Graysons has offered specialist advice to elderly and vulnerable clients for many years, with a team of experts who can help navigate the complexities of matters such as powers of attorney, wills, estate planning and care planning. The government has deemed that this assistance is so important, it has designated private client lawyers as key workers and we are able to continue to provide a full service to such clients.
Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE)
We know that these clients and their families need the peace of mind that their matter is handled by advisors who are not only qualified but have empathy and an understanding of their specific mental and physical needs. Members of the group, Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), whose primary concern is the safeguarding of older and vulnerable clients, offer exactly that. Graysons’ senior private client advisor, Laura Cowan, is one of only four members of SFE in Sheffield. She is specifically trained in dealing with, and has extra understanding of, issues that relate to the elderly, such as how best to look after their money.
Empathetic approach to elderly clients
Her empathetic approach means that she takes time when dealing with elderly clients, making sure they are not rushed and that her advice is clearly understood. Whilst she can deal with matters by telephone or video link – often with the help of staff in care homes – she also understands that some elderly clients are uncomfortable with the technology and prefer the face to face meeting. She can see clients in our COVID compliant offices and offers home, hospital and care home (where allowed) visits, with no extra charge. Indeed, Laura was able to see clients on their own front doorstep and in their gardens during lockdown and arranged for witnesses that were either in her own social bubble or another member of staff that could socially distance when witnesses were required.
As a member of SFE, Laura is part of a close-knit group who share ideas and experience and knowledge. This has been particularly useful during the COVID pandemic and has helped to ensure that what she does, and how she does it, is adapted to make sure that everyone is safe and comfortable.
Dementia Friend Champion
Laura, like several of Graysons staff, is also a Dementia Friend (people who learn about dementia so they can help others in the community). She is also a Dementia Friends Champion, actively encouraging others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. This and her SFE membership puts Laura in the ideal position to offer a full service to elderly and vulnerable clients, including drafting wills and powers of attorney, carrying out Court of Protection work, such as applying for someone to become a deputy for a person who has lost mental capacity and does not have a power of attorney, and guiding those deputies or already appointed attorneys in their duties. Laura says:
“The coronavirus crisis has resulted in a difficult time for many people, especially those who are isolated. Working in an area of law where our priority is to protect our clients, many of whom are elderly vulnerable, has led to real challenges, particularly during full lockdown. The co-operation shown by the sector and support of SFE has allowed us to navigate these difficult and trying times and continue to provide our clients with the service on which we pride ourselves.”
Read the SFE’s report ‘SFE members working in the new normal‘.