We have a long established and highly regarded track record in providing expert advice and support to the private, public and charity sectors.

We are consistently recognised as a leading firm for private client work as reflected in independent legal directory Chambers and Partners based on feedback from our clients and other professionals.

With many years of trust and court of protection experience within the team, we regularly look after the affairs of individuals who lack mental capacity, have suffered a catastrophic personal injury or who are otherwise vulnerable in some way.

We are able to provide a professional trustee, attorney or deputy service through the appointment of Geldards Trust Corporation Limited which is an SRA authorised subsidiary of Geldards LLP. This allows us to offer a seamless service, delivered in a personal and accessible way by our tightknit team of experienced lawyers.

Our specialist team also regularly provide empathetic advice and support for lay people who are acting as court of protection deputies, trustees, or attorneys, whether assisting with initial or further applications to the Court of Protection, addressing specific concerns, or more generally helping them fulfil their responsibilities on an ongoing basis, for peace of mind.

We are able to advise those acting as deputy or attorney about the Statutory Will making process, if it may be appropriate for the Court of Protection to authorise a Will to be made on behalf of the person who lacks capacity. If, instead, it is possible that the vulnerable person has legal capacity to make a Will, supported by expert medical evidence, we will work closely with them and with relevant medical and occupational health experts to facilitate that process.

It is also important that family members have appropriate Wills in place so that any legacy intended for a vulnerable beneficiary can be managed for that person’s benefit by appropriate individuals or professionals chosen by the family to enhance rather than necessarily interfere with any state support to which the vulnerable beneficiary is or may become entitled. Our specialists in this area regularly advise families in this context helping them to put appropriate and tax efficient will and trust structures in place, for real peace of mind.

We work closely with other leading professionals such as accountants and chartered financial planners to ensure a joined up approach to the management of the vulnerable person’s financial affairs. We are also able to call on colleagues across the firm for specialist input on particular issues (for example, where there is a business or property to be dealt with).

We are well used to complex and sensitive family scenarios and to seeking appropriate and effective solutions delivered empathetically.

Some examples:

  • Assisting a newly appointed Deputy in relation to management and budgeting in respect of her brother’s personal injury compensation (following a serious brain injury he had suffered at a young age resulting in a 7-figure sum awarded in damages).

    Our client, the lay deputy, was assuming this responsibility for the first time following the death of the family member originally appointed as deputy.

    As well as dealing with the application to the Court of Protection, the lay deputy has welcomed the support and guidance we have been able to give her to help her perform her new role:
    • We have worked forensically with her to put together and submit to the OPG on her behalf annual accounts for the last two years;
    • Becoming trusted advisors, we have educated, encouraged and supported the lay deputy in turning around the management of her brother’s compensation fund;
    • This has involved engaging a chartered financial planner to review the needs of the vulnerable person and rearrange the investments to ensure his ongoing needs may be met without taking undue levels of investment risk and to include pension provision for him for the future;
    • Following on from a rearrangement of investments, we have provided guidance and encouragement to the lay deputy around budgeting and record keeping;
    •  

      The outcome of this work and ongoing support is that the lay deputy is able to carry out her role with confidence with a view to ensuring her brother’s compensation fund will meet his needs for the years to come.

  • Acting as professional deputy for a young boy who suffered a catastrophic brain injury at birth in respect of which the firm’s clinical negligence team secured a £6m settlement and ongoing periodical payments:
    • Developing a close working relationship with the family as the clinical negligence claim progressed over a number of years;
    • Overseeing the purchase and adaptation of a property and implementation of a suitable care package for the family during the course of the proceedings and attending the settlement meeting to support them and provide relevant input;
    • Sensitively and empathetically dealing with the stresses that tend to arise within families during the inevitably drawn out litigation process;
    • Following successful settlement of the claim, working closely with a specialist financial advisor to invest the lump sum in an appropriate way to meet ongoing care and other needs.
    •  
  • Managing numerous trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries (providing a professional trustee service as well as acting for lay trustees):
    • Personal Injury trust authorised some years ago by the Court of Protection to hold compensation awarded for a catastrophic personal injury to a young man with a fund valued at £1.7m and periodical payments of some £90,000 per year ongoing (we have recently taken over this matter at the request of the family);
    • Disabled Person’s Trust established by order of the Court of Protection to hold £500,000 of damages paid by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority with two specified purpose funds requiring careful management;
    • Various family trusts put in place to provide for vulnerable beneficiaries typically holding six figure sums and which involve working closely with the vulnerable person and those who support them (to identify ways in which the funds may be applied for the vulnerable person’s benefit particularly where accommodation and day to day needs are already met by state support) and putting in place an investment strategy in conjunction with independent financial advice to ensure that such benefit may be provided for the vulnerable person in the short, medium and long term including in the event of any withdrawal of reduction in state support.

For more information please contact a member of the Private Client team


WHAT PEOPLE SAY

"Geldards is well respected for its "solid private client practice." …… praised for being "extremely knowledgeable on trustee and inheritance matters. They deal with complex matters promptly and efficiently and have specialists in other areas when required"
Chambers and Partners 2020

"Everyone I've been in contact with at the firm has been more than competent. You get the impression from visiting the place that they are operating at the top of the market"
Chambers and Partners 2020


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MAIN CONTACTS

PARTNER

Claire Johnson

CLAIRE JOHNSON

Partner, Cardiff

+44 (0)29 2039 1728
email
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PARTNER

Erica Thomson

ERICA THOMSON

Partner, Nottingham

+44 (0)115 983 3745
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