Judge Suggests Campaign to Raise Awareness of Living Wills

Should writing a living will before you get old be compulsory? A High Court judge thinks so, and specialist lawyers have added their support to his suggestion.

An article in the Daily Mirror, centred on a recent hearing at the Court of Protection concerning the treatment of a pensioner with dementia in a minimally conscious state. Judge Justice Francis is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London. He also oversees hearings in the Court of Protection.

The judge said he thought a campaign to educate people about living wills would be a good idea – an awareness-raising exercise along the same lines as organ donation campaigns. A living will sets out what a person wants to happen to them if they contract a serious, incapacitating illness.

A living will doesn’t have any legal meaning, but typically refers to either an advance statement or decision.

An advance statement sets out how a person would like to be looked after and cared for and can be used if someone uses the ability to make or communicate decisions. An advance decision is where someone formalises their wishes in regards to future medical treatment and whether they want to receive it or not. It’s legally binding, so those caring for the person must follow their instructions, and it allows someone to refuse treatment, even if doing so will result in their death.

The case in question related to The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, who had asked for a ruling on the treatment of an elderly man in their care. Doctors at the hospital wanted to put a feeding tube into his stomach but needed the judge to rule on whether this would be lawful.

Lawyers representing the man did not object, and the judge concluded that the pensioner couldn’t make the decision. However, the man’s family had been in conflict with the hospital over his treatment and had made negligence complaints. They did not attend the hearing.

The judge described the case as “very sad”, and that there were plenty of these kind of cases. If patients, while they still had the capacity to do so, made a living will, then the courts might not need to get involved so often.

Specialist law firms agreed with the judge, telling the Mirror such a campaign was necessary. James Beresford of Slater and Gordon said no-one liked to think about getting ill or dying, but it would be much kinder for those left to look after us if we had already made our wishes clear.

Julia Newland of Garside & Hoy would like to point out that a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney would also allow people to leave more detailed instructions as to what they would want to happen to them in the event that they no longer had mental capacity. Living wills were not the only option.

For next of kin tracing and a range of International Asset services, contact Finders International on Freephone 0800 085 8796 or email contact@findersinternational.co.uk .

If you wish to speak to someone about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact the office on 0208 427 5656 or email Julia Newland (Julia.newland@garsideandhoy.co.uk) or Suzanna Baker (Suzanna.baker@garsideandhoy.co.uk).

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Julia Newland features in The Law Society Gazette

Julia Newland was approached by The Law Society to be interviewed to feature in their weekly publication, The Law Society Gazette.

This week Julia’s interview was published and it can be read online here: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/my-legal-life/my-legal-life-julia-newland/5064323.article

Julia is a Partner at Garside & Hoy and head of the Private Client department . If you wish to speak to Julia, please contact her by email on Julia.Newland@GarsideandHoy.co.uk or by telephone on 0208 427 5656.

 

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Will Aid 2017

We are pleased to announce that Garside & Hoy will again be participating in the Will Aid Scheme this November. The scheme runs throughout the entire month of November and every year raises thousands of pounds for nine different UK charities. These include NSPCC, British Red Cross and Age UK.

When making a Will as a part of the scheme, we will waive our usual fees and instead ask clients to make a donation to Will Aid.  The scheme covers simple single Wills and also mirror Wills. The minimum donation is £95 for a basic single Will or £150 for a pair of basic mirror Wills although we wish to raise as much as we can for this very worthy cause.

Last year Garside & Hoy raised £10,450 for Will Aid bringing our total thus far to just over £67,308. If you would like to make your Will whilst also supporting the charities please contact our office on 0208 427 5656 or email: info@garsideandhoy.co.uk.

Do also visit our website page for more information on why you should make a Will: www.garsideandhoy.co.uk/practice-areas/wills-probate-and-elderly-clients/wills-codicils-and-inheritance-tax-2/

For more information about Will Aid please visit: www.willaid.org.uk/will-makers

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Holly Covington passes LPC with flying colours

Holly Covington, who has worked as a Paralegal at Garside & Hoy since September 2014, has successfully completed her Legal Practice Course (LPC) with a distinction. She will now begin her training contract at the firm and will qualify as a solicitor in October 2018.  

 

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The Future of Wills

The Law Commission recently announced that a comprehensive review of the law relating to Wills is to be undertaken.

Currently, the primary Wills statute, the Wills Act 1837 dates from the Victorian era. The law governing testamentary capacity (the mental capacity required to make a Will), derives from a case in 1870. The Law Commission has noted concern that the current law discourages some people from making a Will – it is thought that it is out of step with social and medical developments and that it may not work in such a way as to give best effect to a person’s intentions on death.

There has also been criticism that the laws are difficult to understand and apply and are sometimes unworkable in practice. In the case of mental capacity this presents a growing problem, since conditions that affect capacity are becoming more common as people live for longer.

The project will focus on four key areas:

1) Testamentary Capacity

2) The formalities for a valid Will

3) The rectification of Wills

4) Mutual Wills

The aim is for recommendations and a draft Bill to be released in early 2018.

Please visit our website page about making a Will. If you haven’t already done a Will or if you simply wish to speak to someone about Wills, please contact the office on 0208 427 5656 or email Julia Newland (Julia.newland@garsideandhoy.co.uk) or Suzanna Baker (Suzanna.baker@garsideandhoy.co.uk)

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Julia Newland talks to BBC London Radio about Will Aid.

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Will Aid 2016

We are pleased to announce that Garside & Hoy will again be participating in the Will Aid Scheme this November.

The scheme runs throughout the entire month of November and every year raises thousands of pounds for nine different UK charities. These include Age UK, Christian Aid and Save the Children.

When making a Will as a part of the scheme, we will waive our usual fees and instead ask clients to make a donation to Will Aid.  The scheme covers simple single Wills and also mirror Wills. The minimum donation is £95 for a basic single Will or £150 for a pair of basic mirror Wills although we wish to raise as much as we can for this very worthy cause.

Last year Garside & Hoy raised £3,435 for Will Aid bringing our total thus far to just over £55,000. If you would like to make your Will whilst also supporting the charities please contact our office on 0208 427 5656 or email: info@garsideandhoy.co.uk.

For more information about Will Aid please visit: http://www.willaid.org.uk/will-makers

 

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Planning ahead is key, as survey reveals only 1 in 10 feel financially and practically prepared for their partner’s passing

A report entitled ‘Losing a partner – the financial and practical consequences’ has highlighted impact of failing to plan for death on those left behind. The report found that only 2 out of 5 people had made a Will and only 3 in 10 had talked about their funeral with their partner.

Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and Dying Matters noted how, “Financial and practical planning is as important as thinking about the care we want to receive, making a will, lasting power of attorney, or our funeral plans. Talking about death won’t make it happen, and getting our plans in place enables us to get on with living.”

To ease the stress and burden when a partner dies, Royal London has advised that if you or your partner has a Will, you check it is up to date and reflects any changing circumstances, and make sure you both know where it is as well as ensuring that all financial information, including insurance policy documents are in a easily accessible place. Funeral plans should also be considered.

If you are considering making a Will or Power of Attorney, Garside & Hoy offer a fixed fee service. For assistance with matters after death we offer a free 30 minute probate consultation. Please contact the office on 0208 427 5656 for more information or to make an appointment.

To read the full report use the link below:

http://www.dyingmatters.org/sites/default/files/files/Losing%20a%20Partner%20Report%20Final.pdf

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St Luke’s Hospice – Adding life to days

St Lukes Hospice

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Will Aid

Will Aid 090216

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