Interview with Jacqueline Almond
In this edition we talk to Jacqueline Almond, Head of the Wills, Trusts and Probate team at IBB about the things that we all should know in order to protect our loved ones and minimise financial worries in the future.
- Tell me a bit about the Private Client Team. Are there any interesting facts about the team?
We are one of the largest private client teams outside of London. There are 26 in the team and we really support people joining the legal profession whichever route they choose; we have two trainee solicitors and two members of the team who are working to qualify as legal executives. Several of the team have taken further qualifications within this area of law to enhance their expertise; these include the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Solicitors for the Elderly, professional panel deputies amongst others. We are ranked as a leading firm for Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate and Private Wealth Law by the two leading legal directories (Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners respectively) *. We are based in both our Chesham and Uxbridge offices which means that we can support clients across the firm.
* Editor’s note: Jacqueline is also ranked as a Leading Individual in her field by both directories.
- What are your top tips for people, to ensure that their affairs are in order and their loved ones are protected?
It’s simple really. An up to date Will and, arguably more important, having powers of attorney in place. I can’t emphasise enough how important Lasting Powers of Attorney are to ensure that if you lose capacity to act, the people that you trust are able to make decisions for you. This includes being able to access your bank account to ensure that bills can be paid, but also being able to make important welfare decisions about where you are cared for. If you lose capacity and don’t have powers of attorney in place, your family will probably have to apply to court in order to be able to make decisions for you. That is an extra stress on top of caring for you.
- Some of our readers may have received a letter from IBB recently reminding them of the importance of updating their Wills – why has IBB decided to do this?
It is very easy to think that once you have made your Will you don’t need to think about it again. Whilst we try to plan for most eventualities, changes in the law or changes in your own personal circumstances may mean that your Will is no longer fit for purpose. This is a reminder to our clients to have a look at their Will and see if any changes are needed. For most people, it won’t be necessary to make changes, but we do recommend that you review your will every three to five years just to make sure it still does what you want it to.
- What are the things that people worry about most?
This varies for everyone, but the cost of long-term care is a significant concern. The fees in a care home can easily amount to £50,000 a year or more and many people do not have pensions or other income which will cover this. Therefore, your capital is going to reduce if you need such care. If you think about this in advance, there are some provisions we can include in your Will which can help to protect some of your capital. My colleagues in IBB Wealth may also be able to help you with options to protect some of your assets.
- What is the best thing about heading up the Private Client team at IBB?
I have a fantastic team at IBB. I am very lucky that many of the team have been with us for several years and some have developed their own areas of expertise such as trusts and Court of Protection to name only two. Team members look out for each other which makes my role very much easier.