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    • Domestic Conveyancing

      Moving House?

      Moving house is a very exciting and important event in your life but also one of the most stressful things you can do.  This is particularly true if you are trying to buy and sell property at the same time.  We recognise that purchasing a property is likely to be one of the biggest financial commitments that you make, there is much to plan and organise and you will want the process to run smoothly.  There are many opportunities for things to go wrong and you will not want to leave these to chance.  We have a specialist residential conveyancing team waiting to guide you through the necessary formalities.  We are proud to have helped thousands of first time buyers and existing property owners to buy and sell their homes with the minimum of fuss and delay.  To speed up the process we are able to carry out many of the searches and investigations electronically.  Our clients value our experience, local knowledge and competitive prices.  You will find us friendly, approachable and good at what we do.

      We believe in individual attention to each case but what follows is a brief and simplified guide to explain some of the procedures involved and hopefully answer some of your questions.

      Conveyancing – what does it mean?

      Conveyancing is the process of legally transferring the ownership or rights in property from one person to another. Your solicitor’s job is to ensure you get what you pay for and that you will not discover problems about the property you are buying or selling until it is too late.

      We are proud to state that we have been granted CQS status (Conveyancing Quality Solicitors) by the Law Society, demonstrating that we have passed a vigorous assessment of the quality of our conveyancing work.

      The seller is responsible for the cost of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and report prepared by an independent energy assessor.  This rates the overall energy efficiency of the home and contains advice on cutting carbon emissions, providing buyers with a clear idea of what their fuel bills are likely to be.

      What are Local Searches?

      Your solicitor will carry out a number of investigations with the local authority.  In practice they are trying to find out if there are any matters which you ought to know about that may affect your decision to proceed or the price you pay for the property, for example, if the solicitor discovered that a new motorway route was planned near the property, or a new regional airport was to be built nearby, you may want to think again!

      What is exchange of Contracts?

      This describes the stage where both the seller (‘Vendor’) and the buyer (‘Purchaser’) have signed their own sale agreement (‘Contract’) and agreed a date for completion (when the Purchaser takes ownership of the purchased property).  These are literally exchanged between the solicitors who may be acting for the Vendor and the Purchaser. It is a very important stage as the agreement then becomes legally binding and neither party can back out after this without bearing financial loss.  Prior to this stage your solicitor will make numerous enquiries about the property, for example, checking exactly what is included in the sale price and what is not.

      When will a Deposit have to be Paid?

      An agreed percentage of the purchase price (typically 10% of the purchase price)  is payable when Contracts are exchanged.  If you are selling a property as well as buying a property, your solicitor will exchange Contracts on both transactions at the same time and the deposit taken from your buyer will be put towards the deposit on the property you are buying.  Co-ordinating the two transactions is one of the many tasks your solicitor will carry out for you.

      When do I get the Keys?

      You will get the keys when the ownership of the property passes to you.  This will take place when the solicitors acting for the Purchaser have received the full purchase price.  This is known as completion.

      How long will it all take?

      On average it is likely to take between four to six weeks, however it is not possible to be specific as this very much depends on other properties that are being sold and purchased  in the chain.  We are sensitive to our Clients’ needs and try our utmost to meet any deadlines that are important to you, wherever possible, providing that it does not compromise the quality of the work and your long term interests.

      What are Disbursements?

      Disbursements are those additional expenses that you will have to budget for as part of the conveyancing transaction, for example, search fees, land registry fees and perhaps indemnity insurance fees.  These are quite separate from the legal fees and will be incurred regardless of which legal firm you choose.

      Our Approach

      We recognise that a large proportion of our work comes from recommendations and satisfied clients.  Our aim is to give the maximum level of added value service at a competitive rate.  We believe that providing a service that is efficient, fast and effective will not only ensure that you come back to us, but recommend us to your family, friends and colleagues.

      The Next Step

      For further information or for a free immediate fixed quote, please contact our Residential Conveyancing Team at our office on 0115 9819214 or email us at: advice@claytonmott.co.uk without obligation.

      The information and opinions contained here are for general guidance only and not intended to constitute legal or professional advice.  This should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to individual circumstances.  Clayton Mott shall have no responsibility for any loss that may arise out of reliance on any material contained herein.

       

    • Buying or Selling a Business

      Buying or selling a business is an exciting although stressful time. Legal advice from one of our experts can guide you through the process and deal with the transaction quickly and efficiently, giving you proactive advice along the way.  You will be pre-warned of any potential liability or pitfalls that may arise.  We have expertise in the acquisition and sale of many different types of business and provide a well rounded service without the legal jargon.

      Here are a sample of the wide range of services we can offer in this area:

      • Determine the type of sale (e.g. share, asset, transfer of going concern
      • Assisting with the negociation of and drafting the Heads of Terms
      • Drafting and negociating sale agreements and negotiation of sale terms to ensure adequate protection is built in
      • Drafting confidentiality terms or agreements
      • Raising/responding to due diligence enquires
      • Dealing with employment issues relating to the purchase or sale of the business
      • Advising on intellectual property rights (i.e. patents, trademarks etc…)
      • Advice on retention accounts

      We will add value to your commercial purchase by identifying and eradicating any hidden failure liabilities on the purchase of a business.  If you are selling, we will ensure that you are clear about the guarantees you are required to supply and ensure that you are getting the best deal you can and understand the implications of the sale.

      Contact

      If you require any advice or a free no obligation chat, please contact William Mott on 0115 9819214 or e-mail him at:  will@claytonmott.co.uk

      The information and opinions contained here are for general guidance only and not intended to constitute legal or professional advice.  This should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to individual circumstances.  Clayton Mott shall have no responsibility for any loss that may arise out of reliance on any material contained herein.

       

    • Probate & Estate Administration

      Having to deal with a loved one’s property and possessions when they die is an unpleasant and daunting prospect.  This is often made much worse because you are dealing with such matters at an extremely difficult and emotional time.  We believe that we have the appropriate experience to ensure that families or those dealing with these tasks can turn to us with confidence.  Whatever the circumstances of the deceased or their estate, we can ensure that matters are handled effectively and with sensitivity and understanding.  The following information will explain just some of the matters and processes involved in dealing with an estate.

      Immediate Matters

      The first task will involve registering the death and making arrangements for the funeral.  This will usually fall to the next of kin or the Personal Representatives to organise.  The Registrar of Births and Deaths for the sub-district in which the death occurred must register the death.  See link for more information:

      http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/

      Who are the Personal Representatives?

      The Personal Representatives (PRs) are the persons who deal with everything owned by the deceased.  The PRs will more commonly be known as the Executors if they are named in the Will, or the Administrators if there are no Executors named or there is no Will.

      Checking for a Will

      It will be necessary if the deceased person left a Will.  The Will should set out who the Executors are as well as including any details of what the deceased wanted to happen to his or her property, money and possessions.  On occasion the Will may express the deceased’s wishes regarding funeral arrangements.

      There will usually be some indication of whether the deceased left a Will and where the original is kept.  The Will may be in the safe custody of the departed’s solicitor or  bank.  Occasionally it may be in the possession of the deceased’s family or even stored at their home.

      Identifying the Assets

      The PRs will need to find out what assets the deceased owned, this will perhaps include bank and/or building society accounts, property, insurances and other investments.  Depending on the type and the value of the assets, the PRs may then have to apply for a Grant of Representation.

      Grants of Representation

      There are different types of Grants of Representation.  The most common are:

      • Grant of Probate
      • Grant of Letters of Administration

      Grant of Probate

      Probate is the process of officially proving the validity of the deceased’s Will.  The original Will is lodged with the Probate Registry where it is retained and archived.  A legal document known as a Grant of Probate is then issued to the Executors named in the Will.

      Grant of Letters of Administration

      If there is no valid Will, the deceased is said to have died ‘intestate’.  The Administration (usually the deceased’s next of kin) are entitled to apply for a Grant.  The law of succession decides who the next of kin is and this follows a strict order of priority.

      When is a Grant of Representation required?

      It may not always be necessary to obtain a Grant.  For example, if there are no other assets, a grant will not be needed where the deceased’s home is held in joint names and is passing by survivorship to the other joint owner.

      Similarly where a joint bank account or building society account is held, production of a death certificate may be sufficient for the monies to be transferred to the joint holder.

      Sometimes a bank or other financial institution may release monies without a Grant being produced but this will only apply if the amount held by the deceased was small (commonly £5,000 or less).  Application should be made direct to the bank or institution concerned to see if they release funds without a Grant. This power is discretionary and the authority concerned is not obliged to exercise it.

      Inheritance Tax

      In larger estates where Inheritance Tax is payable a Grant of Representation cannot be issued until the tax has been paid.  The amount of the Inheritance Tax will depend upon the value of the deceased’s estate at the date of death.  The HM Revenue & Customs Capital Taxes Office deals with the tax.  See link for more information.

      http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/inheritancetax/

      Collecting and Distributing the Estate

      The Personal Representatives will need to produce the Grant of Representation to the organisations holding money in the deceased’s name.  This includes banks, building societies and insurance companies.  This will enable the organisations to release the money and the Personal Representatives will be responsible for paying any funeral expenses, debts and taxes of the departed.

      Once this task has been completed the Personal Representatives will distribute anything left over in accordance with the terms of the Will or if there is no Will to the persons entitled at Law on the deceased’s intestacy.

      How can we help?

      Dealing with the most straightforward and uncomplicated estate can be very time consuming and there are set procedures to follow.  Our probate team has the necessary experience and understanding to ensure that the administration of the estate will be dealt with in an efficient, sensitive and professional manner.

      Some of the comments our Clients have made:

       “… I would like to say how grateful we are to you for bringing the matters of Dad’s estate to this conclusion, all of which have been carried out most efficiently and satisfactorily… We would like to thank you also for dealing with our requests and handling such personal matters with sympathetic understanding, qualities much appreciated especially at the beginning of this process.”

      “A big thank you from myself and all the family for the way you handled my late Aunt’s affairs.  You have been a pleasure to work with in the short time it has taken to conclude the Administration.”

       “I would like to thank you for the efficient way that you and your assistant have handled the administration of my Father’s estate.”

      “I would like to thank you and your associates for the work you have done on my behalf.  It would otherwise have been an impossible task.  This has been an arduous few months, particularly for my parents, and the whole family is grateful for your efficient completion of the matter.”

      “The family would like to thank you… for the friendly and efficient way in which you have dealt with my Mother’s Will.  We shall have not hesitation in coming to Clayton Mott again, and in mentioning your name to friends.”

      Contact:

      Rachael Pointon ~ Private Client Adviser

      Email:  Rachael@claytonmott.co.uk

      The information and opinions contained here are for general guidance only and not intended to constitute legal or professional advice.  This should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to individual circumstances.  Clayton Mott shall have no responsibility for any loss that may arise out of reliance on any material contained herein.

       

    • Employment

      In recent years there have been significant changes in employment law governing the relationship between employer and employee. The law is continuing to develop and accordingly it is essential that specialised legal advice is obtained.

      Employees generally can now only be required to work for a maximum number of hours per week and are entitled to a minimum level of pay and period of holiday.  Parental leave is now available to both parents.  Such changes, coupled with the recent increase in the compensatory award for unfair dismissal means that no matter what size of business, from an employers point of view it is vital that all steps be taken to minimise the risk of potential and actual claims.

      We are able to assist both the employer and the employee in seeking to enforce or clarify their rights.  In particular, we are able to advise, assist and if necessary offer representation in relation to the following:

      • Unfair and wrongful dismissal claims
      • Breach of Employment Contract
      • Redundancy and related matters
      • Working hours and holiday entitlement
      • Parental leave and time off for dependants
      • Transfer of a business – the effect upon employees and obligations on the part of the employers
      • Discrimination due to age, gender, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation
      • Equal pay and minimum wage claims
      • Sexual harassment and victimisation in the workplace

      Furthermore, in order that both the employer and employee understand their obligations and to reduce the likelihood of disputes arising at a later date, it is essential that employment contracts, policy documents and company handbooks are clear, unambiguous and reflect all changes in the law.  In addition to the above, we are able to offer advice and assistance in connection with the following:

      • Drafting of new contracts of employment
      • Amendment/variation of existing contracts
      • Preparation of Directors’ service agreements

      Contact:

      Sheila Mott ~ Senior Partner and Solicitor

      Email:  sheila@claytonmott.co.uk

      The information and opinions contained here are for general guidance only and not intended to constitute legal or professional advice.  This should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to individual circumstances.  Clayton Mott shall have no responsibility for any loss that may arise out of reliance on any material contained herein.

       

    • Family Law

      A breakdown in family relationships is one of the most worrying and traumatic of emotional circumstances. Our aim is to offer uncomplicated, confidential advice support and assistance.

      Relationship breakdown, divorce and separation

      • Divorce Petitions
      • Civil Partnership Breakdowns
      • Separation Procedures
      • Disputes between cohabitees, including same sex couples
      • Ancillary Relief – splitting the property, cash, assets and pensions

      Children Act proceedings

      • Residence and contact
      • Parental rights, responsibility and guardianship issues

      Living together

      • Prenuptial agreements
      • Cohabitation agreements

      Divorce Procedure

      Divorce is a commonplace occurrence nowadays.  Each divorce is unique and therefore needs individual appraisal, but what follows is a brief and simplified guide to explain some of the procedures involved in an uncontested divorce.

      Preparation of the Divorce Petition

      Divorce Petitions can be commenced only if the parties have been married for more than one year.  The party to the marriage who starts the proceedings is referred to as the petitioner whilst the other party is called the respondent.

      The petition contains information about the names, addresses and occupations of the parties, the names and dates of birth of any children of the parties and the details of the marriage.  Most importantly, the petition will establish the reason for the marriage or civil partnership breakdown.

      The only ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and this must be demonstrated by one of five facts:

      1. That the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to continue to live with him/her.
      2. That the respondent has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect the petitioner to live with him/her.
      3. That the respondent has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of at least two years preceding the date of presentation of the petition.
      4. The parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years preceding the date of presentation of the petition and the respondent agrees to the divorce.
      5. That the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of five years or more preceding the date of presentation of the petition, whether or not the respondent agrees to the divorce.

      The same facts, with the exception of adultery, are the basis for dissolution of a civil partnership.

      Issue of the Proceedings

      The petition is sent to the Court with the marriage certificate and statement detailing arrangements for any children and the appropriate Court fee (currently £410).  A certificate is also used to indicate whether or not the possibility of reconciliation has been discussed with the parties.  The Court will allocate a case number and arrange for the petition to be served on the respondent.  Once the petition has been successfully served and acknowledged, and provided that the respondent does not intend to defend the petition, the matter can progress to the next stage in the proceedings.

      Application for Directions for Trial (Special Procedure Directions)

      An application is lodged with the Court accompanied by a statement by the petitioner.  The statement confirms the contents of the divorce petition as being true.  A District Judge considers the contents of the petition and statement and, if satisfied, will give notice of the date when the decree nisi will be granted.  The District Judge will also consider the arrangements for any children.

      Decree Nisi

      On the date fixed, a District Judge will read out the decree nisi in Court.  The petitioner and respondent do not usually need to attend Court.  The Court will then send a copy of the decree nisi to both parties but this does not dissolve the marriage.

      Decree Absolute

      Six weeks and one day after the decree nisi is issued, the petitioner can then apply to the Court for the decree nisi to be made absolute.  The application is sent to the Court where a District Judge will consider it and if satisfied that it meets the necessary criteria, will issue the decree absolute certificate.  If the petitioner does not make the application, the respondent can apply, but only after three months have elapsed from the earlier date when the petitioner could have applied.

      It is helpful that arrangements concerning any children and the split of the financial assets are agreed between the parties without having to go through the Court to resolve these matters.  However, it is important to have good legal advice about the implications even if these decisions are taken amicably.

      The divorce process is likely to take approximately 6 months from the issue of the divorce petition.  It will however, depend on the nature of the case and will take longer if there are disagreements over children or finances that cannot be resolved without intervention of the Court.

      Contact:

      Sheila Mott ~ Senior Partner and Solicitor

      Email:  sheila@claytonmott.co.uk

      The information and opinions contained here are for general guidance only and not intended to constitute legal or professional advice.  This should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to individual circumstances.  Clayton Mott shall have no responsibility for any loss that may arise out of reliance on any material contained herein.

       

       

    • Wills

      Did you know that 7 out of 10 people in this country never make a Will? Some don’t like to think about it whilst others don’t even bother because they assume that everything they own will automatically pass to their nearest and dearest.

      Why do I need a Will?

      Making a Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death and that the people you care about are provided for.

      Your Will enables you to:

      • Choose who will be responsible for winding up your affairs.
      • Appoint guardians for your children.
      • Plan to reduce the burden of Inheritance Tax.

      What happens without a Will?

      Without a Will the Law decides who gets what from your estate and your wishes will not be carried out.  It is not uncommon for family disputes to arise due to there being no Will.  Families today often include step children, half siblings and adopted children.

      No Will could mean:

      • Your spouse may not inherit the whole of your estate.
      • Your spouse or partner may have to sell the family home because the Law says other relations are entitled to a share.
      • If you are not married, your partner’s entitlement may be very limited.
      • The rules set out by the Law may not favour relatives you would not wish to benefit and conversely will give a greater  benefit to certain relatives than you would wish them to have.
      • With no immediate family, the Government can inherit all you have.
      • A larger Inheritance Tax bill for your family.

      These are just some of the problems that can arise if you do not make a Will.

      Should I update my Will?

      Quite simply the answer is ‘yes’.  Keeping your Will up to date is almost as important as writing one in the first place.  Circumstances change over time and it is recommended that you review your Will at least every five years, or more frequently if there is a major change in your circumstances.  Even if you have a Will, if you were to get married, that Will would be revoked.

      How do I make a Will?

      Home made Wills or even an out of date Will can create more problems than they solve.

      If you would like to make an appointment to discuss your requirements, call us on 0115 9819214 to make an appointment.  You should allow 30 to 45 minutes for the initial interview, which allows us to take full instructions.

      Before making a Will you may wish to consider:

      • Estimating the approximate value of your estate by calculating what your assets an/or savings are worth.
      • Choosing your Executors – these will be the people responsible for carrying out the terms of your Will.  They can be relatives, friends or professional people.  Executors can and often are also beneficiaries under the Will.
      • Making a list of any gifts of money or any particular possessions that you may wish to leave to particular people.
      • Who will receive the rest of your estate and who will inherit if these beneficiaries die before you.

       

      Contact:

      Clare de Ritter ~ Solicitor

      Email:  clare@claytonmott.co.uk

      The information and opinions contained here are for general guidance only and not intended to constitute legal or professional advice.  This should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to individual circumstances.  Clayton Mott shall have no responsibility for any loss that may arise out of reliance on any material contained herein.

       

       

    • Inheritance Tax

      The inheritance tax (IHT) threshold for each individual is £325,000. The ‘transferable nil-rate band’ benefits married couples, civil partners, widows and widowers but not single people or cohabiting couples.

      The IHT spouse exemption means that there is no IHT to pay on assets passing between married couples or civil partners.  Before the changes, this meant that if one spouse or civil partner died and left everything to the survivor, no IHT would be payable on the first death.  However, as a result of this, the deceased’s nil rate band was unused and therefore lost.

      To overcome these difficulties, many people followed best practice advice and completed Wills whereby, on the first death, assets of a value equal to the nil-rate band were left directly to the children or more commonly to a discretionary trust.  This ensured the nil rate band was used fully and not wasted.

      Following the introduction of the transferable ‘nil-rate-band’ it is now possible for married couples or civil partners to use both nil-rate bands on the death of the survivor.  This is achieved by a transfer of any part of the nil-rate band allowance which was not used on the first death.

      It does not matter when the first death occurred as the announcement had retrospective effect, so long as the second death happens on or after 9th October 2007.

      In many cases the availability of the transferable nil-rate bank means it will no longer be necessary to write complex arrangements into Wills involving discretionary trust, IOU schemes or equitable charges.  The provisions will be a welcome simplification of the IHT regime for clients.

      This change will effectively provide a £650,000* nil-rate band to all couples (married or civil partners) rather than only those who have executed some IHT planning steps.

      *based on nil-rate band of £325,000 for tax year 2013/14

      Is it necessary to change existing Wills?

      Many clients will already have nil-rate ban or discretionary trust arrangements written into their Wills.  There is no need for clients to change their Wills simply to exclude such arrangements.  The existing trust should include a power to distribute capital at any time.  The trustees could use this power on the first death to appoint the trust assets to the surviving spouse.  Provided this is done within two years of the first death, both nil-rate bands will be available to use on the death of the survivor.  Clients may choose to leave their Wills unchanged until they next review them but if this has not been done for some years, it might be a good time to do so.

      New Wills

      There will still be instances in which a nil-rate band discretionary trust is useful but it is now unlikely to be for IHT reasons.

      Instead couples may prefer to return to the much simpler ‘all to each other and then the the children in equal shares’ provision in their Wills.

      Further advice

      If you would like more detailed advice or wish to discuss the most appropriate actions for your particular circumstances, then contact a member of our Probate team.  More information can be found by following the link within the HMRC website:  http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/inheritancetax/index.htm

      Contact:

      Clare de Ritter ~ Solicitor

      Email:  clare@claytonmott.co.uk

      The information and opinions contained here are for general guidance only and not intended to constitute legal or professional advice.  This should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to individual circumstances.  Clayton Mott shall have no responsibility for any loss that may arise out of reliance on any material contained herein.

       

       

    • Powers of Attorney

      A Power of Attorney is a document created by a Deed in which one person (‘the Donor) gives another person (‘the Attorney’) authority to look after their affairs. More than one Attorney can be appointed. All Powers of Attorney are in effect lifetime mandates and cease automatically on the death of the Donor.

      There are three types of Powers of Attorney:

      Ordinary or General Powers of Attorney

      An Ordinary Power of Attorney is a simple document in which the Donor appoints an Attorney to deal generally with their financial affairs or specifically to deal with a certain matter for example, the sale of a property.

      Although a cheaper option than other types of Powers of Attorney, the Ordinary or General Power of Attorney has it’s limitations as it will be automatically revoked if the Donor becomes mentally incapable.  It is therefore not suitable for long term management or for many elderly people as the document may be revoked at just the time that it is most needed.

      Enduring Powers of Attorney

      Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) can no longer be created.  These are special forms created by the Enduring Powers of Attorney Act 1985.  These documents had significant advantages over the Ordinary Powers of Attorney in that they were not cancelled when the Donor became mentally incapable.

      EPAs made before 1st October 2007 remain in force and are still effective for the purpose for which they were created.  If the Donor of an existing EPA loses mental capacity then the Attorney has a legal duty to register the document with the Court of Protection.  We can advise and assist in bringing existing EPAs into use and on the registration process when needed.

      EPAs relate only to the financial affairs of the Donor and do not extend to authority relating to health or welfare matters.

      Lasting Powers of Attorney

      The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) was introduced on the 1st October 2007 and has replaced the EPA to make plans for the future when you may lack the capacity to make decisions for yourself.  An LPA allos the Donor to choose an Attorney or Attorneys that they trust to make decisions on their behalf.  There are two types of LPA which can be created separately:

      The Property and Affairs LPA

      In many ways the Property and Affairs LPA is similar to an EPA, but due to the length and greater complexity they are unfortunately more expensive to prepare.  The Property and Affairs LPA allows the Donor to appoint an Attorney to manage their finances and property.  An Attorney would not be able to make decisions about the Donor’s personal welfare unless they have also been appointed using a separate personal welfare LPA.  One of the advantages of the LPA over an EPA is that the Donor has the option of appointing replacement Attorneys should the Attorney be unable to act.

      The Health and Welfare LPA

      This document enables a Donor to appoint an Attorney to make decisions on their behalf about non-financial matters, such as medical treatment or where the Donor will live.  You have the option to give your attorney the ability to make decisions regarding life sustaining treatment in a Health and Welfare LPA.  The Health & Welfare LPA can only be used by the Attorney when the Donor lacks the capacity to make their own decisions.

      The Certificate

      An additional requirement of both parts of the LPA is that of a signature by certificate provider.  The certificate is a vital part of the LPA form and without it the LPA is not valid.  Under the old EPA it was necessary only for the Donor to have his (or her) signature witnessed.  Under the LPA not only must the Donor have his (or her) signature witnessed but an independent person must complete a certificate at Part B of the form.  The certificate confirms that the Donor understands the purpose of the LPA and the scope of the authority under it, that no fraud or undue influence is being used to induce the Donor to create the LPA and there is nothing else that prevents the LPA being created.  The certificate provider must be chosen by the Donor and be acting independently both of the Donor and of the proposed Attorney.  The certificate provider must be a person who falls into one of the following categories:

      Knowledge Certification – This is someone who has known the Donor personally for at least two years; or

      Skills Certification – This is someone who considers that they have the relevant professional skills and expertise to certify the LPA.  For example:

      ~A registered healthcare professional (includes GP);

      ~A barrister, solicitor or an advocate;

      ~A registered social worker; or

      ~An independent mental capacity advocate.

      We would usually recommend a skills certification as people in this category are usually more used to assessing mental capacity.  The Office of the Public Guardian may also need to contact the certificate provider to verify the information they provide.  Taking the role of certificate provider is very important as it provides one of the main safeguards in the LPA process.

      Registration

      Both the property and affairs LPA and the Health and Welfare LPA, if one has been created, must be registered with The Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used.  The Attorney cannot act until the registration process has been completed.  There is a Court fee payable for the registration which is currently £130 for each LPA.

      More information can be found at  http://www.justice.gov.uk/about/opg

      If you would like more detailed advice or wish to discuss the most appropriate actions for your particular circumstances,

      Contact:

      Clare de Ritter ~ Solicitor

      Email:  clare@claytonmott.co.uk

      The information and opinions contained here are for general guidance only and not intended to constitute legal or professional advice.  This should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to individual circumstances.  Clayton Mott shall have no responsibility for any loss that may arise out of reliance on any material contained herein.