Cullimore Dutton extends partnership with Cancer Research UK

Cullimore Dutton is delighted to agree an extension of its long-standing partnership with Cancer Research UK which to date has seen over £1.2million in pledged legacies.

Cullimore Dutton’s Wills, Trusts & Estates team is part of the charity’s Free Will Service which each year sees many clients leaving a donation to support the vital work of Cancer Research UK.

Cancer Research UK’s strategy is to prevent more cancers, diagnose them earlier, develop the best therapies and ensure that each patient receives the best treatment for them. They are aiming to accelerate progress so that 3 in 4 people survive cancer by 2034 – currently 2 in 4 people survive their cancer – and gifts in wills are critical to that progress.

Cullimore Dutton offers the Cancer Research UK Free Will Service to anyone aged 18 and over to easily write or update a simple will for free. Gifts in wills fund over a third of Cancer Research UK’s work.

Cancer Research UK’s research has played a role in developing 8 of the world’s top 10 cancer drugs. Over the last 40 years Cancer Research UK’s work has helped double breast cancer survival. The charity was a key player in the development of radiotherapy, which now benefits more than 130,000 patients every year in the UK.

Adele Bebbington-Plant, Head of Private Client at Cullimore Dutton, said: “We are delighted to continue our long-standing association with Cancer Research UK and to play our part in supporting the vital work that they undertake.

“I know that my colleague Sarah Gill, who has spearheaded our Cancer Research UK wills scheme at Cullimore Dutton for a number of years, and other members of the team are looking forward to the extension of our partnership.”

Helen Soutar, Legacy Partnership Manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “I had the opportunity to visit the Cullimore Dutton team in Chester to thank them for the amazing support they have given to Cancer Research UK over the last 14 years.

“Through their hard work they have helped 129 people write their wills through the Free Will Service and arranged pledged legacies of £1,227,300.

“Thanks to firms like Cullimore Dutton and their generous clients our legacy income will continue to fund advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, for years to come.”

For more information, contact our Wills, Trusts & Estates team on 01244 356789 or email:

Adele Bebbington-Plant

Do you need to review your Powers of Attorney?

By Adele Bebbington-Plant, Head of Private Client


There is always lots of talk about the importance of reviewing a Will to ensure that it is fully in line with current circumstances.

Less talked about, but equally important, is to ensure that any Powers of Attorney that have previously been made, also reflect current circumstances with a degree of future protection.


There are four types of Power of Attorney:

General or Ordinary Powers of Attorney: These enable the person making them (the Donor) to appoint people they trust, called their attorneys, to make financial decisions on his / her behalf during the Donor’s lifetime.

They are relatively quick to make as they are valid and capable of use as soon as signed. They are useful for short periods of time or to cover specific transactions, such as allowing a property sale to take place while on holiday or to cover a stay in hospital.

Ordinary Powers of Attorney cannot cover health and welfare issues and are only valid while the Donor has mental capacity (the ability to make decisions).  Therefore, if the Donor loses mental capacity, the Ordinary Power of Attorney will no longer be of use.


Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs): It is not possible to make EPAs anymore, but provided they were made correctly prior to 1st October 2007, existing EPAs are still valid.

Like Ordinary Powers of Attorney, EPAs only cover property and financial matters and are capable of use without being registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) – the government body that oversees the registration of powers of attorney and regulates their use.

EPAs, in the absence of a written restriction, can be used while the Donor has mental capacity. Unlike Ordinary Powers of Attorney, EPAs are still able to be used if the Donor loses mental capacity. However, EPAs require registering when the Donor is becoming incapable of managing his or her affairs.

With backlogs at the OPG seeing registration times exceeding 16 weeks, it is often the time when the document is most needed that delay occurs. It is not possible to plan ahead and register an EPA in advance when the donor has mental capacity.


Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) for Property and Affairs and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) for Health and Welfare: LPAs replaced EPAs from 1st October 2007 and separated the Donor’s affairs into financial and health and welfare matters.

Property and Affairs LPAs and Health and Welfare LPAs are separate documents, so if the Donor wishes to cover both areas, as we would recommend, he or she will need to make 2 LPAs, both of which require registering with the OPG before they can be used.

Once registered, depending upon the provisions made by the Donor, the Property and Affairs LPA is capable of use both while the Donor has mental capacity and if he/she loses mental capacity.

Due to the nature of the decisions covered by the Health and Welfare LPA – such as where the Donor lives, medical treatment and life sustaining treatment – Health and Welfare LPAs can only be used by the attorneys if the donor loses mental capacity.

In my experience having a Health and Welfare LPA in place is critical when a person loses mental capacity. Without it, family and friends can find themselves unable to make decisions or have input on medical issues and where the person is to live; care at home or which care home is suitable. I’ve known families left heartbroken by this.

It is crucial to understand that being ‘next of kin’ gives no legal standing to manage a person’s finances or health and care issues during lifetime.

The one thing that all powers of attorney have in common is that they can only be made while the person giving the power to his or her attorneys has mental capacity. It is therefore vital that they are made in advance.

An Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis does not in itself prevent a person from making LPAs, the question is whether they are able to understand the nature and effect of the documents they are making.

I would always advise a review of any powers of attorney as soon as possible in these circumstances. As a team we have previously taken dementia friends training, which provided valuable insight into taking instruction in these circumstances.

If a person loses mental capacity and does not have an EPA and or LPA in place, or the Power of Attorney they made no longer covers their circumstances, then an application to the Court of Protection is required to enable a court appointed deputy to deal with that person’s affairs.

This is a costly, lengthy and intrusive process and while it can eventually give wide financial powers, it rarely gives a satisfactory blanket power to deal with health and welfare issues.

Both types of LPAs also give a large degree of flexibility in that the Donor can:

  • Choose up to 4 attorneys and up to 4 replacement attorneys.
  • Choose how and when the attorneys can act.
  • Include preferences and instructions for their attorneys on how they wish their finances and health and care matters to be handled, providing valuable guidance and sometimes additional powers for the attorneys.

The documents must be registered with the OPG before they can be used and registration can take place as soon as the LPAs have been made. In contrast to the EPA registration process this can be done in advance of loss of mental capacity. We usually recommend that they are registered as soon as made so that they are ready for use in an emergency without delay.

With the different types of Powers of Attorney, each having their own pros and cons, it’s important that the Donor revisits the powers of attorney that they have made periodically to ensure that they still meet their requirements.

As a long-established firm, with expertise in this important area of private client work, we have a large bank of all types of powers of attorney which we store for our clients. We actively encourage our clients to review the documents we hold for them to ensure they are current.

The type of power of attorney itself may require review. Whereas an EPA only covers financial matters and has different registration requirements, LPAs go further and cover both financial and property and healthcare decisions.

We would therefore advise any client with an EPA to make a health and welfare LPA and to consider whether a property and affairs LPA may better suit their needs.

In addition to the type of document made, personal circumstances change over time and it is important consider whether the provisions you made are still as you would wish.

A common review concerns changes to the attorneys who were originally chosen.

Are they still the best people to manage your healthcare and financial decisions? Do they know you best? Has there been a breakdown in a relationship with one or more of your original attorneys? Is someone no longer able to act on your behalf? Has one of your attorneys been declared bankrupt?

When the original power of attorney was made you may have had children who were under 18 and therefore chose other people to be your attorneys. If your children have since become adults they may now be better placed to assist you.

If you have a business it is also wise to consider if your power of attorney enables your attorneys to manage your business and the powers and skills they need to do so.

As a rule, we would recommend reviewing an LPA/EPA every two or three years or following a significant life change. It doesn’t always result in having to make changes to your power of attorney, but it gives you the opportunity to ensure that it fully reflects your current situation and wishes and ensures that you have provision for someone to manage your affairs in your lifetime if you are temporarily or permanently unable to do so.

How we can help
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

We’ve expanded our Wills, Trusts & Estates team

We’re delighted to welcome Georgina Roberts to our growing Wills, Trusts & Estates team.

Georgina, who grew up on the Wirral, joined us in September and specialises in all aspects of private client work.

She said: “Private Client is an interesting area of the law and I really enjoy helping people at what can sometimes be a difficult and stressful time of their lives.”

Georgina is also a full member of Solicitors for the Elderly, which means she is trained to work with older and more vulnerable clients.

You can find out more here about our Wills, Trusts & Estates work which includes the creation of wills, trusts and inheritance tax planning, Powers of Attorney, administration of estates and Court of Protection work.

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.