writing a will

More People Assigning Lasting Power of Attorneys As Life Expectancies Rise

As average life expectancies rise, a record number of people are choosing to assign friends or family members the status of lasting power of attorney.

According to an article in the Independent, almost 750,000 people are now assigning a lasting power of attorney each year. This number has gone up by 180% over the last five years.
Lasting power of attorneys are people trusted by an individual to have the legal authority to make decisions concerning their money and property if they become mentally incapacitated.

 

What’s causing the rise?

The rise in the number of lasting power of attorneys assigned each year is said to be caused by longer life expectancies.
According to the ONS, the most common cause of death in 2016 was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Because we’re now living longer than ever, we are more likely to live to an age where we may lose the ability to safely look after our finances or make our own major life decisions.
In an aging population, some women from older generations remain inexperienced at looking after their own finances, as they come from an era where this was stereotypically seen to be the husband’s role.
On average women tend to live longer than men, so these women are more frequently choosing to assign a trusted lasting power of attorney to assist with important decisions as they get older.

 

What happens without a lasting power of attorney?

Having a lasting power of attorney can offer you peace of mind that should you lose the capacity to make your own decisions, your affairs will be in the safe hands of someone you trust.
Assigning a power of attorney can also relieve stress from loved ones during what is already a difficult time.

Without a lasting power of attorney, if a person loses the capacity to control their own affairs, you could find that:
• Someone unsuitable may be given control.
• Bank accounts may be frozen.
• Family members may have to go through a long and costly court process.
• Dependents may be declined money.

 

When should a last power of attorney be assigned?

The best time to assign a lasting power of attorney is whilst you still have complete capacity to make your own decisions, as a precaution for the future.
If a last power of attorney is assigned whilst you still have the capacity to make your own decisions, you can specify whether you wish for your representative to start helping you straight away, or if you’d prefer them to only begin making decisions in the instance that you no longer have the capacity to do so yourself.
Your lasting power of attorney will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can begin their duties.

For help and advice relating to power of attorney, get in touch with our solicitors here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors by giving us a call on 0800 002 9577.

Medical Negligence

What is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence occurs when unsatisfactory care is delivered to patients by healthcare professionals and can come in many forms, including misdiagnosis, surgical errors and poor-quality treatment. It can cause injuries that wouldn’t have otherwise happened or worsen existing conditions. Sadly, some people have even passed away as a result of medical negligence.

The compensation you deserve

Most of us will go through life without undergoing medical negligence, but if you have suffered as a result of it, it’s advisable to seek out the justice that you deserve rather than simply putting it down to experience. Medical negligence can be incredibly expensive and may cause you to lose earnings or make costly adjustments to your day-to-day life. At Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we have a great deal of experience to draw upon when it comes to dealing with medical negligence cases. We can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve and can provide you with all the advice and support that you need to reach the desired outcome.

Obtaining justice

Whilst compensation can be extremely valuable, it is not the only reason patients who have suffered from medical negligence come to us. Many clients choose us because they want to ensure the same thing will never happen to another patient, or because they wish to see the healthcare providers in question admit they made a mistake. It’s wise to act sooner rather than later if you are interested in obtaining justice, as the statue of limitations states that you normally only have three years to claim after discovering that you have been a victim of negligence. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as if the negligence occurred before your 18th birthday. If the injured person has a mental disability, it may be possible to claim after the initial three-year period. We can advise you if you are not sure of your eligibility.

Get the best outcome

We work hard to ensure you and others understand the full impact of the negligence you have experienced to strengthen the chances of your claim being successful and always take the time to get to know our clients. We have accreditation from the Action of Medical Accidents and have received legal training of the highest standard. All enquiries about making clinical and medical negligence claims are handled free of charge, and we may be able to provide no-win, no-fee legal assistance. If this is not possible, other funding options may be available.

Getting in touch

Talk to us today if you or a loved one have experienced medical negligence and you need a helping hand in receiving justice and compensation. You can reach us today by calling 0800 002 9577 or by using the contact form on our website. There’s no obligation to go ahead if we think you do have a case, though you can expect us to deliver legal support of the highest standard if you do wish to proceed.

medical appointment doctor healthcare

Clinical Negligence: Where Do You Turn?

Suffering illness or injury due to a mistake or error made when receiving medical treatment can be very traumatic.  In such circumstances, individuals need to know where to turn for help getting the closure on the incident that they often so desperately need.

For most of us a trip to the doctor, hospital, optician or dentist will usually go without incident, but on the odd occasion, unacceptable errors are made by healthcare professionals that result in very distressing experiences for the patient.

If you or a loved one have suffered illness or injury due to a mistake or error made when receiving medical treatment you may be able to receive compensation for clinical negligence, whilst this will not make up for the incident it can help with moving forward.

What constitutes clinical negligence?

Clinical negligence can be applied to a variety of different circumstances including being given the wrong medication, mistakes made during medical procedures and errors made during diagnosis.  Medical professionals have a duty of care to their patients and if this duty of care has been breached and resulted in a patient coming to ‘avoidable harm’ a compensation claim may be made.

When to contact a solicitor

For some people, monetary compensation is not the result that they’re seeking.  It’s important to understand that if you turn to a solicitor then their main objective will be to claim compensation for you.

If you’re seeking a different result such as an apology, answers, a change in procedure, or for an individual to be held accountable, then a solicitor may not be the answer for you.  These kinds of outcomes are more likely to be achieved by submitting a complaint to the organisation in question or one of their regulatory bodies.

Am I eligible to claim?

If you think you’ve suffered due to clinical negligence, then it’s wise to seek advice as soon as possible after the incident.  If you’re going down the solicitor route and looking for compensation, then there are certain timescales for making a claim that you should be aware of.  Most claims should be made within 3 years of the incident, however, there are certain exceptions to this rule that your solicitor can advise you on, these include cases involving children aged under 18 and those with mental disabilities.

Choosing a solicitor

When looking for a solicitor to help with your claim it’s important to check that they specialise in medical negligence claims and that they are trusted and reputable professionals.

Here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we are accredited by the Action of Medical Accidents to ensure that we offer our clients the highest level of knowledge and service when dealing with sensitive medical negligence cases.  We are proud to operate professionally and transparently.  Our experience, knowledge and friendly approach are reflected in the online reviews submitted by our happy customers which can be viewed here.

If you feel that you may be eligible for compensation for clinical negligence and would like to speak with one of our friendly experts, please get in touch by calling us on 0800 002 9577.

pension law

How New Pension Laws Will Affect You

It’s rare for a budget to pass without bringing a new raft of changes to the way pensioners can dispose of their money. This is because the treasury is constantly trying to perform a careful balancing act in economically testing times.

A few decades back, the pension-claiming population was dwarfed by the working population, but with children of the post-war baby boom collecting their pensions and those born in a time of lower birth rates contributing the bulk of tax, the population time bomb that’s been muttered about for the last thirty years is beginning to materialise.

What Are the Main Changes in the New Pension Laws?

The biggest headline change in the last couple of years is what the government referred to as ‘pension freedoms’. This affects defined contribution schemes and has advantages and drawbacks for those reaching pension age. Hitherto, your pension pot has always been used to buy an annuity when you reach retirement age. This is where you effectively buy yourself an annual income for the rest of your life. The level of this income is largely dependent on the amount of money you’ve squirrelled away into your pension pot.

Under the new rules, it’s no longer necessary to buy an annuity. Instead of doing this, you’ll be able to draw down your savings. That is, take all, or some of that money out and spend it on something you want. This is great news for anyone with multiple, large, pension pots, but it comes fraught with risk too. Many will be tempted to spend their pension pot in the short term, then struggle on with the state pension for the remainder of their lives.

Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution?

These changes affect those with defined contribution (DC) pension schemes, but there will also be an option for those on defined benefit (DB) schemes to change to DC if their employer allows it. Before doing so, you need to consider whether this is the best thing for you. DB schemes usually come with a measure of inflation proofing and the ability to pass on some of your income to your spouse. They also have advantages if your pension pot is running close to the maximum level.

Passing It On

However, these new rules have major implications for those who wish to pass on their pension pot to their children. Under the new rules, those who die before the age of 75 can pass on the whole of their pension pot tax-free. After 75, they’ll have to pay 45% tax on the pot if they claim it as a lump sum. This is reduced from 55%. Naturally, this will have considerable implications for those making a will or seeking probate.

Where Can I Find Out More?

Naturally, none of this is simple and it’s always good to get legal advice. Come and talk to us at Mark Reynolds Solicitors and we’ll guide you through the implications for your will and probate, as well as other legal implication of the new rules.

employment law

What Does Employment Law Cover?

Employment Law is one of those things you never really think about until it comes time to enact it. As an employee, you trust your company will have upheld their end of the bargain when it comes to conducting fair employment. As the employer, it can often take care of itself when implemented correctly to being with. That being said, it’s important to understand the intricacies of it. Should the time ever come you need to consult it, you have a basic understanding of the parameters. This will ensure that things run as smoothly as possible should difficulties arise.

The first thing to know is that employment law covers a wide range of potential matters. It covers anything and everything to do with employment. For most people, they will only really encounter this at the moment they receive their contract. Other occasions surround a dismissal hearing or over a dispute. Regardless, employment law also enshrines the employee’s rights for the duration of their contract with their employer. It governs aspects of their employment such as health and safety, maternity and paternity leave, and protection against discrimination, amongst other things.

For example, did you know that it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee who is taking time off for maternity leave? This even applies at the pre-employee candidate stage. An employer cannot disregard a potential candidate for the role if she is currently pregnant. Even asking about possible pregnancy plans at the interview is tantamount to discrimination, and could see legal action raised.

Once employees have are fully aware of the employment laws by which they are expected to abide, it is the incumbent upon the employer to provide written evidence of these terms and conditions to the employee. What’s more, should there be any changes in these terms and conditions, it is the employers’ prerogative to make sure all employees are updated in writing, as soon as possible. Should any employer neglect to do this then it can result in complicated legal issues. While you feel it may be unlikely that such changes would have any great impact on the daily working life of your employees, it’s imperative you inform them of any such changes. As employment law also covers things like minimum wage, working hours, paid holiday, and sick pay, notifying employees as soon as possible is vital as such changes could immediately affect their working conditions.

Employment law also oversees any form of discrimination based on a person’s sexuality, marital status, race, ethnicity, age, disability, and beyond. The key here is to guarantee that this information is readily made available to all employees at all levels of any company. Transparency is paramount, and ensuring your company rules are clear, concise, and accessible to all, perhaps even as part of mandatory training programmes, is central to creating and maintaining a harmonious working environment, with easily referable rules should they be required.

Are you currently facing difficulty with an employer? Do you feel you have been unfairly treated or discriminated? Would you like any help and advice with an employment law problem you are facing? Mark Reynolds Solicitors have offices in Liverpool, Leigh, Runcorn & Warrington. Give us a call today to arrange a consultation on 0800 002 9577. Alternatively, click here to reach us through our contact page.

holiday claims

Are You Entitled to a Holiday Accident Claim?

Holidays are supposed to be an enjoyable, relaxing experience, and most are just that. But unfortunately sometimes things go wrong, and injuries or sickness occur that spoil your expensive plans.

However, you may not need insurance to make a claim for sickness or an accident that occurred while on holiday abroad. If you’ve booked your trip as a package holiday, chances are you’ll be covered by the Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations (1992) under UK law. It’s also possible to take out after-the-event legal expense insurance that works on a no-win, no-fee basis.

The main restriction is that the accident or illness must have occurred at your hotel or during an excursion that was part of your package. It also goes without saying that if the accident was your own fault you won’t be able to claim.

If you want to get compensation you need to prove that your holiday organiser or their agents, either direct or indirect such as hotel staff, were in some way negligent.

What You Should Do

You must of course, always report an accident or illness while you’re still on holiday. You can either report it to the holiday rep on the spot or directly to your tour operator by phone. But do keep a record of any medical treatments you receive.

With different medical establishments in different countries, it’s always worth keeping the packaging from your medication, together with any receipts from purchases you’ve made. Keep records of any communications and contact details of those you’ve dealt with, together with photographic evidence of anything that seems pertinent, such as unhygienic practices or damaged paving. Anything that may have had an impact on your condition.

What Can You Claim For?

Under UK Personal Injury law, you have up to three years from the date of the incident to make a claim. However, if you’re not with a UK tour operator this may be limited to just twelve months.

If you’re travelling on an all-inclusive holiday booked through a UK tour operator, you may find you can claim for illnesses such as food poisoning. However, you’ll have to show that the holiday operator failed to take reasonable care, by booking you into a hotel with poor hygiene standards for example. If this is the case, you may be able to claim for loss of earnings, expenses incurred or a ruined holiday as a direct result of what happened.

How Long Does a Holiday Accident Claim Take?

When making a holiday accident claim, it’s good to use a specialist solicitor, such as Mark Reynolds Solicitors, who has a long track record of dealing with claims that arise from accidents and illnesses that occurred on holiday.

If it’s a straightforward case where the other side admits liability, it can take between nine and eighteen months for you to receive compensation. However, it’s customary to give at least six months for those defending to investigate the claim fully. More complex cases can, of course, take much longer.

To discuss a holiday accident claim, contact us today on 0800 002 9577.

unfair dismissal

What Makes a Dismissal Unfair?

Being dismissed is never pleasant. It can be stressful and come as quite a shock. However, not all dismissals are at the fault of the employer, and it is essential to know the difference between being personally being at fault and when not. A dismissal would be fair if:

  • The employee had questionable competency;
  • The employee’s behaviour in the workplace was inappropriate;
  • Their role became economically unavailable; or
  • The employee develops a restriction that prohibits them from carrying out their daily tasks.

Another vital element to a termination being fair is the manner in which it is executed. The employer is obligated to act reasonably and just in the way they present the dismissal.  If this is done so in breach of the contract of employment, for example in the case of an immediate dismissal where the employer is supposed to give notice, that situation is considered wrongful dismissal.

Instances in which termination of employment is unjust is unfair dismissal. This is when a dismissal is a result of an employee exercising their statutory rights.

Some examples include terminations as a result of:

  • Family matters, including pregnancy, paternity and maternity leave;
  • Issues regarding minimum pay or unlawful deductions;
  • Issues related to long working hours or not receiving the minimum level of paid holiday; or
  • The unfair treatment of part-time staff.

Generally speaking, an employee must have worked for a company for two years for unfair dismissal to apply. There are a few exceptions to the rule. For example, should an employee become pregnant at any time, being fired as a result is instantly unfair dismissal; regardless of service length.

Employment law can be arduous and complicated to understand. Our solicitors will always get straight to the heart of the matter and provide professional, practical and down to earth legal advice. We are very client focused and offer a personal approach when dealing with your concerns. Knowing your rights and whether you have been treated fairly needn’t be a challenge. If you are unsure of whether your dismissal was just or not, we can help you. Please get in touch today for a free initial consultation by calling us on 0800 002 9577 or through our contact page by clicking here.

 

 

medical negligence

How to Claim if You Have Experienced Medical Negligence

Sadly, few of us get through our lives without undergoing some form of serious medical treatment. While modern-day healthcare is undertaken to a very high standard, mistakes are occasionally made.

It’s in the nature of the work that when clinical practitioners make mistakes, lives can be lost or damaged. If that’s the case, you may need to claim compensation to cover any losses you incur as a result. You can also take legal action if you’re the next of kin of somebody who’s unable to take action themselves, either because they’ve died or no longer have the capacity.

What Is Medical Negligence?

It’s important to stress that when we undergo medical treatment, we do not have an absolute right to successful treatment. If we don’t recover fully from our treatment, that alone is not grounds for a claim. Clinical negligence is generally defined as a breach of a duty of care when a medical professional fails to act in the manner expected of somebody operating in that field.

Sometimes referred to as medical negligence, it arises only if a clinician has done something they shouldn’t have, usually by oversight, within the normal treatment programme. Likewise, if they omitted to do something that they should have done.

Some examples of medical negligence might include prescribing the wrong or incorrect dosage of a drug, failure to diagnose a condition correctly, or a mistake made during a routine surgical procedure.

What You Can Claim For

When you take action, you can only do so on the grounds of injury or loss caused to yourself, or whomever you’re claiming on behalf of, as a direct result of negligent treatment you or they received. If a mistake was made but that mistake was proved unrelated to the injury you suffered, then you won’t be due any compensation.

However, if the mistake can be shown to have caused you pain or suffering, loss of earnings, or psychological damage as a consequence, then you may have a valid claim. You may also be able to claim for the cost of any ongoing care, equipment, or home adaptations that you require as a result.

How to Claim for Medical Negligence

Any claim must be initiated within three years of the accident occurring, or your first realisation of the injury. Naturally, it makes sense to seek specialist advice at the earliest opportunity. When seeking a solicitor to deal with such a claim, it’s best to go to one that specialises in medical negligence cases, which is where Mark Reynolds Solicitors can help you.

You’ll need to provide as much information as you can relating to your treatment. This should include any dealings you’ve had with any private or NHS complaints procedures, and evidence of any loss of earnings.

It may be that your solicitors advise you that your claim isn’t strong enough to proceed. But if it is, you’ll have to look at available options for funding because legal aid no longer covers clinical negligence cases.

To discuss a possible claim for medical negligence, contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors today.

scam solicitor

How to Identify Scam Solicitors

When you’re dealing with a solicitor, you have to trust them one hundred percent. These are people you’re often sharing very personal information with, people who will be acting on your behalf, and, very often, people who have access to sizable sums of your money. So it’s little wonder there are a few unsavoury characters out there trying to prey on the unsuspecting.

With that in mind, how can you be sure the person you’re dealing with is genuine? How do you spot a bogus or scam solicitor?

Don’t Be Taken In

A scam solicitor is trying to get you to fall for them, so don’t be deceived by the simple fact they have a professional-looking website promoting their services and record. If you really want to be sure, avoid the sales patter and check their credentials. Solicitors go through years of training and there are plenty of registration schemes you can look at.

Check Their SRA Registration

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) maintains a roll of solicitors on which all who currently practise should be registered. You can check this by asking the solicitors for their roll number, otherwise known as an SRA ID. If they’re advertising themselves as a solicitor but they’re not on the roll, then they’re bogus and committing a criminal offence.

Use the Law Society’s Search Facility

The Law Society maintains an online directory of practising solicitors that contains the details of almost all the professionals they regulate. While a few solicitors have asked for their names to be removed and some who are no longer practising remain, it’s otherwise a fairly authoritative guide.

They’ll Check You Too

It’s not all one-way traffic. A genuine solicitor is obliged to check potential customers in a face-to-face meeting, as a means of combatting money laundering. If the solicitor you’re dealing with doesn’t take this step, then you need to be concerned about whether they’re as genuine as they say they are.

Other Classic Scam Signs

These are some of the ways to make sure your solicitor is genuine, but most other ways of spotting a scam remain important. What do you look for in a scam email for instance? Do communications appear unprofessional, suffering from bad grammar and poor spelling? These are classic fraudster trademarks.

Aggressive pursuit of early payment by phone or email is also a tell-tale sign of illegitimacy. Never be pressurised into making an early payment. A legitimate law firm will always follow due process and answer your questions fully.

What Else Can You Do?

If you suspect you may have fallen victim to a fraudulent solicitor, you should report it to the police immediately for full investigation. Get in touch with the SRA and the Law Society as well, and take all reasonable steps to protect yourself and your property. Use the tools above to find a reputable law firm to help you out. Here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we’re registered with all the correct professional bodies and will be happy to help.

writing a will

What You Should Know Before Writing a Will

As a society, we’re often very reluctant to talk about death, but it’s something we must discuss as it comes to us all eventually. Sometimes it comes unexpectedly too, so knowing what’s going to happen to our property and dependants in that event is vital.

For this reason, it’s always advisable to make a will, and ensure your will has been drawn up correctly for it to be legal. There are various tools available to help you draw up your own will, but it’s usually best to involve a solicitor. This is particularly the case if your circumstances are in any way unusual.

Why It’s Important to Have a Will

If you don’t have a will, you’ll be declared to have died intestate. Should this happen, the effect on those you leave behind can be devastating.

In cases where this has happened, there are strict rules that dictate how your money and property are allocated – and this may not be the way you want them to be given out. For example, unmarried partners are not allowed to benefit without a will, which can cause them severe financial hardship. Likewise, children that are not your own won’t be considered, so stepchildren will miss out.

If you have no spouse nor eligible biological descendants, then your estate will go to distant relatives or the state, while much-loved partners, friends, and stepchildren receive nothing.

What a Will Should Say

Your will is made to override the default rules and distribute your property to the people you want to have it. This means you need to decide who you want to benefit from your will. Who gets which possessions, and who should care for any children under 18 years of age. Unfortunately, you also need to consider what happens if those due to benefit die before you or indeed alongside you, for example in a road traffic accident.

You need to appoint executors to your will, i.e. people who you trust to carry out your wishes. It’s a difficult job demanding a great deal of work and responsibility, so you need to name people you trust. Often these will be relatives, and you need at least two. The executors can be among those named in the will, but, if they’re not, they need to be especially trustworthy. You can appoint your solicitor to act as executor.

Lastly, your will needs to be signed and worded properly, and kept in a safe place where it can easily be found.

Getting Advice

For many people, making a will is a straightforward case of leaving everything to a couple of named individuals, but others can be much more complicated. Things to consider that could cause problems include leaving a bequest to a dependant who can’t care for themselves. If you share property with someone to whom you’re not married or you have property overseas, you need to have your will carefully drafted by a solicitor. Likewise if you own a business or have children from a previous marriage.

If you feel it’s time you made a will, get in touch with Mark Reynolds Solicitors and we’ll ensure you get it right.