I’m posting this blog on Sunday as I prepare for the Private Client Section meeting at the Law Society in London tomorrow. Whilst I may moan about working on a Sunday, the meetings, held every two months or so, are very valuable to me and, I hope, to other solicitors.
The committee of 13 or so solicitors volunteer their time to support private client solicitors in what can be a fast changing legal area. The solicitors come from a wide range of firms and locations; I’m pleased to say the North is well represented! It’s great to hear feedback from other solicitors, often having the same problems and challenges as Berwins, from processing delays with the Court of Protection and the tax office, to how to improve service to clients whilst also complying with ever increasing regulation.
There are nationally recognised experts in the committee along with quite junior solicitors. Recent issues discussed at length include: Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), the sudden changes in Stamp Duty Land Tax and the changes to inheritance tax allowances next year relating to residential property. It’s a very common grumble in the group that the government rush changes through without proper consultation (or consultations take place during busy times such as over Christmas periods) and the legal community are left trying to decipher legislation and advise clients with very little warning.
As solicitors advising on Wills, Court of Protection and tax planning it’s quite rare we meet solicitors doing the same work in different firms, these meetings give me the opportunity to see how other firms handle cases and ensure I’m working to the best standards. More importantly it allows me to contribute to improving the services of firms throughout the country who provide advice in these areas. It’s also a great opportunity to establish links with other organisations such as the Financial Services Ombudsman (anybody who’s an attorney may want to check out my blog about them (http://bit.ly/1OgJXVo).
Coming back to the 1986 theme, as some of you may know Capital Transfer Tax morphed into Inheritance Tax in 1986, I imagine there was a lot of grumbling about the government then – it’s good to know some things don’t change…
Written by Gareth Marland of Berwins Solicitors.