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11 June 2021

Carers Week sees Charles Russell Speechlys partner with Martin Searle Solicitors and Frenkel Topping to deliver pro bono “Ask the Experts” legal session for Bromley Mencap

During this year’s Carers Week, Charles Russell Speechlys has partnered with Martin Searle Solicitors and Frenkel Topping to deliver a pro bono “Ask the Experts” legal session for Bromley Mencap - a charity working with disabled people (both learning disabilities and physical disabilities).

The session was designed to better equip the team of Support Workers at Bromley Mencap in addressing frequently asked questions from the parents they support. Issues covered during the session ranged from Lasting Powers of Attorney, Appointees and Deputyship, to the options for passing on any wealth and assets to children, and the process for challenging local authority decisions made in connection with care and services provided for children.

It was a collaborative pro bono initiative, with Katie Talbot, Senior Associate, and Lauren Clarke, Associate, in our Private Client team leading from Charles Russell Speechlys and working alongside Cate Searle (Martin Searle Solicitors) and Lauren Walsh (Frenkel Topping) to ensure a range of expertise. Lauren Clarke, who took the Bromley Mencap staff through Lasting Powers of Attorney noted “Preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a relatively simple process, which will ensure that an individual has someone to act on their behalf if they lack the capacity to make a decision for themselves. Putting an LPA in place will offer families peace of mind and avoid the need for a length and potentially costly Court process, where the Court of Protection (rather than the individual themselves) would otherwise make the decision regarding who is best placed to act on behalf of the individual.” Commenting on the complex tax issues which these parents face, Katie Talbot outlined “The preservation of wealth is particularly important for families wanting to safeguard the continuing financial security of a disabled loved one. There are special tax reliefs available which can help families achieve that objective without undermining eligibility to any state-funded support available. Families should be encouraged to seek appropriate legal and tax advice; the sooner the better.”

After the session, Matt Yule, Adult Support Services Manager at Bromley Mencap, said “A big thanks goes to Sarah Farrelly, Pro Bono Associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, and the panel team today for the ‘Ask the Experts’ training. It was exceptionally informative, covering so many areas and topics which will help us massively to provide an even better service and support to those we assist in Bromley”.  

In the context of the wider Carers Week, Sally Ashford, Partner in our Private Client team, outlined “The theme for this year’s Carers Week was ‘making caring visible and valued’ and we have tried to further demonstrate our support for those of our staff who are carers through the events that we have run which have ranged from informative discussions, to wildlife drawing and well-being sessions. Caring can often be a hidden part of someone’s life and we hope that by talking about it and providing a platform for stories to be shared, we can offer insight in the challenges carers face and enable all our staff to feel supported. Our interest does not stop there however, and we are also delighted that we can use our skills to partner with and provide pro bono assistance to other organisations who provide amazing services. Hopefully together we can make a real difference and that makes us all feel as if we have done a good job!”

To find out more about pro bono work of Charles Russell Speechlys, please contact Sarah Farrelly.

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