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Are You Struggling to Manage Your Affairs? By Jacqueline Emmerson of Emmersons Solicitors

For many years, I have been assisting our older clients when they have had no-one else to support them. Often I become an attorney under a Lasting Power of Attorney. I am then able to help clients with everything from running their bank accounts to paying their bills and selling their home.

It occurred to me that many of our clients may not require long-term help and therefore do not wish to appoint me as an attorney. However, you may need short-term help. This could be due to treatment for cancer, long hospital stays, or you may be struggling to prepare your house ready for sale or organise your bank accounts and investments.

I have been approached by a charity to see what help we can offer their clients. They told me about a couple who wished to move house but were completely overwhelmed by the task. They have no family available to help them.

It is now time for the couple to sell their home and move into sheltered accommodation. But they simply cannot get on top of everything. They don’t have the energy to declutter their home ready for an estate agent.

This is the type of case that me and my team deal with on a regular basis. In the first instance I would tackle all paperwork, putting together bank account statements and other investments.

I can then consider whether too many unnecessary payments are going out each month.

I was once in a client’s home sorting out piles of accounts when the telephone rang. As my client had just moved into a care home I answered it. I was not surprised to hear someone from a charity who was contacting him in order to convince him that he should sign up to make a monthly donation to them.

As it happened I had just spotted over £600 in payments to charities going out of his account every month. He needed this money for his care home fees. I also spotted that he was paying life assurance, yet he had no relatives and no close friends; another company who had telephoned and convinced him to sign up. Then I uncovered the fact there were three sets of money going out each month to pay for house insurance. The first two were on automatic renewal.

I discussed these items with my client and cancelling them all, except for one lot of house insurance, I saved him over £700.00 per month. Money that was needed to pay for a decent care home.

Once I have all paperwork under control I can then assist with welfare benefits. In the case of the couple above, are they receiving everything to which they are entitled? Some benefits are relevant to health and others to age. Did you know that anyone with a mental impairment is not required to pay council tax? Is this you, your spouse or mother?

I could then help the couple to slim down on items in their home. It can be very difficult to choose what you should part with. But many items can be quite valuable. What about the watch you bought yourself when you had served your time and you were celebrating the end of your apprenticeship.

At the moment costume jewellery is in vogue and sells very well at auction. Our auctioneer is prepared to visit our clients free of charge to ascertain what is suitable for auction.

My Clear and Clear team can then help to declutter your home. Piles of old newspapers and magazines, old xmas cards, clothes you haven’t worn for years. Finally they can clean your home from top to bottom.

I can then contact some estate agents on your behalf. We are very particular about who we use. They need to understand that this is a struggle for you. I can do everything for you, such as arranging the viewings, putting forward offers to you and of course our Conveyancing Team can then step in to deal with the the sale of your home.

In the meantime, I can also negotiate care home fees on your behalf. For some clients I continue to manage their financial affairs for the rest of their lives. They do not have to worry about paying bills as I attend to all of that. I can set up designated accounts with our business bank and monitor your accounts online.

You may also require help with choosing the right care home, or to obtain a Help at Home Service. We work with private companies. They can be cheaper than social services contracts and will come out for a minimum of an hour at a time rather than a rushed fifteen minutes.

You may also need help to make decisions about your pension. Many investment companies however, will not deal with you directly once you are over 80. They are worried that you may not understand what you are doing. They therefore ask that you appoint an attorney to manage your affairs on your behalf.

Finally, I have been appointed attorney to manage the business affairs of one client. I have made it my business to find out what my client will want me to do if he can no longer cope. Very important as he lives above the business and another business is run from the same building.

In short, my award winning team can step in to help you with all of the things that are just beyond you.

If you need to chat about this then I can be contacted on 0191 284 6989 or