Vicky Austin and Fiona Ashmead offer advice on Lasting Power of Attorneys

A Lasting Power of Attorney is often referred to as an LPA. It’s a document that you register with the court and it allows you to appoint somebody else, importantly somebody that you trust, to manage your affairs for you.

There are two kinds, one is for property and finance and one is for health and

Once you’ve decided that you want to make a Lasting Power of Attorney it is best to consult a solicitor.

We can offer you advice on your finances, complex family arrangements and we can make sure that they are done professionally.

We are highly trained, we are regulated and we are backed by indemnity insurance.

It is very simple to download a form and fill in the wrong box with catastrophic results. That’s why we suggest that you come to us, we will offer you an hour appointment, or we can come and see you at home on a home visit if that would make you feel more comfortable.

We suggest that you do a Lasting Power of Attorney as soon as possible, you need to fully understand the implications of what it is that you’re doing and you need to have your full mental capacity.

It is perhaps most important if you’re becoming elderly, but equally an accident can happen at any time, so we do always suggest that you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.

The problem is that we are an ageing population and this brings with it increasing vulnerability as we get older.

Recent statistics show that 13% of the population live alone. Out of that figure
59 percent are aged 85 and over, 54 percent own their own home and there are more women than men living alone.

Having a financial Lasting Power of Attorney could be one of the most important documents you ever make as it could protect you from financial abuse.

Financial abuse takes lots of forms, it could be rogue builders wanting to do unnecessary refurbishment to your house or it could include such extremes as sham marriages.

Under a property and financial lasting power of attorney your attorney can act as if they were you.

Whilst you still have your capacity they must consult you, if you don’t have your capacity they can make decisions themselves provided it’s in your best interest. They can operate your bank account they can manage all your financial affairs such as paying utility bills and care fees, they can even sell your house if it’s necessary.

A Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare can only be used once you’ve lost mental capacity. It will allow your attorney to grant or consent to medical treatment, ask for medical records and make sure that you have everything for a comfortable life.

Christmas Closing

Miller Sands will close for Christmas at 12.30pm on 21 December 2018. We will reopen at 8.30am on 2 January 2019. All the staff wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

A few key facts to help understand Probate

Confused about Probate?

We are always on hand to offer advice in a simple, easy to understand, way.

The following are a few key facts to understand about Probate:

What is Probate?

A Grant of Probate is the document the Court issues after someone dies. It allows the executors to administer the estate and deal with all the money and possessions.

How long will probate take?

This depends on the circumstances, but on average it takes about 6 months to obtain a Grant of Probate. The estate can then be administered, which might involve selling a property and closing bank accounts. The time it takes to administer an estate will depend on the assets, the Will and the circumstances.

Are all assets included in probate?

No, not all assets need Probate. Those not included are:

  • Certain Jointly Held Assets
  • Low Value Assets
  • Policies Where There is a Nomination

Assets where Probate is required will usually include the following:

  • Assets Held in the Deceased’s Sole Name
  • Investment Products
  • High value bank accounts
  • Certain property
  • Business Assets

Is there anything else I should be aware of?

There are a lot of things that can be overlooked when dealing with someone’s affairs after death. For example, income tax and capital gains tax can still be payable after death and even with quite small and straightforward estates. You should also be aware of how inheritance tax works. As an executor you have a personal liability to administer the estate correctly. It can be easy to make a mistake without even realising.

Solicitors are highly regulated. We must act in your best interests and we strive to give the best possible advice to you. We are also insured, so that you are covered should something go wrong with the Will or the estate administration.

We suggest it is always a good idea to have an up-to-date Will with a solicitor and to take advice from a solicitor when someone in the family, or a friend you are executor for, dies. It will cost money in legal fees, but it could save considerable heartache and enormous expense in the long-term.

If you want to find out more about any of the above, please contact us on 01223 202345 or click the link to email Annette our Private Client secretary directly.



Vicky Austin, Solicitor – Private Client, supporting Arthur Rank Hospice and offering advice on the importance of writing a Will.

Our private client solicitor, Vicky Austin is here supporting Arthur Rank Hospice, Cambridge, by offering advice on the importance of writing a Will.

If you die without a will then the law steps in and dictates where your assets go. If you do have a will then you can decide where your assets go.

It can make life very difficult for the people that you leave behind if you don’t have a will.

If for instance you die when you’re married and you don’t have any children then all your assets have passed to your spouse.

If you died when you’re not married, then none of your assets would pass to your unmarried partner.

If you’ve got children under 18 and both their parents died before they reach 18 the Guardian named in the Will, will have parental responsibility for those children.

My advice is to do it whilst you can whilst you’re fit and healthy and know exactly what you want.

We have been really pleased to support Arthur Rank Hospice with #MakeaWillMonth

The response has been overwhelming and we have filled all our available slots, so unfortunately we cannot take any more on behalf of Arthur Rank Hospice. However this does also mean that we have been able to raise some valuable funds for this very worthy charity.

If you are still considering whether to write a Will here’s 5 more reasons why writing your Will  is so important.

WIN £50 John Lewis Vouchers

Enter our photo competition to be in with a chance to WIN £50 John Lewis vouchers!

We are decorating our reception area and we’d like to add something personal to the space.

We hope to show off our beautiful city and the surrounding areas and also celebrate our clients and the local community.

The rules are simple:

  • Take photo of anywhere or anything that relates to Cambridge and the surrounding area
  • Enter your photo by posting your pics on our Facebook page
  • Like our page, to make sure you hear the results when the winner is announced.
  • The winner will receive £50 in John Lewis vouchers

The competition closes on Friday 30th November when the partners will choose their favourite photograph, which will be printed and displayed on our reception wall.

Don’t forget to share and tag your friends and family

Good Luck!


Wine Tasting & Property Evening

We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting a wine tasting evening on 13th September 5.30-7pm at our offices in Histon, thanks to sponsors Geodesys

All are welcome – professionals, groups, individuals.

The evening is FREE of charge and will be a great opportunity to meet the team as well as gaining insights into the property market, along with some of the best wine!

As always we wanted to support our charity of choice,
Arthur Rank Hospice, so any voluntary donations will go directly to them.

Please invite your friends and family and we look forward to seeing you on the night!


The Supreme Courts recent ruling on end-of-life decisions

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Courts do not need to be involved in cases of continuing care for those in a persistent vegetative state.

In recent years, if doctors have felt it was time to withdraw food and liquid from someone in a persistent vegetative state, they have applied to the Court or Protection. However, it has now been made clear by the Supreme Court, the country’s highest Court, that this application is not necessary if the family and doctors are all in agreement.

The ruling was given by Lady Black, with the four other sitting judges all concurring without comment. It was noted that there is nothing in English law or in the European Convention of Human Rights that dictates that a judge must be involved when deciding to withdraw food or liquid from someone in a persistent vegetative state.

The matter had reached the Supreme Court following the illness and later death of a banker in his fifties, who had been unresponsive for some time after a heart attack. His family and the hospital agreed to withdraw support, but the Official Solicitor, acting on behalf of the patient, challenged the ruling given by the High Court, that the Court need not be involved.

Much of the media has reported on the issue and there has been comment on both sides. Natalie Koussa a director from Compassion in Dying was quoted by the BBC as saying:

“[The Supreme Court ruling] brings much needed clarity to doctors and loved ones […it] also recognises the fact that sometimes, sadly, it is in someone’s best interests to withdraw treatment.”

On the other side, Dr Peter Saunders, director of anti-assisted dying group Care Not Killing said, in The Guardian:

“[I am] concerned and disappointed by the Supreme Court ruling [… patients are] effectively going to be starved and dehydrated to death”.

It is inevitable that people will feel strongly about this issue. However, it is worth remembering that if the patient in this case had recorded his wishes or appointed someone to act as an attorney for him, who had known his wishes, there would have been no need to involve the law.

Article written by Vicky Austin, 7th August 2018




Supreme Court

The Guardian



Gurpal Singh offers advice on the importance of having your documents in order.

If your business offers goods and services, not just to the public as in the consumer, but also to other businesses, there’s every chance that you’ll need the drafting of documents to ensure that you’re compliant with your legal and regulatory obligations.

So, for example, most businesses will have to ensure that they’ve got terms and conditions of business, which set out and define the scope nature and extent of what they will carry out for the client.

So for example as a solicitor we will define exactly what work we will do on what basis and for what costs.

Having a terms and conditions can make your life easier and as a lawyer I can assist in the drafting and preparation of terms and conditions.

One of the other documents you might need a solicitor to prepare is an employment contract.

This defines the scope and nature of your obligations to your employer and also deals with your obligations under the law.

Having an employment contract is also very important because it ensures it sets out the relationship between employer and employee, as well as complying with the legal obligations an employer has.

Your business might employ consultants who are deemed to be self-employed and if that is the case then it’s important that you have in place either a service agreement or some form of other agreement, which sets out the relationship between you as the employer and them as a consultant.

A real-life example is that if you have their consultancy agreement one of your consultants could quite easily access your database, take a client list and use that for him or herself. Or worryingly effect the business and its profitability.

I would also recommend that if you didn’t have a consultancy agreement you think very hard about how you protect your information.

So having a consultancy agreement, which perhaps has a data protection clause or some sort of confidentiality or restrictive clause, will help you protect your business.

If you don’t have that then you leave yourself open to that type of exploitation.

Are you a business start up? Then take a look at our latest on tips on debt recovery  and defining your risks, to help you set your business up correctly from the start.

Gurpal Singh offers tips on defining your risks

When starting up a business it’s important that you understand your legal and regulatory obligations.

Some of the things which might apply to your business include understanding what the pensions provisions are, whether the national minimum wage applies, and what, if any, Health and Safety Executive legislation you need to be aware of.

It’s important that you deal with each of those aspects because you could be liable both personally for the actions of your business and of course, if you’re a director in a company, you could also have special duties, sometimes called fiduciary duties, which might also apply.

From the outset it’s important that you instruct a solicitor to advise you and assist you in preparing documents.

There’s a raft of obligations upon you and without legal expertise it’s very difficult to understand that.

So it’s important that you do take legal advice from the start and perhaps on an ongoing basis, to ensure that you’re fully compliant with your obligations.

Are you a business start up? Then take a look at our latest tips on debt recovery  to help you get the right approach to cash flow from the start.

Gurpal Singh offers tips on debt recovery

Even before your business is up and running you need to consider properly what sort of procedures you have in place for debt recovery and debt control.

Ultimately a small business will from time to time have cash flow issues. In order to alleviate those issues you need to ensure that your credit control function is working as efficiently as it can.

One of the things I would suggest is that you have a electronic system which generates automatically on a monthly basis. A report which sets out the debt and the credit position of the business and so this will give you a snapshot of exactly where your business is on a month-to-month basis.

It’s very easy to do and there’s software packages out there and available on the internet which could assist you with that.

Alternatively you could also speak to your accountant who might be able to assist with that type of discussion.

As a start-up one of the important things is getting paid. So when you send out your contract with your terms of business you need to make it clear that the terms of business, specify exactly how many days within which you need to be paid. So for example your terms may say thirty, the opponent business or owner might say sixty. So you need to ensure that yours comes to the top of the pile. So if there’s a 30 60 or 90 scenario you’ll get paid first.

One of the ways to ensure that yours comes first is by sending your terms of business and making specific reference and make it clear when you’re going to be paid.

But also there’s no point saying that without the threat of anything else happening, for example debt recovery or issuing a claim in the county court.

From a lawyer’s point of view though, where debt recovery is really best and most effective is that where you’ve got procedures in place already, so you might not need to see me. However it’s a complicated and sometimes long-winded process, so it’s important that you take specialist advice at the right time for your business to ensure that the cash flow isn’t going to become an epidemic and ultimately affect the viability of your business.