Solicitor reprimanded for email calling opponent a ‘plonker’ | News | Law Society Gazette

Solicitor reprimanded for email calling opponent a ‘plonker’ | News | Law Society Gazette

I know, but shall not name, at least two lawyers who might want to take note – plonker is unacceptable when referring to your opposite number, C*** definitely not so, and referring to his clients as Tweedledum and Tweedledee is asking for trouble.

There’s a massive code for the little scraps that I’ve read and heard…  meaning that words like “I am absolutely outraged” or “I vehemently disagree” or “with all possible respect” or “quite honestly…..” are quite clear that the person in front of the keyboard is hopping mad, swearing and thinks that the other is a plonker or worse.  We have code words.  We are professionals.  Never do we refer to clients or opponents as , stupid, ignorant or belligerent.  Instead, they are unsophisticated and challenging, very much salt of the earth and uncomplex. Because we take pride in our facility with words, we do not resort to acronyms for our comments, as doctors do (“NFN” anyone?) or the military (“SNAFU”) or internet acroynms (AFAIK, IIRC, LOL, ROFLMAO) – although it’s fair to say that perhaps we don’t use internet acronyms because we have barely mastered emoticons…

We’re not humans, we’re lawyers.  Clients are humans, we are professionals.  Let’s try not to let the side down.

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Regulate the Probate Services Industry | Campaigns by You

Regulate the Probate Services Industry | Campaigns by You.

 
A petition to call on all probate service providers to be regulated in some way.

Because not all people who provide legal advice are regulated.  This means they may or may not be qualified to give legal advice.  They may or may not carry insurance.  They may or may not sign up to any standards of professional behaviour.

Because this is a time when families are vulnerable and where financial details are being exchanged, and the public needs to have some certainty that they can trust their advisers to do a proper job (and if they do not, there will be compensation) to not sell on their details, to administer the estate as efficiently as possible, whilst taking a reasonable amount of care.

Vulnerable people should be treated with respect, and not merely fodder for the mincing machine.  They need to be protected, because of their vulnerability at a sensitive time.

An unregulated business has no interest in anything but their profit, and remaining within the confines of the law. Whilst an unregulated business may choose to ascribe to a code of ethics, if that is not regulated, then how can it be enforced?  There is no obligation on such a company to even profess such concepts.

Open Letter to anyone who made a Will with HSBC and appointed them as Executors

Open Letter to anyone who made a Will with HSBC and appointed them as Executors.

 

It’s a good letter:  I’m not sure whether whoever reads it realises that it is carefully written and may have taken a good few hours to check and double check, particularly when it refers to the organisation(s) to whom the wills have been sold.  Just as “concerned” means “angry”  and “precise” means”nitpicking in the extreme” in legal terminology, the swathes of what is not said about Simplify and its associated companies speak volumes.

It might seem odd that your executors can sell on the rights to deal with your assets, as the bank have done here.  But this sort of thing has happened, by and large, for professional executors over the years, albeit perhaps not so obviously.  Law firms never die, they just get taken over…  successor firms can prove the wills of the prior firm if the will was drafted that way.  Or encourage the clients to make a codicil (and in doing so, both correct any massive errors in initial drafting and/or update terms).  It is no mistake that the wills stored by a firm are called a “will bank”.  Usually, however, with a whole firm takeover, the wills and live files, the contacts and reputation are all bound up together and described as “good will” valued for a greater or lesser amount than the desks, carpets and computers.  Slightly less clear that your will can be seen as a commodity in itself, for sale to another organisation for a price, whilst still being your own property as a client.

 

Who you choose to be your executors is a personal choice – you might prefer a professional executor because your family do not get on well with each other – or you think that it is too much of a burden for friends to bear.  That’s quite alright for you to make this choice – but as this letter rightly points out – the terms on which you appoint a professional do need to be made clear to you – they will charge for their work – and how they do this should be something you feel comfortable with – these are your assets, after all.

Some professionals are bound by professional codes in their conduct towards the public – solicitors are – you can make complaints to the SRA if you feel you have not been treated in a fair way.  Accountants have a professional body too – it is fair to say that complaints to a professional body can be incredibly damaging to the firm, and so a reasonable amount of time is spent in trying to do the right thing and not get complaints in the first place.

If you are to choose a professional, then it’s a good idea to see what institution regulates them – who is the person that they have to answer to when you are no longer alive to express your concerns – who can your beneficiaries turn to when they think they are being overcharged, or waiting for ages – is there anything or anyone to protect them?

 

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (Consequential and Contrary Provisions and Scotland) and Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 (Consequential Provisions) Order 2014

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (Consequential and Contrary Provisions and Scotland) and Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 (Consequential Provisions) Order 2014.

 

In answer to a question today about whether a couple that are civil partners today, and planning to convert to marriage need to change their wills:  the effect of the subsequent marriage does not cause revocation (as it did before December 2014).

H, Re [2015] EWCOP 52 (05 August 2015)

Absolutely fascinating and relevant for parents of autistic (and other children with mental disabilities), particularly those whose impairments are severe.  Enabling the appointment of successive deputies is a very tricky issue, both legally, practically and also from the point of view that the disabled person should not be considered as a minor child requiring a guardian, nor as a chattel or other asset to be disposed of under a testamentary disposition.

I would so like to meet Master Lush.  He seems to have addressed the issues with tact, discretion and lucidity.  His economy of style is, as always, pleasing.

 

Decision

Although the disadvantages slightly outnumber the advantages, I propose to allow the appointment of successive deputies in this case.

The factor of magnetic importance is that the appointment of successive deputies will give H’s parents peace of mind. It means that they can sleep soundly at night, knowing that they have put their affairs in order. For the last twenty-six years, their lives, their needs and their rights have been completely subordinated to H’s and, when say they that the appointment of successive deputies would be in her best interests, I believe them. Moreover, they still insist that it would be in her best interests, even though they are now fully aware of the problems associated with an appointment of this kind.

In paragraph 8.43 of its report on Mental Incapacity, the Law Commission noted that “many elderly carers of young disabled persons experience great anxiety about what will become of the younger person when they, the carers, have gone.” If an order appointing successive deputies will relieve H’s parents of that anguish, then these proceedings will have been worthwhile.

Putting their affairs in order sounds like making a will. In paragraph 6.21 of its Consultation Paper No 128, the Law Commission observed that some parents attempt to provide a continuing framework of care and supervision for their mentally incapacitated child by means of a testamentary appointment, and went on to say: “We have proposed that the judicial authority have power to appoint successive managers, and think it better in principle to deal with this situation in that way.” Although the Code of Practice contemplates a scenario in which the succession is likely to take place imminently or in the reasonably foreseeable future, it is clear that the circumstances of people like H and her parents were one of the prime considerations that prompted Parliament to enact section 19(5) of the MCA in the first place.

It is suggested that, by appointing them now, the successor deputies will feel a stronger sense of responsibility and commitment towards H. I believe this, too. Their role is not unlike that of godparents. They are individuals who have been selected by the parents to take an interest in their daughter’s upbringing and development and to take care of her when her they are no longer around. English ecclesiastical law anticipates that godparents “shall be persons who will faithfully fulfil their responsibilities” (Canon B23.2). I hope that H’s successor deputies will faithfully fulfil their responsibilities when the time comes for them to take over from her parents, whenever that may be.

via H, Re [2015] EWCOP 52 (05 August 2015).