I specialise in advising older and vulnerable clients with matters such as care funding, management of financial affairs and applications to the Court of Protection. I have been a specialist in this area of law since my qualification as a Solicitor eight-and-a-half years ago.
Today, my day looked like this.
Office hours are 9am to 5pm, but my day started at 5am when I received a telephone call from a care home advising that they required instructions from me about my client “Pam”.
Pam is seriously poorly, and the care home needed me, on behalf of the firm, to be involved in a best interest’s decision about proposed medical treatment for her. Pam has now lost capacity to make most decisions about her health, but thankfully a few years ago she had put in place Lasting Powers of Attorney appointing HCR to be her attorney so that we could make decision in her best interests.
As I have got to know Pam very well over the years, I assisted the care home with the information required, and Pam received medical intervention to prolong her life.
After that, I take my beautiful cocker spaniel Bramble for a walk, and then head into the office.
I arrived at the office at 9am and I updated my team on Pam’s health. I asked a paralegal to purchase items for Pam to make her more comfortable and for a visit to be scheduled in a few days’ time.
Next up, I travelled to visit a disabled couple in their own home. The couple instructed me to assist with preparing new wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPAs”). I took instructions and advised that draft paperwork will follow in the post. During the conversation the clients shared that they have an adult son with complex medical needs, and how he is unable to make his own decisions.
I advise the clients on options they have available to them, and they instruct me to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. A Deputyship Order will provide authority to the deputy to make best interests decisions for the adult son.
On my return to the office, I have a meeting with my team of paralegals to discuss their workloads, updates on Pam’s file and any queries they have. I ask them to assist with the file opening and a first draft of the new wills, LPAs, and the deputyship application.
The post arrives on my desk, and I make my way through this. Within my post I have received signed papers from a client who has approved the draft court papers I sent her. The application relates to making a statutory will for her brother who acquired a brain injury after a road traffic accident a couple of years ago.
Her brother had prepared a will 20 years ago, but as his family dynamics and financial situation had now changed dramatically, it was felt necessary to make an application to the court. I complete a final review of the papers before submitting the application to the court and telephoning the client to advise on the likely processes and timescales from here.
After lunch, I have a meeting with a couple in their early eighties. The husband has recently had a diagnosis of dementia and the couple are keen to get their “ducks in a row” and understand how paying for care works. I talked to the clients about their wills, LPAs and advance decisions. We then moved on to discussing local authority care funding rules, NHS care funding rules and benefits which the couple may now be eligible to claim.
It’s now 3pm and time to walk over to the Cheltenham Hospital Oncology Garden to continue with the Corporate Social Responsibility project I am heading up for our Cheltenham office. With the nature of my job, I often volunteer to assist with projects concerning vulnerable clients, but this project has a special place in my heart.
In July 2021 I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 31. My road to recovery involved three operations, eight months of chemotherapy, sepsis, a permanent stoma and over 160 days in hospital. I have been left with some lifelong side effects of the treatment, which I am learning to live with, but I am delighted that scans are currently showing no evidence of disease!
I returned to work in summer 2022 and I knew I wanted to give something back to the hospital which gave me (and thousands of others) a chance of more time. In the spring, I sent an email out to the Cheltenham Office to ask for volunteers to help me revamp the garden at the Oncology Centre at the hospital for the benefit of the patients, their family and the staff.
I was overwhelmed when so many colleagues offered to help me with this project. On 31 May 2023 a team of 30 of us attended the garden to start the works required, and every fortnight thereafter I have a rota of people attending to the garden to keep up the good work.
Today’s jobs at the garden included continuing to dig up the troublesome bamboo, weeding, pruning and sweeping the paths of leaves. Two oncology patients even came out to see us and to thank us for the work that we are doing. Having this feedback makes our efforts so worthwhile.
After spending a couple of hours at the garden, it’s time to pack up and sign off for the day, ready for another busy day tomorrow.