Monday, 15 February 2016

Will change dispute- involvement of an expert can help your case

For a will to be valid, the maker of the will should have the right mental capacity. An increasing number of people are contesting wills on the grounds of mental incapacity. Normally, the presence of Alzheimer’s, or other degenerative conditions, does not automatically mean that the person lacks mental capacity; facts must be considered in order to reach the right decision. In a recent case, the will of a woman who suffered from Alzheimer's was disputed on the grounds that she lacked the mental capacity to make it.

According to Curry Popeck solicitors, when a will is prepared for an unwell or elderly person, a note should be obtained from a doctor, depending on the individual circumstances, to ascertain that the testator has testamentary capacity; this is referred by some as the ‘golden rule’. However, this golden rule is not always followed, so when a dispute regarding a will arises on the grounds of mental incapacity, the lawyers have to obtain evidence of the testator’s likely state of mind when the will was made.In this case, the testatrix had changed an earlier will so as to leave her entire estate to her elder son, because she had severed all ties with her younger son. The younger son challenged the will on the grounds that it had not been properly witnessed and sought to have it ruled invalid.

The elder son had engaged an expert psycho-geriatrician, who established that the mother was mentally competent enough to understand the will and its implications and approve it as drafted. This might have impacted on the decision but did not as the psycho-geriatrician did not receive a wholly appropriate letter of instruction regarding examination of the elderly woman.

After carefully considering all the evidence, the judge refused to rule that the changes to the will were because of delusion, concluding instead that the woman's view was the result of a 'confabulation' – the invention of circumstantial or fictitious detail in order to 'fill gaps' in one's memory.

The judge also accepted the psycho-geriatrician's evidence despite being technically flawed as it supported the elder son's argument that his mother had been mentally sound when she made her new will. Hence, the younger son’s challenge was rejected.

Through illness or old age we may not be in a position to make the most important decisions about our finances or welfare, so professional advice is important to safeguard your interests, state the London solicitors, Curry Popeck.

Curry Popeck solicitors can assist you with your will or power of attorney andhelp you safeguard your interests.

So, if you would like the experts at Curry Popeck to assist you with your Will or Power of Attorney, or would just like to discuss the concerns raised in this article with one of their friendly, helpful solicitors, don’t hesitate to call them on 020-8907-2000, or visit-

Expert advice is very important in matters pertaining to property

Equity release is a common way for people to improve their financial position, but there have been dozens of instances involving equity release that have gone wrong. However, instances of the courts overturning an agreement between people where this was made with the benefit of professional advice are very few.
Arrangements like these can be overturned in several circumstances, for example, if a contract constitutes an 'unconscionable bargain' i.e. a contract, which is so one-sided that it is unfair to one party and therefore unenforceable under law. This will become clear from the example of a recent case involving a woman who bought a property for £77,000 in 2001 and later got into debt. In order to pay off her debts of approximately £7,500, she entered into an arrangement in 2009 to sell it for £20,000.
The claim made by the woman was that she had been falsely told that she was entering into an equity release scheme, not a sale, that the arrangement was an ‘unconscionable bargain’as she was subjected to 'special disadvantage'.
According to Curry Popeck solicitors in Harrow, there are many things special disadvantage can cover, for example, poverty or lack of education. So, in order to defeat the arrangement on the basis of ‘unconscionable bargain’, she needed to prove that she did have a special disadvantage and that this had been improperly exploited by the man who sold her the 'scheme'. She also needed to prove the resulting transaction as 'oppressive and overarching'.
The reason for doing so was that if the court found the contract to be unconscionable, it would typically declare the contract to be void. The defendant argued that the lady had taken professional advice with regard to the sale of her property, so, she had acted with the benefit of professional advice and hence could not claim to have undertaken the arrangement as a result of unconscionable bargain.
However, the womanopposed this by saying that she had only received advice from the solicitor about the conveyancing process, not with regard to the agreement.However, this was not considered sufficient to convince the County Court that the arrangement was not unconscionable.
The most important thing to learn from this case is that before entering into any significant transaction involving important matters such as property, it is always prudentto take expert and specific legal advice.
Equity release schemes, in particular, can contain unpleasant surprises in the fine print that can be a cause of problems in the future. So, if you are considering such a scheme and need expert advice on this or any other matter pertaining to property, consult Curry Popeck conveyancing solicitors in Harrow. They can provide you with far-reaching knowledge and expertise across a broad range of areas.
Having built their reputation up over the last 34 years, their expert team now regularly advises a broad portfolio of UK organizations and individuals. Curry Popeck’s specialist areas include Corporate Law, Employment Law, Family Law, Dispute Resolution, Property Law and Sports and Entertainment Law. So, contact Curry Popeck today to meet their experienced conveyancing solicitors in Harrow or their other experts, who will identify your requirements and provide a tailor-made, personal service to help you get the best outcome.
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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Court May Revoke Lasting Powers Of Attorney If The Interests Of A Vulnerable Person Are Not Protected

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) were created by the Mental Capacity Act 2005.  They came into effect in 2007 and replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney in a bid to safeguard the interests of potentially vulnerable personsshould they be unable to look after their affairs themselves.While LPA’s are designed to protect the interests of vulnerable people, it may be revoked if it is not effective in protecting the interests of a vulnerable person, state Curry Popeck Solicitors.

A vast majority of LPAs are effective in safeguarding the interests of vulnerable people, but occasionally things can go wrong and the person appointed as attorney may try to gain some personal advantage. On those rare occasions, the court may step in and revoke the LPA to safeguard the interest of the vulnerable person, as happened in this case involving a mother and her son.

In 2012, due to her ailing health, a mother appointed her son and daughter as her attorneys on a joint basis relating to all her financial matters. Unfortunately, the siblings did not get along, which led to ineffective management of the donor’s affairs.In 2014, concerns were raised with the Public Guardian about the way the attorneys were using their mother’s money and property. They made excessive gifts to themselves from their mother’s funds and refused to pay the mother’s nursing home fees, claiming that she had wrongfully been denied NHS Continuing Healthcare.

The mother was also not provided with an adequate allowance, which showed that they could not be trusted for the purposes for which the LPA was intended.

The Public Guardian, therefore, applied for an order to revoke the LPA, which the court duly agreed to and a panel deputy was invited to apply to act as a Deputy.

According to Lionel Curry, arguments between family members do happen butnot normally to such an extent for an LPA to be revoked by the Court. In this particular case, the questionable behaviour of the appointed attorneys and their inefficiency in guarding the interests of their mother led to the order to revoke the LPA.

A LPA is a way of authorising someone to make decisions on your behalf, therefore, if you too are planning to make an LPA, it is important to consider your relationship with your attorneys and if they will understand and carry out your wishes. Your LPA should include instructions on how to manage your assets or welfare in particular circumstances. Such considerations will help protect your interests and your property from any misuse.

Please contact CurryPopeck if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of Lasting Powers of Attorney and the Court of Protection. They will provide the best legal advice to protect your rights and property.

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Monday, 8 February 2016

New planning measures announced allowing conversion of underused office buildings into new homes.

In a bid to simplify the planning system, drive growth and tackle the country’s acute shortage of housing, Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis announced new planning measures on 13 October 2015. Redundant offices have a huge potential to provide much needed new housing and this move is certainly going to bring smiles to the faces of many first time home buyers, stated Curry Popeck Solicitors.

First introduced in 2013, temporary permitted development rights make it possible to convert offices into homes without having to apply for planning permission. It led to 4,000 conversions being given the go-ahead between April 2014 and June 2015.

The rights were due to expire on 30 May 2016, and would have led to bureaucracy hurdles that would have hampered the conversion of underused office buildings, thus disheartening many first time home owners. But, ending the uncertainty for the developers and first time owners, Housing and Planning Minister, Brandon Lewis, announced that they are to be made permanent.

Mr Lewis said: “These measures will mean we can tap into the potential of underused buildings to offer new homes for first-time buyers and families long into the future, breathing new life into neighbourhoods and at the same time protecting our precious green belt.”

To further support the new planning measures and make way for new homes, developers will be allowed to demolish offices and convert light industrial buildings and launderettes into homes. Converting commercial buildings into residential developments can be an attractive prospect, but there are a few things to consider, mentioned Curry Popeck. The rights to demolish redundant office buildings and build new residential buildings will be subject to limitations and prior approval by the local planning authority.Those with prior approval or who secure permission will have three years to complete the change of use.

The new move by the government, which has been welcomed by many first time home owners, has faced criticism though from big commercial landlords, who say that converting office buildings into residential spaces would hamper economic growth and employment opportunities. They further opposed the move by saying that while they understand that lack of housing is a big problem, commercial crises is a problem that needs to be addressed too.

While the changes to the rules encouraging office-to-residential conversions are temporary and are facing some opposition as well from the commercial landlords, the government is expected to make them permanent and drop many of the exemptions.

Please contact CurryPopeck Solicitors if you would like more information on the issues raised in this article or any aspect of planning and development. Curry Popeck, solicitors and mediators, can provide you with expert legal advice

on all aspects of Property Law, Corporate Law, Employment Law, Family Law, Dispute Resolution, Sports and Entertainment Law.Curry Popeck provides the best tailored legal advice together with outstanding value for money. Contact them today, if you need expert legal advice or representation. Visit-