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Is it enough to have ‘next of kin’?

Posted on 12 March 2020 by Catherine Murton

Is it enough to have ‘next of kin’?

Is it enough to have ‘next of kin’?

As a solicitor I am often faced with people’s mistrust of the legal profession. There is still a stereotypical view of a solicitor as a pompous man, who will talk legal jargon and charge for every second of the time spent baffling his poor client!

However, this really doesn’t reflect the modern legal profession. All of the solicitors in my Private Client Team at Pardoes are approachable and down to earth. They are knowledgeable (as you should expect) but they are able to explain complicated issues in plain English and will always make sure that they spend the necessary time with their clients to allow plenty of questions. An estimate of the cost of the work needed is provided at the first meeting, with most things being a fixed fee. There is no charge for the initial meeting if you don’t wish to proceed. We offer free home visits for those that are not able to attend our offices.

Just as the legal profession has evolved, there have been many changes in society that have impacted on how we do things. A good example of this is the term ‘next of kin’. My team and I are often told by clients that they do not require us to prepare Power of Attorney for them as their ‘next of kin’ will be able to deal with things on their behalf.

I am sure that this was once true. Families tended to be simple nuclear families, the Bank Manager knew all of the customers personally and it was unheard of to sue the NHS. Times have certainly changed! Financial institutions, insurance companies, utility providers, social services, hospitals and GPs will refuse to speak to a third party unless they have been legally appointed to act.

Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to name attorneys that you would like to deal with your financial matters or to speak on your behalf in respect of health issues if you are unable to do so for yourself. ‘Next of kin’ may be appointed but friends or professionals may be more appropriate in some cases.

So if you have always assumed that your ‘next of kin’ would be able to look after you if you become unable to do so yourself please do give me a call on 01935 382689 or email on catherine.murton@pardoes.co.uk to discuss how to make this a legal right!

Posted in: Court of Protection & Powers of Attorney