Sarah Gill

Why use a legal professional to make an LPA

Why use a legal professional to make an LPA

Using legal professionals such as Cullimore Dutton to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) offers several benefits and can provide peace of mind throughout the process.

Here are some reasons why engaging with legal professionals can be advantageous:

  1. Legal expertise: We specialise in this area of law, including wills, estate planning and LPAs. We possess in-depth knowledge of the relevant laws, regulations, and formalities associated with creating an LPA. This expertise ensures that the document is correctly prepared, reducing the risk of errors or invalidation in the future.
  2. Tailored advice: Your circumstances are unique, and as legal professionals we can provide personalised advice based on your specific needs. We will take the time to understand your situation, explain the legal implications, and guide you through the decision-making process. This can help you make informed choices regarding your LPA, such as selecting the most appropriate attorneys and specifying their powers.
  3. Ensuring legal requirements are met: LPAs must comply with certain legal requirements to be valid. As legal professionals we can ensure that all necessary forms are completed accurately, witnessed correctly, and signed by the relevant parties in the appropriate order. This reduces the risk of your LPA being rejected or challenged on technical grounds.
  4. Safeguarding against abuse or disputes: As legal professionals we can help safeguard against potential abuse or disputes by ensuring that the LPA is clear, comprehensive, and accurately reflects your intentions. We can guide you on the appointment of suitable attorneys and advise on any restrictions or conditions that can be included in the document to protect your interests.
  5. Managing complex situations: If your circumstances involve complexities such as business interests, overseas assets, or blended families, as legal professionals we can provide invaluable guidance. We can help navigate these complexities, identify potential issues, and develop appropriate solutions to address them within the LPA.
  6. Continuing support: As legal professionals we can offer ongoing support beyond the initial creation of the LPA. We can keep a copy of the document in safe custody, provide advice on amendments or revocation, and assist in the event of challenges or disputes relating to the LPA.

How we can help
While engaging a legal professional involves some cost, our expertise and assistance can provide you with confidence in the legal validity of your LPA and ensure that your wishes are accurately reflected. Our team are all specialists in this area of law so we can ensure the best possible outcome for your LPA.

If you would like a free initial consultation with a member of the Wills & Probate team simple click on the “Speak to Our Experts” button on this page, call us on 01244 729 073 or email

Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Sarah Gill

From dental nurse to Senior Paralegal

Senior Paralegal Sarah Gill joined our busy Wills & Probate Team in 2017. Here she talks about her former career as a dental nurse and what inspired her to retrain in the law.


How did you get into the law?

I grew up on the Wirral and when l left school I did a secretarial course at my local college, then started my first job as a receptionist for a firm of solicitors.

After being promoted to secretary, an opportunity came up to work in the NHS and train as a dental nurse – my original ambition. I worked for the Community Dental Service on the Wirral for four years and absolutely loved it.

My husband’s job took us both to Yorkshire for a number of years. I couldn’t find a job as a community dental nurse so went back to work for a firm of solicitors.

When we returned to the North West in my early thirties, I was offered a job as a paralegal and spent two years studying remotely for a Specialist Paralegal Qualification in Wills, Probate and Administration through the University of Strathclyde.

It’s a very rare qualification to have in England and there are not many of us. But it’s excellent because it provides you with the knowledge and understanding of the procedures involved in the preparation of wills and the administration of estates.

It also provides formal learning and a recognised qualification to bolster my many years of experience in wills and probate.

What do you love about your work?

It’s just brilliant. As a Senior Paralegal I’ve got my own case load of about seventy files at any one time. These can range from straightforward wills and grant applications to making a lasting power of attorney. I am also able to assist charities on occasion, such as Cancer Research UK via their free will service.

Like many of us on the team, I’ve had Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends training which teaches you about the signs and symptoms of dementia and the small ways you can help people through a better understanding of the condition.

The training is really helpful when you’re giving advice on wills and considering a person’s capacity to sign.

It may sound cheesy but I want everyone to have what they have the right to. I also like helping people. I get calls from people every day who have lost a parent or sibling and it’s good knowing I can help them at a time when they are most distressed and grieving.

Most people see probate as a bit of a minefield, but I carefully guide them through it step by step. You are the one on their side and who is thinking straight for them at a time of need. It makes it all worthwhile when someone drops you a little note afterwards to thank you for making a difference.


Would you recommend a career in the law?

Yes, definitely. My career journey shows that you don’t have to get into the law via a traditional path such as taking a law degree. I’d love to see more people coming in to the legal profession as paralegals.

Many will want to work their way up to become a solicitor but there are exciting career opportunities to grow and stay as a paralegal.

I was 41 when I qualified, and I believe my life experience brings a lot to the role. It’s also good fun to now be mentoring some of my younger colleagues who have joined Cullimore Dutton in their first jobs.

Life outside work?

The supermarkets recently announced a shortage of fruit and vegetables in the UK so I’m pleased I’ve been growing my own for years. In my small garden I grow all sorts from potatoes, onions and garlic to herbs, rhubarb, tomatoes and lettuce.

I’ve got strawberry plants and golden raspberries ready to go this summer too.

There’s nothing quite like growing your own produce, picking it and eating it minutes later. Any surplus I don’t need I exchange with my local fruit and veg swap shop.

Baking is an absolute passion and I’m known at work for my gooey centred cupcakes which I often make for work fundraising events. I love watching Bake Off but I’d never want to go on it – far too stressful!

Like quite a few of my colleagues, I’m into running too. I’m a run director for Parkrun, helping over 100 runners walk, jog or run 5km every Saturday morning, and involved with the Whitchurch Whippets, a friendly road running club for adults of all abilities.

I was initially terrified of joining a running club – I thought everyone was going to be Paula Radcliffe standard – but a pal persuaded me to give it a go. We have everything from an injury group for runners who want to walk while they recover to people new to running who can only do a minute and want to build up to 5km.

Staying fit, being social and having fun are just three great benefits from doing it.


Sarah Gill

Wills & LPAs – What are they and why do you need them?

Wills & LPAs – What are they and why do you need them?

Wills and LPAs; what are the differences, what does each document cover and who should have them in place? In this article Senior Paralegal Sarah Gill TEP provides an overview on these two essential legal documents.

Download your free leaflet: Wills & LPAs – What are they and why do you need them?
Click here to download your free Wills & LPA Leaflet

What are Wills?
A Will is a legal document which sets out how you would like your property, finances and other affairs to be distributed upon your death. Having a Will is the only way to ensure that these issues will be dealt with in-line with your wishes.

But what if I have nothing to leave
It is a common misunderstanding that you need to be wealthy to need a Will. This is not the case. Many people own their own house or have life assurance policies, investments, building society accounts and shares. Those assets alone could be worth very large sums of money.

Everything will go to my nearest relative anyway
Many people assume that if they die, their partner will automatically receive everything. There is nothing automatic about it at all and if you are not married, this is definitely not the case. A Will is essential. This can be a complicated area of law, a Will provides certainty and helps to prevent claims against your estate.

Who should make a Will
A Will is something that everyone should have; yet only about a third of people do. We spend most of our lives working to provide for our loved ones and a Will is essential to ensure that your assets are distributed to those loved ones in the most efficient and legally binding way possible. Everyone should have a Will, but it is even more important when you have a partner, children, grandchildren, or if you own property.

What happens if I die with no Will in place?
If you die without making a will it is called “dying intestate”. The UK intestacy rules are very rigid and present a number of difficulties. Couples who are not married or in a civil partnership do not inherit under the intestacy rules, with blood relatives inheriting in a strict order. In addition, the Inheritance Tax (IHT) burden for people who die without leaving a Will can often be higher leaving loved ones with a large IHT bill which will reduce the value of your estate.

Case Study
Comedian Rik Mayall died in 2014 with no Will in place leaving his family with a large tax inheritance bill. This could have been prevented if he had put a will in place.

What are Lasting Powers OF Attorney (LPAs)?
LPAs are legal documents which give a person or persons, who are appointed by you, the power and authority to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime when you are unable to do so. These appointed persons are called your Attorney(s). There are two types of LPA:

  1. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA,which gives your Attorney(s) authority to deal with your property and finances;
  2. A Health and Personal Welfare LPA which allows your Attorney(s) to make welfare and health care decisions on your behalf. This could also extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to life-sustaining treatment.

Choosing your Attorney(s)
You should choose people you trust completely who are over 18. People usually choose their spouse and often their children, and other relatives or close friends. An alternative is to choose a professional such as a solicitor.

Who should have LPAs
No one knows the future and anyone could lose mental capacity at anytime either through illness or injury, so in an ideal world we would all have LPAs. However, LPAs are essential if you are at a stage of life where you may need additional help or support, especially if you are considering support from a professional care provider.

What happens if I lose mental capacity with no LPAs in place?
If you lack capacity, then it will be necessary to make an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. This can be a long, stressful and particularly costly process for your loved ones and there is no guarantee over who the Court would appoint as your Deputy.

Case Study
The husband of broadcaster Kate Garraway lost mental capacity with no LPA in place during the pandemic leaving her unable to refinance their mortgage, access accounts in his name, manage his care or even see his medical notes.

To download your free copy simply complete the form below:


If you would like a free initial consultation with a member of the Wills & Probate team simple click on the “Speak to Our Experts” button on this page, call us on 01244 729 073 or email

Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

Sarah Gill

New Year, New Will?

Why it might be a good time to write a will.

The new year is always an excellent time to write or to review your will. In this article, we take a look at some of the things you should consider.

Have you made a will? 
Recent research by Royal London determined that 54% of UK adults do not have a will. This includes 59% of parents who either do not have a will or have one that does not accurately reflect their wishes. If you have not made a will, you have no control over what happens to your assets after you pass away. If you have children, own property, have savings or investments, or run a business, making a will is particularly important.

Does your will still accurately reflect your wishes?
If your circumstances have changed this year, you should update your will to reflect those changes. Perhaps you have changed career, moved home, got married or divorced, or welcomed a new baby to the family. In any of these circumstances, you should update your will to ensure it is reflective of your current situation.

Do you need to change your beneficiaries or executors?
Many people need to change the people that are named in their will for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you have outlived executors or beneficiaries named on your will, or maybe the relationship has deteriorated. In this case, you would need to replace them in your will to avoid complications in the event of your death.

Have your business interests changed?
If your business interests have changed significantly, now might be a good time to review both your will and your succession plan for your business.

Do you wish to take advantage of Inheritance Tax planning?
It is always advisable to review your will and estate regularly in line with current tax legislation, reliefs and opportunities to save on Inheritance Tax. Reviewing your affairs can be a great way to start the year. It allows you to understand where you are financially, and to effectively make plans for the future, knowing that your will is up to date.

If you would like a free initial consultation to discuss your will with one of our team contact us on 01244 356 789 or email

Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.