Nicholls Law manage the property and financial affairs of adults who are deemed mentally incapable of doing this themselves, and have no family or friends that are able to assist them with this vital day-to-day task. These adults are some of the most vulnerable members of society, and safeguarding their assets is at the heart of what we do.
The team at Nicholls Law possess unique experience within these fields, as they come from both a private and public sector background. Unlike the vast majority of law firms who practice within these fields – and approach this work from a private sector view – we fully understand how things should work on a day-to-day basis. We have built and grown these services for our public sector clients in the past, thus enabling us to fully understand the ‘nuts & bolts’ of these operations.
Most law firms will tend to pick and choose who they want to act for, and will typically decide to act for the ‘high net wealth’ clients, (or those with significant assets), as this allows them to charge far more by charging ‘assessed costs’ in relation to the size of the client’s estate. Nicholls Law takes a different approach to this and looks to take on all clients that are referred to us. Put simply – without these services, the repercussions for these individuals would be far reaching.
With numerous years of experience in the field, we are able to provide an all-round money management system for people that are unable to manage their own finances due to mental incapacity. In what can be a very difficult and complicated area of work for all involved, we believe our systems are at the forefront of our success. This is achieved by the software we use, our specific expertise, a cost effective approach, security at the core of our ideals, practicality and lastly our caring approach. By working with the wider care team that supports the individual, we are able to concentrate fully on our main responsibility – administering our client’s funds & assets.
If a person lacks the mental capacity to manage their own finances, an Appointee can be instructed to administer that person’s state benefits. This is the extent of an Appointees control. Appointees are appointed by the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP). Some of the responsibilities of an Appointee include:
- claiming benefits for the client, including completing and signing any claim forms;
- reporting any changes in the client’s circumstances;
- paying any relevant expenses that the client is due to pay eg. residential care home charges.
Court of Protection – Deputyship
A Deputyship works in the same way as an Appointeeship but offers the additional protection of the client’s assets, savings or property. A Deputyship is appropriate when someone has not previously appointed an attorney in a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and does not have the mental capacity to make an LPA. Deputies are appointed by the Court of Protection (CoP). The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is entrusted with supervising the work of deputies appointed by the CoP. Deputies are provided with sealed legal documents allowing them to act for an individual in all aspects of their financial affairs. Some of the key responsibilities of a Deputy include:
- receiving the individuals income from all sources, including shares, occupational pensions, state benefits, premium bond winnings etc.;
- administering the day to day finances of their client e.g. paying bills;
- keeping accurate records of the administration of their client’s finances, and been accountable to the CoP in the form of an Annual Report, which is required by law;
- making tax returns;
- looking after the client’s property;
- keeping to all orders & directions the Court makes.
A Lay Deputy will either be a friend or family member. We can assist Lay Deputies with applications to the CoP, while also advising them on the legal requirements of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and the associated Code of Practice.
With over eleven years of experience advising numerous organisations, when it comes to this particular type of work we are able to offer a range of consultancy services, covering areas such as: service start-ups; relevant banking software; relevant accounting software; team formations; policies; practices; working with key stakeholders; meeting regulatory requirements; service reviews; charging guidelines; and so on.