PRIVATE WEALTH SERVICES
I qualified as a chartered tax advisor with PwC in 1995 and for the first 15 years of my career provided tax advice to individuals and private trustees on all aspects of their tax affairs including those who had an overseas connection.
In 1998 I joined Dickinson Dees (now Womble Bond Dickinson) in Newcastle upon Tyne to work in their private client tax team. Shortly after joining the firm, I realised that I needed to improve my legal knowledge to become a more rounded tax advisor. I started a Post Graduate Diploma in Law in 1998 and enjoyed it so much that I kept studying and qualified as a solicitor with Dickinson Dees in 2004. Since then, I have advised individuals and private trustees on all aspects of their legal and tax affairs.
In 2006 my wife and I (and out three young children) decided to set off on an adventure and we relocated from the North East to Devon. Prior to joining Legal Studio in 2021, I was a partner in various law firms in the South West of England.
It is important for me to connect with my clients to build and sustain long lasting relationships. I work with several cross-generational families on various tax and legal issues for them.
My work includes:
I am an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, and a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). I was previously a committee member of the West of England branch of STEP and often lecture for them. I am also a former committee member of the Devon and Cornwall branch of the Institute of Directors.
When I am not busy as chief taxi driver for my children, I follow most sports and enjoy frequent visits to the cinema.
FINANCIAL AFFAIRS OF THE HEART!
With hits such as “toxic” and “criminal” we probably should not be surprised by the recent court case that has developed between Britney Spears and her father.
What is a Conservatorship?
Due to Britney’s troubled past and her vulnerability, her father was appointed to look after his daughter’s financial affairs and wellbeing by the Court under an arrangement known as Conservatorship. This arrangement has been in place now for some 13 years and whilst Britney may not have had the mental stability to make decisions for herself when the Conservatorship was put in place, it appears that her mental state has clearly improved and she now wants to take control back for all aspects of her life. This is the decision that the courts must consider and decide on.
Can you put a Conservatorship in Place in the UK?
The UK does not have an equivalent of a Conservatorship although a trust is sometimes used to manage the affairs of an individual who is vulnerable or perhaps does not have capacity to look after their own affairs.
A trust can be a very flexible arrangement to manage an individual’s financial affairs, offer protection against undue influence and potential tax savings. The individuals who manage the trust are known as the trustees although their powers can only be used to manage the financial assets held subject to a trust. The trustees’ powers do not extend to making decisions about the beneficiary’s health and welfare.
The Benefits of putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in Place
If you have capacity to make your own decisions, there may come a time when this is not the case. To safeguard against this, you can put legal documents in place known as lasting powers of attorney. There are two different types. The first is known as a property and affairs LPA (PAFLPA) and allows the people you appoint (known as your attorneys) to make decisions about your financial affairs such as paying bills or buying/selling property.
The other type of LPA is known as a Health & Welfare LPA (HWLPA) and allows your attorneys to make decisions on your behalf about your health (i.e., medical treatment) or your welfare (i.e., living accommodation, how you live day to day, etc).
Your PAFLPA and your HWLPA cannot be used until they have been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Your HWLPA cannot be used by your attorneys unless you have lost capacity. Whilst your PAFLPA can be used before you lose capacity you can include a restriction in the document itself which specifies that it cannot be used unless you have lost capacity. This ensures that you retain control over all financial and health and welfare decisions until you are unable to make the decisions for yourself. A crucial difference from the conservatorship that Britney Spears is subject to.
A recent survey has identified that at least 25% of the UK population will suffer some form of mental health issue during their lifetime. Therefore, it is crucial that you consider putting PAFLPA and HWLPAs in place before it is too late.
For further information on the use of trust and LPAs to protect you and your family please contact Malcolm Emery.