Alex ElphinstonSenior Associate
35 years' experience helping individuals and families plan for the future.
I’m a senior associate in the private legal services team, advising clients on wills, trusts, gifts and estate administration as well as Court of Protection. I work closely with colleagues in the family and clinical negligence teams, where appropriate.
After qualifying as a solicitor in 1980, I’ve always advised on wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection matters. I speak regularly on these matters to other professionals and support groups for individuals. I also hold various committee roles with related professional bodies, including STEP and Solicitors for the Elderly.
When the Mental Capacity Act was going through parliament, “pro-life” groups argued that the provisions around health and welfare and advance directives would be the prelude to legalised euthanasia.
Whether or not someone has capacity to make a will has caused much debate, as we demonstrate in several recent legal cases.
Whilst it is important to make a will, it is just as important to make sure it remains appropriate and up-to-date in light of changing circumstances.
One significant difference between someone managing the financial affairs of another (often called “P”) under a power of attorney as opposed to a deputyship, is the degree of supervision.
As a lawyer, building a rapport and trust are important, but lawyers must remain objective.
You would hope that anyone looking after the financial affairs of a friend or relative, or indeed, making any decision on behalf of another, would be motivated to make a decision that was in the individual's "best interests".
When a person dies, the Government not only levies inheritance tax based on the value of the deceased’s assets, but also a separate fee which is known as a “probate court fee”.
All individuals are presumed to have the mental capacity to make their own decisions unless proved otherwise. An assessment of capacity is matter specific, with reference to the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
The testatrix, Mrs. Coulter, was domiciled in Jersey and died there. Her estate, at the date of her death, included assets in the United Kingdom with a probate value of £1,818,000.
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