Legal and financial planning specialist Ensure Inheritance has launched a specially discounted legal package to assist people with Down’s Syndrome and their families and carers deal with their finances and property.
Andrew Simpson, Lead Panel Solicitor at Seaham-based Ensure Inheritance, has worked with Down’s Syndrome North East, which is affiliated to the Down’s Syndrome Association, to prepare Court of Protection Deputyship applications to allow parents, or other family members, to manage the financial affairs of people with Down’s Syndrome in their best interests.
“Putting these legal measures in place becomes necessary when children turn 18 and become legally responsible for their own finances,” explains Mr Simpson, a specialist solicitor with more than 16 years’ experience of this type of work.
“If someone requires more than just simple support to manage their money, there are two options. A Lasting Power Of Attorney allows the Attorney, usually a parent or other family member, to look after someone’s finances. Crucially the individual needs to have the mental capacity to decide to give this power, otherwise they will need someone to act as a Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection. Anyone can apply to be a Deputy, but again, it is usually a parent or family member, although professionals, such as solicitors or accountants can also be Deputies or Attorneys,” explains Mr Simpson.
“The Down’s Syndrome Association website has some very useful advice on levels of support and mental capacity which can help parents decide what might be required for their child, and I am always very happy to help with any advice,” says Mr Simpson.
It is possible to apply to be an Attorney or Deputy via the Court of Protection website, but most people use an experienced solicitor. The Court of Protection itself recommends that solicitors should charge £1,050 (£875+VAT). This is on top of the £400 Court application fees, plus an assessment fee of £100, a bond fee of up to £150 and an annual supervision fee.
“By working closely with the Down’s Syndrome North East, Ensure Inheritance has been able to discount its fees to £600 (£500 + VAT). Depending on the financial circumstances of the person represented it is also possible for the Court to waive the application fees and reduce others fees charged,” says Mr Simpson.
Sue Belton, Chair of Down’s Syndrome North East says: It’s refreshing to find a solicitor who understands that for individuals with Down’s Syndrome there is not a one size fits all solution, and that the best course of action depends on each individual and their circumstances.”
Further information about Court of Protection Deputyships and LPAs is available from Andrew Simpson at Ensure Inheritance on tel. 0191 338 5143, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via its website www.ensureinheritance.co.uk. The Down’s Syndrome Association’s website can be found at www.downs-syndrome.org.uk and Down’s Syndrome North East’s website can be found at www.dsne.org.uk
Based in Seaham in County Durham, Ensure Inheritance provides a range of legal and financial planning services which help protect financial assets to provide their clients and their loved ones with peace of mind. In addition to powers of attorney and court of protection deputyships, services include Vulnerable Beneficiary Trusts, Wills and Estate planning, long term care planning, wealth preservation trusts, funeral planning, inheritance tax planning, and probate.