Monday 23 January 2017

Things to consider when preparing Powers of Attorney

It is always advisable to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) because you can never be certain of what the future will bring. An LPA allows you to give someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf should you not have the mental capacity to make these decisions on your own, or if you do not want to make certain decisions. For these reasons it is very important that your choice of attorney(s) is a decision made wisely.

What to think about when selecting your attorneys

Kagowa Kuruneri Trainee Solicitor Hertfordshire
Article by Kagowa Kuruneri
Spouses and other family members cannot just walk into the bank and access your accounts, even if it is to pay for your care. Without an LPA in place your relatives will have to apply to the court to be given authority to help you in this way, and this can be a long and costly process. 

Depending on the type of LPA you make, your attorney will have the power to make decisions such as where you live and whether or not you should receive or stop receiving a particular health care treatment. If your attorney is managing your affairs they will have the authority to write cheques in your name, sell or rent your property and even carry out your trade or business. Additionally, they will be able to conduct legal matters on your behalf.

Because of the power and responsibilities your attorney will have it is important that you consider the following:

  • Bearing in mind their own lives and obligations, is your attorney guaranteed to be able to take on, and manage, the responsibility you will be giving them? How well do they look after their own affairs? 
  • Think about the type of LPA you are creating, does your attorney have any relevant background or knowledge that will assist them in making those decisions on your behalf?
  • Can your attorney act alone or would it be better to have two or more people working with them to ensure that all decisions made on your behalf have been thought through with the time, care and consideration required?
  • Can your attorney be trusted to act in your best interests, setting aside all personal feelings and emotions? 
  • How well do you know your attorney? Would you still be comfortable with them making decisions on your behalf regardless of how circumstances and relationships change as time goes by?
  • Do you trust your attorney implicitly?

Remember, even though an LPA can be revoked, you have to be deemed to have the mental capacity to be able to make the revocation.

What to think about when selecting your certificate provider

In order to have your LPA registered, you will also need to have a reliable certificate provider. This is a person who can serve as a witness for your LPA and should be able to prove that at the time of preparing your LPA you did so on your own volition and that you understood the nature, purpose and scope of the authority you have granted. Your certificate provider should be able to act independently and possess the professional skills and expertise to provide your certificate. 

Garden House Solicitors specialise in drafting Lasting Powers of Attorney and are happy to assist you with any of your needs or concerns. To arrange an appointment, telephone me on 01992 422 128 or email me at

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Specialists in powers of attorneys

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Things to Know About Coroner's Inquests

Garden House Solicitors
Article by Kagowa Kuruneri
A Coroner’s inquest is held when a coroner receives notice that a person in their area has died under circumstances where the death was violent or unnatural; the cause of death is unknown; or the deceased was in the custody of the state. An inquest can be triggered when reports of a death have been made by the hospital, a doctor (where the deceased was a patient for less than 24 hours), care home representatives or by a family member.
An inquest is conducted pursuant to an individual’s right to life enshrined in the Human Rights Act 1998. Therefore, the State is obligated to investigate the circumstances of a person’s death in order to lay rest to any rumours or suspicion that may arise, or to learn from past tragedies. The Coroner’s investigation must be commenced in an open court and cases to be heard must be publicised. Conducting this court proceeding publicly ensures that the rights of those involved in the inquest are protected under open justice.
An inquest is used to determine who the deceased was; how they came to their death; when they came to their death and where they came to their death. The Coroner’s determination falls into one of 9 categories:
-         - Accident or misadventure                                   - Industrial disease
-         - Alcohol or drug related death                             - Natural causes
-         - Lawful or unlawful killing                                     - Open
-         - Road traffic collision                                            - Suicide
-         - Stillbirth
Where an open conclusion has been reached this means that even on a balance of probabilities, the evidence surrounding a death is insufficient to disclose or determine the cause of death. In some circumstances this is the case when suicide is suspected but it cannot be confirmed whether or not the deceased intended to take their own life at the time.
Prior to starting an investigation the Coroner must make whatever enquiries are necessary to decide if further investigation is required. This takes the form of a post-mortem examination of the body. If the post-mortem reveals that death was natural, e.g. from a heart attack or a ruptured aneurysm, then the Coroner is required to abandon the investigation.
An interested party is a person who qualifies to be informed of the date, time and place of an inquest. These include a spouse or civil partner, family members including step-parents and half siblings, a personal representative of the deceased, medical examiners, insurers, beneficiaries to the deceased’s insurance, and trade union representatives. An interested party also includes any person who by act or omission contributed to the deceased’s death, or whose employee may have done so.
Newspapers tend to watch the Coroner's website and pick up on cases that are interesting and sometimes sensationalise them. Although most of what is recorded by the Coroner is available to the public, interested parties may appeal to the editor not to print certain information. The Coroner also has discretionary power to decide how much is written in their reports and whether or not to verbally disclose it in open court.

If you would like to know more about a Coroner’s inquest, or if you are an interested party in need of assistance, please contact us via email or LinkedIn.

Garden House Solicitors

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.