the Grant of Probate. Christine still cannot close her father’s bank accounts or sell his bungalow.

Sadly, the MLP Law team, like all other practitioners, are facing the same frustrations with the Probate Registry causing unnecessary delays in the process and causing additional and prolonged heartache for families.  

Solicitors for the Elderly recently undertook a survey asking all their affiliated legal practitioners to give feedback on their experiences dealing with the Probate Registry. The shocking results are as follows;

  • 57% are experiencing delays with probate applications of between 9-20 weeks – the Probate Registry guidance is that applications take up to 8 weeks to be processed.
  • 8% have experienced delays longer than 32 weeks.
  • 96% said the new online probate application system ‘isn’t currently fit for purpose’.
  • 95% said the changes to the probate system will mean ‘grieving families face unacceptable extra heartache’.
  • 93% said their clients are suffering extra distress.
  • 57% have seen a clients’ house sale fall through due to the delays.
  • 31% said the delays have led to unpaid inheritance tax or additional interest and penalties being imposed.

These findings are very concerning for probate practitioners as they demonstrate that the delays at the Probate Registry are having a worrying impact on estate administration, causing unnecessary stress to clients, during an already stressful time after the loss of a loved one. Having an impact on inheritance tax will put a financial strain on the estate administration and may result in the estate losing money in inheritance tax penalties – time really is money in this scenario.

As if the impact on clients wasn’t concerning enough, the Probate Registries’ plan to streamline the process online seems to be defective, which unfortunately will only cause further delays and stress for grieving families.

Our Wills, Trusts, and Probate team are actively and regularly chasing the Probate Registry for updates on all current applications to ensure the best service to our clients as usual. We’re able to take the stress and worry away, deal with the Probate Registry and clearly explain the process and expected timescales to our clients with regular updates. 

We’re all ‘online ready’ well ahead of compulsory use of the online application process – even during lockdown. 

For any advice or assistance in respect of Probate or estate planning, please contact us on 0161 926 9969 or send an e-mail to our Wills, Trusts & Probate team to WTP@mlplaw.co.uk.

 If you wish to read The Sunday Times article, please find a link here: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/22-weeks-after-dad-died-we-still-dont-have-probate-mgj0p7l7n

Forged Wills and Warring Siblings

Unfortunately, when a family member or friend has died, occasionally an unscrupulous individual will try and put forward a forged or fraudulent Will  in order to try and benefit from the deceased’s estate.

A recent case involving fraud/forgery is Face v Cunningham. This concerned the estate of Donald Face, who died leaving three children. Following his death, his daughter Rebecca produced a copy Will dated from 2017 (the original was not located), and sought a Court order pronouncing that the copy Will was valid. The terms of the copy Will left everything to Rebecca and excluded her other two siblings, Rowena and Paul. The estate was worth £750,000.

Her sibling Rowena claimed that the will was a fraud, had not been produced by the deceased and was in fact a forgery produced sometime after his death. She alleged that there was in fact no valid Will, so that the Intestacy rules should apply, which would mean the deceased’s three children would each receive a third share of the estate. Their brother, Richard also sought to challenge the validity of the 2017 Will.

Ordinarily in cases where a Will is to be proven, the burden of proof rests on the person seeking to prove the will – in this case Rebecca. There are 2 presumptions in favour of that person – firstly, that where a Will is regular on the face of it and apparently executed correctly, then the presumption is that is it valid.

Secondly, there is a presumption that the person making the Will had the required mental capacity to make their Will and understood the content and effect of the Will.

Additionally, the usual burden of proving that a Will is fraudulent lies on the person alleging it, in this case Rowena and Paul. That person must prove that the will was made as a result of the fraud of another.

Contrary to the general position however, the Judge in this case held that when alleging forgery of a Will, the burden of proof is to be reversed and the onus of proving the Will’s validity lies with the applicant whom is seeking to confirm the Will, in this case, Rebecca.

The Judge found that in this case there were 4 suspicious factors which led him to state that the Will was not valid. These were: the existence of any Will at all, the terms of the 2017 Will, the circumstances surrounding the alleged execution of the 2017 Will and the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the 2017 Will.

Having found that the copy Will was a fraudulent document, Rebecca’s case was lost, and the matter has now been referred to the Crown Prosecution service to consider whether criminal charges should be brought.

A further unusual factor in this case was that none of the parties had legal representation, a fact that the Judge in the case bemoaned as unnecessarily dragging out the proceedings, which could have much more quickly and efficiently been dealt with had legal professionals been instructed by the parties.

If you are concerned that a will may have been fraudulently made or forged, then please don’t hesitate to contact our team of contentious probate specialists who can provide swift and effective advice to help resolve matters and prevent those fraudulently seeking to benefit from your loved one’s estate.

Contact Details for Wills, Trusts and Probate Team: 0161 9269969 or WTP@mlplaw.co.uk

The review of “Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation” (DNACPR) Decisions during Covid-19

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has recently announced that it will look to review the use of “Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation” decisions during the coronavirus pandemic. The Care Quality Commission’s review will consider the following:-

  1. The individual’s experiences in care homes.
  2. The individual’s experiences in primary care i.e. care which is provided by GPs, community pharmacists, dental and optometry services.
  3. The individual’s experiences in Hospitals.

When and how are DNACPR decisions currently used?

Under the BMA’s existing “Decisions relating to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation” 2016 Guide (3rd edition), DNACPR decisions are used to:-

  1. Ensure that good-quality care is provided to people who are reaching the end of their life stage.
  2. To ensure that good-quality care is provided to people who may be at risk of cardiorespiratory arrest.

At present, DNACPR decisions are considered to be “anticipatory care planning”, as they allow people to make informed decisions in advance about their medical treatment and how they would like to also be supported by medical professionals.

Why has the CQC decided to review the use of DNACPR decisions?

At the beginning of 2020, there were general concerns that elderly and vulnerable people may be subject to “Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation” decisions without their consent or, by way of them being provided with as little information as possible in order to assist them with these types of decisions.

Following these concerns, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), British Medical Association (BMA), Care Provider Alliance (CPA) and Royal College of General Practioners (RCGP) published a joint statement to suppliers in April, which confirmed that it is “unacceptable for advanced care plans with or without a DNAR form to be applied to any groups of people of any description.”

When will we know the outcome of the CQC’s review?

As of December 2020, the CQC has provided an interim report of their findings. The CQC’s interim report sets out that following a review of DNACPRs it has found that there has been some confusion and miscommunication regarding their application since the beginning of the pandemic. This was highlighted by multiple agencies.

The CQC expects the following:

  1. All care providers to assure themselves that any DNACPR decisions have been:-
  2. Made appropriately in discussion with the person.
  3. In line with legal requirements and best practice.
  • All providers and local systems to ensure that any discussions regarding DNACPRs take place as part of a discussion focusing on the individual’s needs and care planning which is also in line with legal requirements.

The CQC will be publishing its final report this February.

How might the CQC’s review of DNACPR decisions affect me?

If you have considered or have made a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, in which you have provided specific instructions to your Attorney(s) that you do not want to be resuscitated. Your decision may need to be reviewed in the near future, in order to comply with the CQC’s upcoming DNACPR report.  

If you would like to discuss making a DNACPR or have any worries regarding an existing DNACPR which you have in place, please contact our Wills, Trusts and Probate department who will be delighted to assist you with this and any other future care planning needs and requirements which you may have on 0161 926 9969 or by email at wtp@mlplaw.co.uk

https://www.bma.org.uk/media/1816/bma-decisions-relating-to-cpr-2016.pdf

https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/cqc-review-use-dnacpr-during-pandemic

https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/20201204%20DNACPR%20Interim%20Report%20-%20FINAL.pdf

Changes to care fees and social care – will it affect me?

The white paper on social care in England and new cap on care fees brings more confusion to an already confused system. It’s unlikely to save many people any money and does nothing to alleviate the immediate crisis facing social care.

The government announced a cap on the amount that people have to pay for the cost of care. It is proposed that from October 2023, no one will pay more than £86,000 towards the costs of their own care during their lifetime.

The lifetime cap of £86,000 only applies to care costs and people will still be expected to contribute towards their accommodation and daily living costs. Contributions that have been paid before October 2023 will also be excluded.

The current means-tested cap provides that those with assets and savings less that £14,250 do not have to pay for their care. The new system provides the lower threshold is increased to £20,000. In addition, the upper capital limit will rise to £100,000.

This means people above the upper capital limit (£100,000) will have to pay full cost as they are a self-funder. People with assets between the capital limits will contribute on a sliding scale depending on their assets. And those below the lower limit (£20,000) will no longer contribute from their assets.

There may be a positive difference for a very limited number of people but certainly not poorer pensioners.  It’s clear the safety net for individuals has some significant holes in it. None of us can rely on it and each of us should make both a health and a wealth plan. It’s time we stopped thinking of planning for the future as something we do in later life.
 
When thinking about protecting your home when it comes to paying for the cost of care, there are a few things to consider:

1. If you need to move into a care home, you’ll usually have a financial assessment to work out how much you’ll need to pay yourself. If you own your house and your spouse, partner or civil partner is still living there then a ‘property disregard’ could apply which means your home won’t be used to fund care costs.
2. However, the local authority will take income, including pensions, into account when they decide how much people will pay towards their own care. This may reduce the household income available to the spouse/partner who continues to live in the property.
3. In most cases, couples tend to own a property as joint tenants so that when one partner dies the property automatically passes to the survivor. One of the primary reasons people change this is to ensure their 50% share of the property passes to their children, rather than it automatically passing to a surviving spouse / partner (and consequently the whole value of the property being taken into account for the costs of care of the surviving partner / spouse). You can sever the joint tenancy over your property by written notice and then updating the ownership position with the Land Registry. You should then make a Will to ensure that your share of the property passes in accordance with your wishes. However, as an alternative, you may consider your home as an investment to fund your care. This would give you a greater ability to choose where you would like to be cared for (close to loved ones and relatives perhaps) and how (any preferences you may have that would incur a greater care cost).

How can MLP help me?
Each individual’s circumstances are very different, so we’d always recommend speaking to a specialist solicitor.

MLP Law have specialist solicitors who can advise clients on protecting assets and planning for your future.  We have solicitors who are members of SFE (Solicitors for Elderly), the membership organisation for specialist solicitors who support older and vulnerable people.

Our offices are open for covid-19 safe appointments, alternatively we can discuss your instructions via telephone, video call or email.

Contact Details for Wills, Trusts and Probate Team: 0161 9269 969 or WTP@mlplaw.co.uk