SFE’s new media campaign 

With dementia overtaking heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales, SFE finds that the UK is heading for an incapacity crisis due to the low uptake of health and welfare LPAs. Our research shows that public awareness of health and welfare LPAs is low, with many consumers believing their next of kin has the understanding and legal authority to make health and welfare decisions on their behalf.

We partnered with independent think tank, Centre for Future Studies, to create a report which revealed the UK is leaving medical and care preferences to chance. The report was the basis of our news story in which we put a figure on the number of people in the UK predicted to lack the capacity to make their own decisions by 2025.

The report highlights the ‘incapacity crisis’ and the issues stemming from it, as well as the reasons to think about personal medical and care preferences, talk about them and write down with the help of a specialist expert.

We also received the support from seven leading organisations including Alzheimer’s Society, Dying Matters, Anchor, SOLLA and Age UK. SFE’s whitepaper was also endorsed by Professor Ilora, the Baroness, Finlay.

SFE’s whitepaper in the media

In addition to the regional toolkits our FAMs received, we distributed the report to a variety of national and trade outlets. Overall, we have appeared in more than 26 online and print publications, including The Times, The Sun, Daily Express, Law Society Gazette and Moneywise.

Our Director, Michael Culver, also spoke on BBC Radio 4’s ‘You & Yours’ last week to discuss the topic in more detail.

You can view the report and its media summary at https://sfe.legal/the-incapacity-crisis-a-nation-unprepared/

(This page is available to the public.)

Regional press coverage is also coming in thick and fast. We are updating the website with the coverage. This will be able in the members area of the SFE website, under regional news and PR.

Karon Walton, Chief Legal Officer for SFE, gives her view of the SFE National Conference 2018

On Thursday 21st June 2018 SFE held its national conference at the British Library and our topic this year was digital deaths and cyber security.

The day started with registration and networking for the delegates and gave everyone an opportunity to catch up with old and new faces.  It was amazing to see that we had the largest delegate attendees since SFE started its conferences over 19 years ago.

The conference was opened by the Chair of SFE David Sinclair.  This was his first year chairing the conference since becoming Chair in 2017, following the departure of Justine Clowes.  David thanked everyone for attending and gave a quick update as to how SFE was evolving over the last 12 months.

First up after David was Ian Bond who is the Head of trust and estates at Talbots and gave an interesting and topical presentation as to digital assets, what happens to these assets on death and what executors and practitioners need to consider regarding digital currencies, online banking accounts and social media accounts.  Ian certainly gave the delegates much to think about in respect of how we and our clients may be managing our finances in the future and the change and development in the digital world.

After coffee Professor Lesley King, who is well known to the SFE delegation, presented her first slot of the day and gave an update on private client law.  As always Lesley gave us an interesting and in depth update as to current developments.

Alan Eccles, The Public Guardian gave an update as to how things were evolving within the OPG and gave statics as to the continuing growth of applications for LPA’s, he also reported a growth in deputyship management and safeguarding issues.  He announced the start of the mediation pilot to start shortly and implementation of the deputyship reporting tool soon to be launched for professional deputies.

Lunch provided delegates with the opportunity to network and see our sponsors and exhibitors who this year were Clarion Solicitors, Finders International, Smith & Williamson, Today’s Wills and Probate/Solve Legal Marketing and Intaforensics Ltd.

Professor Lesley King gave her second talk of the day on the complex issue of Residence Nil Rate Band and was able to keep the interest up within the room even though she had the slot after lunch.  We are all grateful to Lesley to be able to cut through the issues in the area and give us a clear and pragmatic approach in dealing with this law.

Straight after Lesley, we had our keynote speaker the new Senior Judge Hilder who updated us as to her role within the Court of Protection and how things are growing and developing within the court.  She stated that applications continue to increase and that all the regional hubs will be fully optional by July to be able to receive applications for welfare determinations without the need to submit them to First Avenue first.

After Tea and the last slot of the day was taken by Intaforensics Ltd with Damian Walton and his team providing the delegates with an update as to cybercrime and the trends facing business and individuals; and the types of scams and attacks that can occur.  They ended their session by demonstrating a live hack into a computer and how a hacker can take control of the computer and enter files.  It certainly had everyone talking at the end and hopefully has given everyone food for thought, but not scared them too much.

For my perspective, it was a great day and good to catch up with everyone, as far as possible.  Hopefully, next year I will have more time to talk to more people.  I look forward to planning next year’s conference which will be our 20th anniversary of our conferences and I hope with the Board to plan something special – so keep the date in your diary for next year – Thursday 20th June 2019 – see you there!

Review of Action on Elder Abuse Conference June 2018

Karon Walton, Chief Legal Officer for SFE attended the Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) conference on 15th June 2018 at the ORT House in London.

The conference chairman, Dr John Beer, opened proceedings and welcomed delegates to the conference.  He said that he wanted all the delegates to support the AEA’s campaign for Elder Abuse to be made a hate crime and to actively write to their local MP’s if a crime occurred in their areas, which involved an older person.

He asked that everyone sign the AEA petition to make Elder Abuse an aggravated offence   https://www.change.org/p/home-office-make-the-abuse-and-neglect-of-older-people-a-crime

The keynote speaker at the conference was Baroness Sally Greengross, the Chief Executive for the International Longevity Centre – UK. Baroness Greengross stated that there are more older people today who are at risk of becoming victims and that abuse is never acceptable.  She stated that we all have a great capability of influencing policies and we should all support the AEA’s campaign to introduce a new aggravated offence of elder abuse.

She went on to say that there was systematic invisibility and a few reasons for this was that older people are not being represented in domestic abuse services and that the services are not effectively targeted at older victims.  She stated the biggest challenge within elder abuse was faced by minority communities, where culture is a significant determinant in the way in which elder abuse is manifested and perceived.  She stated that 81% of people from black and minority ethnic communities experiencing abuse stated that they could do nothing about it.

She specified that the problems of abuse where hidden in plain sight and that we need to have zero tolerance of all forms of abuse, we must listen and support people, act to alleviate people’s loneliness and isolation, treat each person as an individual and respect people’s right to privacy and ensure people feel able to complain without fear of retribution.

Next, there was talk from Jess Asato, Public Affairs Manger from SafeLives who discussed their research gained from older survivors of domestic abuse.  She stated that older victims take twice as long, in their situations, before they seek help and nearly half of the victims have some form of disability.

She said that older victims are hugely under-represented in domestic services, with the research showing that 80% of older adults are not visible to services and out of those who are, a quarter of them have lived with the abuse for more than 20 years.

She went on to explain some of the reasons why there are barriers to older people seeking support. This included professionals who lack the training for older people in domestic abuse situations, medical professionals and social workers who look at it through the lens of age rather than domestic abuse; living with an abuser for a longer period making it harder to seek help particularly when they are generally dependent on them.

Older victims may have generational attitudes which make it harder for them to recognise abuse and will be less aware of support services which would not have existed when the abuse started.

There appears to a misconception that older people do not suffer domestic abuse.  She said that domestic abuse campaigns do not focus on older people and that any refuges there are, seldom have provision for older victims, particularly those with disability and mobility issues.

Next to speak was Detective Superintendent Jane Corrigan from the Metropolitan Police.  She spoke about the hidden problem of domestic abuse.  She reported that last year there were 1.9 million adults who were victims of domestic abuse, which has the highest rate of repeat victimisation than for any other crime and that it is hugely under reported, particularly with older people.  However, under reported domestic abuse has increased by 92% in those over 65.

She went on to say that the Metropolitan Police Service’s response to domestic abuse has changed dramatically over the last 10 years and continues to change.

In the afternoon there were talks from Hannah Bowes from the University of Durham who spoke about sexual violence and older people.  She presented her data from the first national study examining sexual violence against people age 60 and over.

Cassandra Wiener from the University of Sussex talked about the new legislation of coercive control, what it is and how to identify it.  The legislation is relatively recent, so it is still being tested in the courts especially in part of the offence where “serious effect” can be difficult to evidence, especially if the victim has endured behaviour for a long time and it is harder to show “change” of the victim.

Throughout the day there we various workshops that attendees could attend which included: what is self-neglect; the work of the Silver Project; how the Care Act is working or not working; safeguarding adult reviews and serious case reviews; how the Crown Prosecution Service processes cases; and how Wales is tackling the hidden problem of domestic violence.

(Author: Karon Walton)

New members June 2018

Name  Position Firm Town
Alexa Payet Senior Solicitor Bolt Burdon Solicitors Islington
Anupama Bhatia Solicitor Hill & Abbott Chelmsford
Charles Neal Partner Bell & Buxton Solicitors Sheffield
Christopher Taylor Solicitor KBL Solicitors LLP Bolton
Douglas Houghton Associate Solicitor Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP Birmingham
Emma Bateman Graduate Legal Executive Melkerts Solicitors Lutterworth
Emma Bryson Solicitor Bolt Burdon Solicitors London
Emma Davies Solicitor Masefield Solicitors LLP Ledbury
Emma Green Solicitor KBL Solicitors LLP Bolton
Fiona Prince Associate Hunt & Coombs Solicitors St Neots
Helen Beach Associate Solicitor Bolt Burdon Solicitors Islington
Jennifer Koch Solicitor IBB Solicitors Chesham
Katie Winslow Solicitor Bell & Buxton Solicitors Sheffield
Maria Lonergan Solicitor and Private Client Partner KBL Solicitors LLP Bolton
Sarah Brack Associate Shakespeare Martineau LLP Leicester
Suzanne Knowles Trust and Probate Executive Ashfords Exeter
Suzanne Preston Chartered Legal Executive FBC Manby Bowdler Solicitors Shrewsbury
Student Member
Jessica Riseborough Trainee Legal Executive Sussex Law Ltd Brighton

Free seminar on financial abuse with Wedlake Bell and 5 Stone Buildings

Date: Tuesday 17 July 2018

Time: 3.00pm – 6.00pm

Venue: Wedlake Bell LLP – 71 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4AY

The seminar will cover:

  • Whether appointing a property and affairs deputy is preferable to executing a lasting power of attorney to safeguard against financial abuse
  • Criminal investigations and prosecution of financial abuse
  • The impact of family dynamics on the care of elderly and vulnerable clients.
  • The ways to identify these dynamics and possible abuse within the family system towards the client–and what can be done to address these concerns.
  • Practicalities of introducing a security bond scheme for attorneys

At the end of the session, you will have an opportunity to ask your questions to the speakers.


  • Ann Stanyer, Partner, Wedlake Bell
  • Barbara Rich, Junior Barrister, 5 Stone Building
  • Andrew O’Keeffe, Partner, Wedlake Bell
  • Jordan Holland, Junior Counsel, 5 Stone Building
  • Kathleen O’Hara, MA PLC Psychotherapist
  • Andrew Brown, Specialist Crime & Operations, Metropolitan Police

To book your place: email Ann Stanyer – astanyer@wedlakebell.com

The Legal Week Innovation 2018 Awards

We’ve got some great news – We won! The Legal Week Innovation 2018 Awards in the category of PR, Communications and Brand Awareness Innovation

We won for our campaign ‘Fight for Fairer Probate’.