Posted: Friday, 14 April 2023 @ 11:24
The consultant Nurse, expert witness and accredited mediator Sue Bayram has done a review of my book on elderly law for the Academy of Experts journal, The Expert & Dispute Resolver which appears below and is published with permission by the Academy of Experts.
"As an Independent Nurse Consultant working mainly within the
field of the elderly, and also as a Civil and Commercial Mediator, I was very
pleased to be asked to review this book and I wasn’t disappointed by the
This short book is very simply laid out with many easy
references should you wish to find out more information about the topics mentioned.
There are ten chapters covering various aspects of the law in relation to wills
and inheritance, the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and eventually concluding with a
useful section on how mediation or other forms of early dispute resolution can
be best used to resolve many of the issues raised in the book rather than
resorting to the legal process in one or more forms.
As someone who works mainly in the field of elderly care, I
am often asked about the topics covered
in this book and I always recommend that legal advice is taken from a lawyer or
company that specialises in the writing of Wills , or at the very least, advice
from one of the many support groups such as Age UK.
I now feel that I could recommend this book as it is written
in such a way that a lay person can understand, with enough detail and relevant
references to access for more details to also be useful to someone who needs to
know the details of this area of the law in a professional capacity where the
topics covered are not their main ‘day job’.
Chapter One deals with Will validity, with Chapter Two going
on to cover inheritance claims. Both of these chapters would be useful
information for anyone who was considering making a will, or to families who
are thinking of challenging a Will.
Chapters Three and Four deal with the role of the Executors
including the removal of an Executor if there are found to be issues. The
chapters outline the responsibilities of the Executor(s) and also relevant
timelines in which they need to complete their role and responsibilities.
For those who are considering setting up a Trust, Chapter
Five contains useful information about how to do this and what needs to be
considered to ensure that the Trust does not become a burden for those
Of particular interest to me as someone who delivers
training to care providers on the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and the role of a
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), are Chapters Six, Seven and Eight. These
chapters outline very clearly the role of a Lasting Power of Attorney (and the previous
roles that the LPA replaced). The book deals specifically with the role of the
LPA in relation to the management of property and affairs, although it does
mention that there is a LPA for Personal Welfare also. It outlines how the
process for registering a LPA needs to be followed, making the point that the
LPA needs to be registered before it can be ‘in place’ and there may be
restrictions about what the LPA can and can’t do.
The chapter also explains that any decisions made have to be
in the best interests of the person it affects and not a decision made by the
LPA alone.It would be useful for more detail to be included around ‘Best of
Interest Meetings’ where the various relevant parties are consulted before a
decision is made in the person’s best interests. From my own perspective I come
across issues in a care home where (to use a simple example), a resident would
benefit from being provided with a specific item such as a larger television
that would improve the quality of their life due to their failing vision but
the person who holds the LPA does not feel that it is necessary and withholds
the money. By refusing to purchase the larger television, the LPA is not acting
in the person’s best interests and therefore, this could mean that there is a
safeguarding concern that needs to be raised with the Local Authority. Care
staff and LPA’s need to be aware that a LPA can be challenged if it is felt
that decisions are not being made in the person’s best interests.
The book also covers the role of the ‘Court of Protection’
should there be any concerns over the person holding the LPA or any decisions
they may make, or there is no one available to be a LPA.
Chapter Eight covers the opportunities for mismanagement in
relation to LPA’s, Wills and Probate Fraud. Whilst there is a need for someone
to take responsibility in cases where a person no longer has capacity to manage
their own finances and/or their health and welfare, the chapter discusses the issues
that might arise through mismanagement by the LPA.
Chapters Nine and Ten cover the use of mediation in
resolving the issues that are outlined in the previous chapters along with
general advice and information about the mediation process and how it can be
applied in other circumstances. As a Civil and Commercial Mediator I found the
content helpful with some great reminders about what needs to be considered
when approached about acting as a mediator on the topics covered in the book.
Apart from the mediation process, it covers details about
how to ensure that the mediation has the best starting chance such as the
choice of venue, length of time to be set aside and the use of ‘virtual’
mediations such as by Zoom and MS Teams meetings. The chapter is laid out in a
very useful format also covering examples when mediation may not be the best
choice and why.
The detail covered in the chapter makes suitable reading for
both lay people and the legal profession who have little or no knowledge of the
mediation process and would certainly make good reading for mediators who find
themselves mediating on such topics, especially if they are at the start of
their mediation career.
I found the book to be informative and easy to read. So much
so that I have purchased my own copy and I am sure that I will refer to it
often in the future, both in the course of my work as a Nurse Consultant and
also as a Civil and Commercial Mediator. Especially when deciding whether or
not to act as a mediator when approached on a dispute relevant to a topic
covered in this book using the guidance provided about what types of such
disputes are and aren’t appropriate for mediation."
The book is available on Amazon and on the Law Brief Publishing website.