Thursfields Solicitors LLP
Thursfields LLP provide practical, real advice and solutions to all your legal problems, using our proven specialist analytical skills and expertise, but from a different perspective. We are a well established reputable firm with several offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands. We greatly value our clients and always put their needs first. We provide an excellent quality of service because we communicate effectively and work as a team in a flexible way. We are open and honest with our clients and we listen, understand and genuinely care and these values are what set us apart.
- 16 February 2016
- West Midlands
- Local Alliances:
- Dudley Dementia Action Alliance, Worcestershire Dementia Action Alliance
1. Action Plan
1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?
Our Wills and Estates legal professionals are members of Solicitors for the Elderly. We provide dementia friendly legal services such as Lasting Powers of Attorney, the registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney applications to the Court of Protection (e.g. Deputyship applications) and Wills. These services are provided in a thoughtful, friendly way and we encourage open access to people who have been diagnosed with dementia and their carers. These services also help us to promote the importance of planning for the future. We regularly visit people in their own homes. In this way our clients often feel more comfortable, particularly when meeting us for the first time, because they are talking to us in familiar surroundings. We also have disabled access facilities at our offices when required. We encourage clients to make their own decisions in their own time. We provide legal advice in clear, simple language and reduce the use of written legal jargon wherever possible. If it helps to put the client at ease, we are happy for carers/family members to be in attendance at a first meeting.
2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
We live in an ageing population and therefore the number of people suffering with dementia is only going to increase.
Some people believe that when the time comes their “next of kin” automatically will be able to make financial and health and welfare decisions on their behalf which legally is not the case.
If an individual loses mental capacity to manage their own finances and they have not put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney then a Deputy must be appointed to access their savings and investments. This is a very costly and lengthy process.
Complex legal issues may need more than one meeting to explain matters to enable clients to make fully informed decisions.
Legal documents, unfortunately, are rarely dementia friendly.
Training our staff to be sensitive to the needs of clients suffering with dementia.
Making our offices more dementia friendly has cost and time implications.
Effective Communication with Clients
We are passionate about encouraging people to make proper plans for their future and to ensure that the management of their finances and personal welfare run smoothly and are administered by trustworthy people when our clients can no longer manage alone. In this way we advise our clients to make Lasting Powers of Attorney.
We accompany clients to meetings rooms and have signs in place at all our offices showing the reception area and various meeting rooms.
Helpful headings, lists and our use of a clear, large (if necessary), well-spaced and sometimes emboldened font assist in helping to make legal documents more dementia friendly.
Active involvement in our new local Dementia Action Alliance Group
A Wills and Estates Solicitor at Thursfields plans to keep in contact with Worcestershire DAA about the new group venture and will attend meetings when the group is set up.
Initially, we plan to discuss the rationale of the DAA with the Wills and Estates team and engage them with the DAA’s plan to deliver better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers. This will include sending round DAA factsheet(s) to the Wills and Estates staff in order to start to help train them in dementia friendly practices. In due course we will then role out a staff engagement plan to the receptionists and other members of staff.