Wednesday, 23 August 2017

IS IT THE CASE THAT LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY (LPA'S) ARE THE RIGHT SOLUTION?


LPA’s allow individuals to name others to help them in the management of their affairs if they should lose capacity or otherwise think they need assistance. LPA’S in their current form have been in existence since October 2007. They are arguably one of the most important tools for individuals as they get older.

For an LPA to be valid it needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). Currently some 2.5 million LPA’s and their predecessor documents Enduring Powers which are still valid are registered.  650,000 new LPA’s are registered every year.

There are two types of LPA.  The most common is for Property and Finance. This allows named Attorneys (you should name more than one in case an Attorney predeceases the maker of the LPA) to manage the makers affairs in respect of Property and Finance. The second type, less prevalent but arguably more important is for Health and Welfare. This LPA allows the makers Attorney’s to make decisions about a persons Health and Welfare with Doctors, Hospitals, Social Workers, Care Homes and others if you yourself are unable to do so.  With this LPA you need to have actually lost capacity to the extent that you cannot make decisions for yourself about Health and Welfare.

LPA’s sound the perfect solution for people who are getting older.  A word of warning however from Denzil Lush, former senior judge in the Court of Protection and which is that you should never appoint Attorneys unless you absolutely trust them.  This warning is against a backdrop overseen by him which is that an estimated one in eight LPA’s go badly wrong. This is because Attorney’s mostly sons and daughters of parents making LPA’s abuse their position.  They do so by way of financial and other abuses against those they are supposed to be taking care of.

It is the considered view of Denzil Lush, an acknowledged leading figure in his field that a better way of avoiding this type of problem is for people instead of making LPA’s to apply to the Court of Protection to have a Deputy appointed. This can be a person of the maker’s choice.  The difference is that if a Deputy or Deputies are appointed they are supervised by the OPG and have to buy an insurance policy to cover off against wrong doings and mistakes. Deputies have to keep records and justify their spending.

Short of the recommendation above an alternative would be for the OPG to run training classes for Attorneys which explain their duties and what they can and cannot do when assisting people under an LPA. Their should also be a requirement for Attorneys to submit reports annually.  Presently this is not done. Bad abuses apart this is a main reason as to why Attorneys fall foul of the obligations and requirements that they are required to operate under.

The above is an overview only.

For a free appointment and to find out answers to the questions that need answering  and to get the care you or a loved one need email Andrew Douglas or his  team on ajd@awdrys.co.uk or call on 0800 072 8636. Alternatively visit our website www.abdcare.co.uk. We have offices In Marlborough, Royal Wootton Basset, Devizes & Chippenham.
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NOT WHAT YOU INTENDED?


Much has been made recently in the media of agreements reached in a domestic and social setting and their legal effect, most notably in the form of the recent Sports Direct case. Mike Ashley’s fascinating and notorious business practices aside, the case is notable for its re-affirmation of the current position on such agreements. 

Contract Formation

In brief, the requisite elements for a valid contract to subsist are: 1. An Offer, 2. Acceptance, 3. Consideration (i.e. some value offered by the parties, commonly goods, services or money) and 4. An intention to create legal relations. There are of course other considerations beyond the scope here.

Social and Domestic Agreements

Historically, there is a wealth of case law to confirm that agreements reached in a social or domestic setting are subject to a rebuttable presumption that the parties do not intend their agreement to be legally binding, the classic example being an agreement reached at the pub with friends (bearing odd similarities to Mike Ashley’s recent case). As above, this presumption is rebuttable, effectively meaning that it can be defeated by the production of evidence that the parties did actually intend to be legally bound by their agreement.

Commercial Agreements 

In contrast with the position on social and domestic agreements, there is a presumption that parties to a commercial agreement do intend to be legally bound unless the contrary can be shown.

Sports Direct 

The brief facts of the Sports Direct case are that Mike Ashley was drinking with various members of his professional team including Jeffrey Blue, an investment banker involved with Sports Direct, at a London pub. During the evening Mr Ashley told Mr Blue that, should Sport’s Direct shares reach £8.00 a share, he would pay Mr Blue £15m. Mr Ashley, who knew Mr Blue affectionately as “Jeffers”, confirmed in his statement that he could not remember the events of that night and that all parties had drunk heavily. In any event, it was argued that there had been no intention for this be a serious and binding agreement.

Mr Blue’s legal team argued that this scenario did not fall within a social setting, despite the location and consumption of alcohol. In justifying this argument, there was some exposure of Mr Ashley’s unorthodox business practices, which have been seized upon by the media, no doubt being Mr Blue’s intention.

Despite the apparently commonplace circumstances of Mr Ashley holding business meetings in clubs, pubs and casinos as well as drinking and worse during such meetings, it was held that this agreement was made in a social setting and there was not an intention on Mr Ashley’s part for it to be binding. The agreement was therefore held not to be binding on Mr Ashley and Mr Blue was furthermore ordered to pay his own and Mr Ashley’s legal fees totalling almost £2.5m.

One of the morals of the story is of course to take legal advice in relation to any agreement you wish to have binding effect. Were Mr Blue’s agreement formalised in writing and agreed in a more sober setting, the case would no doubt have been different.

For more information contact our Commercial Team at any of our offices.



LITTLE WHITE LIES - THEY COST MORE THAN YOU THINK!


In almost every property transaction a seller (or landlord) is required to provide replies to standard pre-contractual enquiries. In residential transactions these will usually be in a Property Information Form and in commercial transactions they will be by way of CPSE’s.  It is important that these are answered correctly and updated if anything changes before sale as otherwise the buyer may have a claim for misrepresentation.

Misrepresentation is a false statement of fact made by one party to another party, which has the effect of inducing that party into the contract.

The recent case of Quilter v Hodson Developments Ltd [2016] is a warning to all those providing these replies to enquiries. In this case the developers, Hodson Developments Ltd sold an apartment in a development to Mrs Quilter for £240,000.  In their replies to enquiries Hodson had stated that they were not aware of any disputes in relation to the property. It later turned out that there had been disputes over the communal central heating and hot water system which serviced the development. In Court the Judge found that there had been misrepresentation and awarded Mrs Quilter damages of £15,000 – being the difference between the price paid for the apartment and the value having regard to the heating and water issues.

The case serves as a caution that omissions and failure to update a buyer or tenant on any issues raised, even after exchange of contract can result in serious and expensive consequences.

For more information contact our Commercial Dept.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

CHIPPENHAM FAMILY FUN DAY EVENT

FAMILY FUN DAY EVENT IS A GREAT SUCCESS!

Chippenham Family Fun Day took place on 18 June 2017 at John Coles Park, Chippenham.  The weather was a gloriously hot summer’s day as 1000’s people gathered to enjoy the attractions, stalls, music, activities and more including the Awdry Bailey & Douglas Stand to play Hoopla, also Hook a Duck and win prizes!!
The free Family Fun Day event was hosted by the Chippenham Council and supported by Awdry Bailey & Douglas Solicitors as the Lead Sponsor.

CHOSEN CHARITIES
A fantastic £129.60 was raised by the Awdry Bailey & Douglas Stand, monies of which will be donated towards the Majors charity; St Nicholas School.

Awdry Bailey & Douglas Office Manager, Tom Paget (Associate Solicitor, Commercial) who is based at the firms Chippenham office presented a cheque to the Mayor, Councillor Mary Norton.













                                                                               

Remaining non-perishable edible prizes from the Awdry Bailey & Douglas Stand were donated to The Trussell Trust Food Bank charity which is also locally based. The Trussell Trust Food Bank helps to stop hunger and gives support to people who are in emergency crisis.

For more information go to
https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/
http://www.chippenham.gov.uk/summer-fun-john-coles-park-family-fun-day/

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A HUNG PARLIAMENT AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR SOCIAL CARE?

THE DECISION TO HOLD A SNAP ELECTION?

Clearly the decision to hold a snap election was not because of the on going crisis in the elderly care system which is caused by too much demand and too little funding. 


THE ISSUES IN SOCIAL CARE? 

A long list could be compiled.  These include self funders paying 43% more for the same care bed as compared with somebody funded by a Local Council. The quality of care failing the “Mum test”. The minimum wage in the sector going up, but some cash starved councils only paying the equivalent of £2.25 per hour. Care homes charging for rooms after a resident’s death, not to mention a fear of complaining in case care homes serve notices to quit on residents.  The list could go on. 


DOES A NEW GOVERNMENT OF WHATEVER COLOUR HAVE AN ELDERLY CARE AGENDA? 

The answer is yes. Each of the main three parties has a different solution:-

The Conservatives say that you must pay for your social care from your assets to include your house until you having only £100,000 remaining. This is subject to a CAP on the maximum anybody should pay for their care. The amount of the CAP is unknown. 

The Labour party propose that £8bn is put into social care over the next five years and that a National Care service be set up whilst the liberal Democrats propose a 1p increase on income tax, with the money raised being applied to both the NHS and social care.

WHAT NEXT AS A RESULT OF A HUNG PARLIAMENT?

The issue of social care reform is now likely to be placed into the too difficult box meaning that none of the manifesto proposals will get implemented. That said the Green Paper  proposed by the previous Conservative administration may well be produced but because of lack of consensus and like the previous 21 Green and White papers over the last 20 years it will be kicked into the long grass.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING TO DO?

Understand the existing rules under The Care Act 2014 and proceed accordingly. Waiting or doing nothing in relation to social care is not the best option. This approach, with this issue, only results in people not being organised and their care costing more.


If you want to know more then for a free appointment and to find out answers to the questions that need answering  email Andrew Douglas or his team on ajd@awdrys.co.uk or call on 0800 072 8636. Alternatively visit our website www.abdcare.co.uk
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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

AWDRY BAILEY & DOUGLAS SOLICITORS ARE PROUD TO BE THE LEAD SPONSOR AND SUPPORT FAMILY FUN DAY EVENT, CHIPPENHAM

SUMMER FUN IN JOHN COLES PARK AT THE FAMILY FUN DAY! 

Chippenham Town Council will host the free Family Fun Day in John Coles Park on Sunday 18 June 12 noon – 4 pm which is supported this year by Awdry Bailey & Douglas Solicitors.

Following on from the success of this event last year, the Family Fun Day returns with lots more exciting activities for everyone to enjoy. The MC for the day Andy Thatcher from Chippenham FM will lead everyone through the entertainment. Dance performances by local groups the Clogettes, Dancing Academy and Phoenix Dance Club will take place on the bandstand between 12 noon and 2 pm.

THE LINE-UP

The line-up also includes a petting zoo from Dave and Ewe, a circus skills workshop by Clare’s Circus and a display by South Wilts Falconry. Chippenham Museum will showcase objects and costumes from their collection and back by popular demand will be an assault course, bouncy castles and Stanley Park will host the inflatable football pitch in partnership with Swindon Town FC Football in the Community. Don’t forget the hours of fun at the Splash pad!!

STANDS

A selection of local charities and community groups will be joining in the fun, each with an information stand with activities and games to have a go at such as face painting, tombola, lucky dip and many more including the Awdry Bailey & Douglas stand with Hoopla!
This year, parking will be limited to blue badge holders only. Visitors are urged to leave the car at home, if possible, and to walk, cycle or use public transport. Those who do have to drive are asked to use the nearby public car parks rather than the residential roads close to the park.

QUOTES


Adrian Jones, Deputy Chief Executive, Chippenham Town Council said “We have built on the success of this event last year, with lots more activities this year. We work hard to develop our relationship with local charities and communities so we are really pleased that many of them will be taking part in the day with us” 

Tom Paget, Associate Solicitor, Awdry Bailey & Douglas said “We are delighted to be supporting and taking part in this Family Fun Day, there will be something for all the family to enjoy”

Councillor Mary Norton, Mayor of Chippenham said “ We all look forward to this free family event, we are hoping for good weather so lots of families come with friends and enjoy the afternoon, maybe even bring a picnic”

For more information about this event contact http://www.chippenham.gov.uk/http://www.chippenham.gov.uk/

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

CAN YOU AFFORD TO RIP?


· Benjamin Franklin is attributed as saying “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes”. Although the former American founding father is only attributed with this famous quote, one thing today which is certain is that the cost of a funeral is forever rising.

· In 1992 the average cost of a funeral was said to have been £950.  In 2005 it was £3,456 whilst in 2016 it was predicted to have risen to £4,194 and is still rising.

· One of the reasons for the increase is because local councils are trying to offset the cost of cemeteries and crematoria.  This is because of budget pressures elsewhere, not least of which is the cost of adult social care. It is reported that cremation and burial fees have risen by more than inflation in eight out of ten local council areas. The average increase is said to be more than 5%

· This increase converts to average burial fees being £1,755 and cremation fees being £714.  Some say that the increases are akin to a stealth tax. The increases in cost are intended to cover the cost of plots, chapels of rest and ground maintenance.

· A partial solution to the ever rising cost of funerals, allowing you to RIP is to buy your future funeral package at a fixed price today meaning that you do not have to worry about future increasing prices.

· There are two types of funeral plan, being either a whole of life insurance policy which typically takes the form of monthly payments meaning the plan is worth whatever the plan is worth when you die. The alternative is a lump sum payment now for the actual cost of your funeral. Your money is paid into a trust which if regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority guarantees your funeral costs at whatever the price is whenever you die. 

· Whether you want a basic, average or luxury funeral a funeral plan is something which everybody over 50 needs to at least consider.

· The above is an overview only.  For a free appointment and to find out answers to the questions that need answering and to get the care you or a loved one need email Andrew Douglas or his  team on ajd@awdrys.co.uk or call on 0800 072 8636.  Alternatively visit our website www.abdcare.co.uk


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