Why Do I Need an EPA?

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) allows people you trust to effectively manage your personal and financial affairs when you cannot.

It can come into being immediately or at an appointed time. The difference between an Ordinary Power of Attorney and an EPA is that the OPA will not be valid if you lose capacity.

An EPA is a sensible document that allows you to have people you trust look after you when you really need it either by physical illness or by lack of mental capacity and understanding.

If you do not have an EPA a Controllership may sought from the Office of Care and Protection which can be expensive, long drawn out and complex.

If you wish to enter into a EPA we always advise clients to update or make a will at the same time. The first step you need to take is to select an attorney. To do so you must consider the age of the attorney, whether you want one or two appointed and their own personal circumstances for example do they have work or family commitments that might hinder them in their EPA.

An Attorney is expected to protect you and to consider your wishes but to balance them with your well being. They must at all time keep their personal finances separate from yours and to keep appropriate note of any expenditure on your behalf.

In your EPA you can stipulate the extent of their powers for example whether you wish to grant them a general power or power over finances alone.

If your Attorney feels that you no longer have capacity s/he must register same in the High Court in order for them to make decisions as to your care.

EPAs are sensible. They are a way to plan ahead so that you are not left with a Controllership which is complex and expensive.  An EPA allows those you trust to make the decisions they know would be in accordance with your wishes and feelings.

To get experienced legal advices for planning your future not yet written.

Please ring us today for an appointment on 02838327436.

Patrick Park Solicitors

17a Market Street

Lurgan

BT666AR

www.pparksolicitors.co.uk

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Big congratulations to all our A-Level Students!!!

You have done it!

You have survived nearly 14 years of primary and secondary education and have the certificates to prove it!! Your mum or dad are now doing a treasure hunt, to seek out pots and pans that you will never use at uni or college, in celebration.

If you are dismissing the halls and seeking accommodation with your mates remember that, yes, proximity to the chip shop is a very important factor in saying “aye” to the student house but equally have a think about:

Can I afford the rent?

Can I tolerate the “eejits” I’m renting with for a whole year?

When does the tenancy start and end?

Is it one tenancy or separate tenancies for each of us? Separate tenancies if negotiable would be preferable.

Is there a smoke alarm or fire extinguisher? Trust me at some point these will be needed and are very much a legal requirement. Likewise smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Insist that these are fitted. Remember your parents had a vested interest in your safety whilst you were living at home – your house mates after a couple months of living with you may not. Keep yourself right, or KYR, and make sure these are in your student house.

Take photographs of the house and most definitely any damage to the property before you sign anything and email them to the estate agent before entering a tenancy. Point out damp and mould.

Given the price of iPhones, smartphones and laptops etc ask for locks for each room so that your insurance will cover you in the event of theft.

If you are happy and are one hundred percent sure you don’t want to stay at home and travel…….

Make sure your tenancy agreement has all your landlords details

That your deposit is protected in a tenancy deposit scheme.

Make sure there is a list of contents attached to the tenancy agreement.

Make sure rates are included in the rent and check that the Rates Office have all the documents from the landlord they need so that you are not liable for rates in the event of the landlord defaulting.

Make sure you know the termination period for ending the tenancy.

Make sure you know and fully understand your obligations under the tenancy – failure to do so could leave you without a deposit.

If the property has a HMO certificate please pop into see us as tenants in a house with a HMO have different obligations to non HMO tenants. Likewise if your parent is being asked to present themselves as a guarantor please make an appointment so that they known the ramifications before signing.

Check out what insurance your landlord has.

Above all remember if you do not understand what you are being asked to sign DO NOT SIGN without chatting to us first no matter how “sound” the estate agent or how big your room is going to be.

Enjoy this week!

Big congratulations again on all your hard work and for all the mummies and daddies “whose nerves were wrecked” over the summer!

Patrick Park Solicitors

In the heart of Lurgan

02838327436

Website

CONTACT When relationships fall apart……Child Contact

When relationships end both parents can be hurt, angry and lost.

When this happens, both parties having invested so much into a relationship, may either over compensate with their children or find it difficult to identify their needs. Many children sense the hurt that one or both parents are experiencing and attempt to take a parent role by not allowing themselves to show how upset they truly are. Some parents fear the other one either rightly or wrongly as a threat to their children as a result of their behaviour towards them and try to end Contact with the other parent.

For amicable Child Contact, after a breakdown in a relationship, both parents and extended family need to be on the same page. If one parent’s understanding of the reasons for the breakdown of the relationship is different from the other then establishing a Contact arrangement will need assistance.

In Northern Ireland the Welfare of a Child is Paramount.

In situations where Contact arrangements simply cannot be agreed it is our policy to advise our clients to firstly consider Mediation to resolve Contact matters in order to seek an amicable resolution before engaging in Court proceedings. This can be done via numerous agencies outside the Court Arena: Family Mediation NI, family, friends or someone who has the parties’ mutual respect and trust. It is important that these people are trained and are independent before engaging with same.

In some cases, particularly where there has been significant domestic violence, Mediation is simply not suitable. We then would seek to negotiate a Contact Arrangement with the other parent’s solicitor if there is no risk posed to the children.

If that negotiation breaks down then an application to the Family Court should be made to ensure that the child has the foundations and structure in place to have a continuing relationship with the Non-Resident Parent.

The Court who will hear the application will normally be the court in the area where the children live. This is normally the Family Proceedings Court.

For extremely complex Contact proceedings for example involving different jurisdictions the application will be made either to the Family Care Centre where the child lives or alternatively the High Court in Belfast.

Currently, whilst the legal budget is being destroyed by the Government, legal aid is available for Contact Proceedings.  In order to qualify for legal aid there is a strict financial assessment criteria. You will be asked to bring proof of your income to be assessed for same.  If you do not qualify your legal representative will explain the costs of the application before lodging the latter in Court.

Contact proceedings are governed in Northern Ireland mainly by The Children (NI) Order (1995). This Order looks at the Child’s Welfare globally and the consequences of the parents’ applications in respect of same.  The Court may ask the Court appointed Social Worker (CCO), assigned to the Court, to assist them in assessing the welfare of the subject child including ascertaining the latter’s wishes and feelings in relation to Contact if appropriate.

Most cases will be concluded once the CCO has made their recommendation, or after a short interim period of review, but if a party does not agree with the CCO’s recommendation the Court will list the case for hearing.

If agreement can be reached at this stage or if an Order can be made the Court has a number options: it can make a Contact Order, an Order of No Order depending on the attitudes of the Parties, refer the matter to a Higher Court or take action if there is a significant risk to the child’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

The Contact Order will be reflective of the childrens’ ages , wishes and feelings and needs. This may look at indirect contact by way of phone, letter, card, electronical communication etc along with direct Contact generally. The Court will listen and assess all potential risk to the Child’s Welfare.

The Court’s duty is towards the child and ensuring that the Contact arrangements arrived at are the best possible outcome.

This can very often leave one parent feeling that their voice was not heard. The Family Court in Northern Ireland can be daunting because the proceedings are in relation to the most important people in your life – your children.  A parent’s job is to protect – to seek the very best for their children – and when that role is taken from you and given to the Court it leaves the parent feeling lost.

It is my firm belief as a parent and a professional that no parent should enter into Family Proceedings lightly and certainly not without seeking Mediation or Legal Advices.

It is also vitally important that the solicitor you choose is one that you trust. You need to be able to speak to your solicitors about personal family matters bluntly and without hesitation.

To consider mediation please call Family Mediation NI on 02890243265.

For friendly experienced legal advice call Patrick Solicitors Lurgan on Telephone Number 02838327436.

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HOLIDAY DISASTERS

www.pparksolicitors.co.uk

Holidays away are becoming more and more expensive. So when after saving for months the holiday that you planned for is not the holiday that you got or worse you or your travelling companions have suffered a personal injury or illness abroad the money lost and the upset is great.

If you have suffered from a personal injury or illness we advise that if you are on a package holiday that you detail same with your representative at your accommodation or resort and make an appointment to attend with us upon your return home. Make a list of all costs accrued, including taxis and alternative accommodation.

Tour operators are obliged to ensure that the holiday they sell is the holiday you get.

Therefore if you are ill from unsanitary accommodation – for example if you get food poisoning or if you sustain an injury at your hotel or resort as a result of defective flooring – the tour operator is responsible as your contract is with them.

In respect of proceedings emanating from a holiday abroad it is important to seek immediate legal advice as the period in which you can issue proceedings in other countries differ.

For lost, delayed or damaged bags pay close attention to the terms and condition of your booking as some airline stipulate as to how long they will accept claims for same.

For the time being whilst Mrs May continues to fight the Merry Brexit Debacle EU Regulations still apply to Northern Ireland. These regulations mean that where you have been delayed more than two hours the airline is to provide you with food, drink, communication means ie. calls and emails.  If your flight has been delayed overnight your airline should give you accommodation.  If none of these are forthcoming ask for them. If they are being obstructive keep receipts for all reasonable expenses.  Where your flight is delayed over three hours and it is the airline’s fault for example a technical fault you may be entitled to compensation. However It must be the airline’s fault – for example an airline strike will not be not enough.

For example currently if your flight is delayed more than 3 hours and the journey was less than 1500 km you may be entitled to 250 euro. The compensation applied depends on the delay, the flight distance and whether you are flying to an EU or Non- EU Country.

So if your dream holiday has become a demonic Hi-de-Hi episode please make an appointment with us to discuss all your options.

PATRICK PARK SOLICITORS

EXPERIENCED LEGAL SOLICITORS IN THE HEART OF LURGAN

02838327436

www.pparksolicitors.co.uk

Divorce

The feeling of being lost in a marriage, not knowing who you are, where you are going or who your partner has become, is one of isolation and overwhelming fear.

Whether it is “Brexit” or “War of the Roses” the dissolution of any marriage is never easy – it is hard, difficult, horrible and everything in between.

However the legal procedure in this area, in Northern Ireland, is straightforward.

It is the “human factor” that clouds it. This happens when parties to a marriage find it impossible to discuss why a breakdown has taken place and as to whether there is any hope of reconciliation. When this talk does not take place parties step away from the marriage with unrealistic expectations and hopes. I have found that when the parties sit down and have an open and frank conversation, as to why they can no longer remain married, that the most amicable divorces can be executed.

I always recommend that parties think about counselling before making the decision to part.

Once that decision has been made:

After one year of marriage either party may file for Divorce.

Each party to a divorce should be represented separately so that they can obtain independent advice. One solicitor cannot represent two clients in Divorce proceedings as there is a conflict of interest.

After an initial consultation a decision as to whether the divorce should be brought in the High Court or the County Court will be made. This will depend on the complexity of the separation and the matrimonial assets. Legal aid will be discussed with you at this stage and if appropriate an application will be made on your behalf.

When a decision as to funding is made a Divorce Petition will be drafted. This document will set out the grounds for your divorce. Once the Petition is ready it will be stamped by the Court and served on your partner who will complete a form confirming they have received the Petition and indicating to the Court whether they agree or not to the grounds cited in the Petition.

If they are agreeable to the Petition a Decree Nisi Hearing will be held. This is a hearing where you will attend Court to confirm that the grounds in your Petition are correct. If the Judge is happy that your marriage has irretrievably broken down they will grant you a Decree Nisi confirming that they believe you have grounds for Divorce.  

If your partner is not agreeable they will lodge a document outlining their reasons as to why they are objecting to your Petition. You will thereafter lodge a similar document and your Decree Nisi hearing will be listed. Both you and your partner will need to give evidence to the Judge.

 

However you must wait for six weeks before applying to the Court for your Decree Absolute – a document that completely dissolves your marriage.

 

This means you cannot remarry until the Decree Absolute is issued.

 

In Northern Ireland there are five grounds for divorce:

  1. Unreasonable Behaviour
  2. Adultery
  3. Two Years Separation with Consent
  4. Dessertion
  5. Five Years Separation.

If a final Agreement as to your joint finances has not been entered in too then Court proceedings will have to be issued to resolve them. This is called Ancillary Relief Proceedings.

I always tell my clients that matrimonial law is a different type of law to conveyancing or litigation. It is an area of law that is client led. Our job is to listen to what you are saying, or more importantly to what you are not saying, and to seek a resolution that puts both parties in a position where they can start again.

For empathetic clear professional advices when you feel adrift in your relationship call us on 02838327436.

Patrick Park Solicitors

In the heart of Lurgan

Website

Making a Will?

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#WILLMAKINGNEVERLEAVEITTOOLATE

The importance of a Will is often minimised by some, as a legal document, but actually a Will is a complex document and drafting a Will for a client is difficult for the solicitor with carriage of it.  A Will is a written record of their client’s last wishes on earth –  a document of that magnitude is of enormous importance not only to the Testator but to their family upon their decease.

It is their last voice.

For years I had preached to family and friends “you need a Will!” Partly, because I recognised the importance of having your voice heard in your absence and partly because the absence of a Will can make the loss of a love one that much harder.

It then hit me, when I had family of my own, that for all my preaching I had not made a Will myself!

So I did what I told my clients to do at our initial consultations – I sat down with my husband and discussed what we would like to happen in the event of our deaths, who we would like our children to live with after our decease, we talked about Trusts, personal items and who we believed would be best suited to deal with our affairs in the form of an Executor upon our decease.

It was a strange and surreal conversation but after the decisions were made I drafted our Wills and had them executed a few days later.

Whilst I hope my husband and I “won’t be going anywhere just yet” we were both glad that those decisions had been made. In my mind I know exactly what will happen to my children after my death. Our family will be well taken care of in our absence and that reassured me greatly as a professional and as a mother.

It is a task that we put to the back of our “minds” however the inevitable will not wait.

It is important to have a Will in place no matter how many assets you have or “don’t have.”

Good Estate planning is key to ensuring your family’s future after your decease. It is an area of complex and quick growth.

No matter at what stage you are in life – whether you have travel in mind, a new home, marriage, divorce – it is important that you seek proper legal advices in respect of your Estate.

A “mistake to day could cost your family in the future.”

If you have a Will in place it is important to review and to update it from time to time to make sure that it fully reflects your wishes.

At Patrick Park Solicitors, we always offer a high quality and completely professional legal service.

We understand that it is not easy to seek advices in respect of Estate Planning particularly if you are suffering from an illness. Our team of solicitors are highly trained in this area to give high quality professional legal advices in a sensitive manner.

Patrick Park Solicitors

02838327436

17a Market Street

Lurgan

BT666AR

Where experience counts.

HIT BY AN UNINSURED DRIVER?

pexels-photo-929006.jpegNo matter what age you are being in a Road Traffic Accident is a frightening experience.

The costs of a Road Traffic Accident can be even more frightening than the experience itself!

The Motor Insurers Bureau (“MIB”) is an Agency set up by agreement with the Insurance Industry to deal with claims when the normal routes of compensation do not apply.

Such as where the other driver:

  1. Is uninsured
  2. Drove off and cannot be traced

They also deal with cases where UK residents are involved in accidents with foreign-registered vehicles, either in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.

In certain circumstances the MIB may also pay compensation for property damage.

In order to make a claim under the MIB regulations it is vital to report the accident to the PSNI and to obtain as much information as possible in respect of the other driver.

The MIB ask that you:

1. Make enquiries to see if the motorist is insured

2. Provide information in relation to the driver and vehicle details

3. Provide any other information will be useful

Such as telephone numbers, email addresses.

4. Contact your insurance company

5. Collect as much information as you can about your losses

In cases where the driver does not stop their vehicle or refuses to give their details it is important for you to:

1.     Attempt to get as much as information as possible about the make and car registration

2.     Take down a description of the other driver

3.     Report the matter to the PSNI

We have had the opportunity to work with MIB for a number of years on various cases. As a firm we can progress you case quickly and with experience to ensure that any compensation you receive reflects the damage done or the injury to your person.

Patrick Park Solicitors

02838327436

#experiencedsolicitorsintheheartofLurgan

Property Matters!!!

From first time buyers, seasoned property developers,remortgages, co ownership buys, transfers or purchases arising from relationship breakdowns for Patrick Park Solicitors every transaction is unique.

All of our transactions are dealt with personally by our team of experienced Property Solicitors to ensure transactions are dealt with efficiently, smoothly and properly.

Don’t take risks with Property Matters seek advice from Solicitors with over thirty years experience!!

Please call us on 02838327436 for friendly experienced advice.

Divorce and Separation

Divorce and Separation

Marriage Breakdowns

When Christmas isn’t Bright and isn’t Jolly!!!

Marriage Breakdowns

I have always loved Christmas. I love the colours, the scents and the sounds but I have always hated the stress Christmas brings.

Christmas can be an awful time of the year for people who are struggling in a relationship that is not meeting their emotional needs. More than at any other time in the year couples will in January, after the Christmas period, seek advices in relation to divorce and separation.

I am often asked why is there such a spike in advices sought in this field at Christmas and the New Year.

My own view is that, often if not daily, we ignore mundane issues and arguments as we are too busy working, attending to our homes or children. When work stops and we are placed in close confinement with our partner these issues that were not dealt with explode into larger arguments.

With the market as it is, incomes frozen, inflation rising – many of us strive to keep up with our neighbors and try to give presents we just simply cannot afford. Broke, miserable and incarcerated with a partner that does not understand these issues, and of course quite often faced with in-laws, listening to Slade on a loop – tensions invariably break.

Then add to the mix – additional social events.

These events have financial and emotional implications and those underlying issues that went unchecked for the previous year can suddenly become the alcohol fueled arguments of nightmares.

Quite simply for some in a relationship that is not working and has not been working for some time – Christmas is a horrible time. For others in a relationship where there is domestic violence Christmas can be intolerable and dangerous.

At Patrick Park Solicitors we have been assisting couples for over two decades in seeking amicable resolutions when these issues become too much. We always ask our clients to consider counselling and mediation first to make sure that they wish to dissolve their marriage and that there is no hope of reconciliation.

In this area our work is very much client led.

We advise our clients and instruct them on the best possible way forward so that a partnership that was once founded on love and friendship is dissolved with dignity and respect.

If you are a victim of domestic violence within a marriage or within a family setting- once you are ready we can advise you not only as to your legal rights for a Non-Molestation Order but also get you in contact with the Services that you will need to build your life over again.

Nothing is unfixable and with the close of one year a new chapter begins in the next.

For friendly, practical, specialised advice please call Emma Murphy at Patrick Park Solicitors on 02838327436.

Or email e.murphy@pparksolicitors.co.uk

Patrick Park Solicitors in the heart of Lurgan.

http://www.pparksolicitors.co.uk

 

GETTING THE RIGHT ADVICE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT

After over a decade of practice I can say with confidence that no two injuries arising from a road traffic accident are the same.

Some injuries are immediate and apparent whilst some injuries, particularly soft tissue injuries, might not emerge until the evening of the injury or the day after.

Each injury is unique – a minor bony injury sustained by a young person will have a completely different impact on a more mature person and therefore would attract a different figure of compensation.

 

After a road traffic accident if you feel at all unwell seek immediate medical attention either with your GP, Out of Hours or A&E depending on the severity of your injuries.

Do not “brush away your concerns as trivial” – many symptoms can mask serious underlying medical conditions arising from a road traffic incident such as sepsis or internal injuries. It is therefore vital that you do not take any unnecessary risks.

Physical injuries such as whiplash, bony injuries, cuts and bruises are not the only injuries that can emerge from a car or vehicular accident.

  • Many people suffer with psychological injuries and adjustment disorders as a result of these incidences. If you feel upset or have sleep disturbances after being in a road traffic accident or collision please contact your GP for treatment.

If you have suffered pain, loss or sustained damages as a result of a road traffic accident or collision you may be entitled to damages.

It is important in these circumstances that you get independent and experienced legal advice. 

You may feel nervous going to a solicitor. Many of my clients also tell me they feel “guilty” in seeking legal advices after an accident. This is an entirely normal reaction, I advise my clients that we invest in insurance to protect us financially for the unexpected.  That protection should be utilised where a genuine loss has been sustained and the contractual obligations met.

If the other party is not insured or does not stop then an application can be made to the MIB for compensation. In these circumstances it is vital that the incident is reported immediately to the PSNI.  Failure to report a vehicle for not stopping after an accident could prevent you from progressing with your application to the MIB for compensation.

In order to assess whether there is a legal claim to answer. I ask my clients to provide me with an outline of the incident.

Secondly, I ask for full details of any medical injuries sustained as a result of the incident. I take a particular interest in same.  To fully assess how much compensation is due to a client it is vital to fully understand the extent of that client’s injuries.

As a simple ache today can lead to years of pain affecting all areas of a client’s life.

Once I have those details I can fully assess the information as to whether there may be a case to answer. If I feel there are grounds I will explain to my client in person funding options and the claims process.  I also confirm same in writing to my client after our initial meeting and allow them time to decide whether they wish to continue with their road traffic claim.

You also need to remember that regulations and time limits differ from jurisdiction. Therefore the rules around proceeding with a claim in Northern Ireland is different than in America, Australia, Germany etc..

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident in this jurisdiction or in any other jurisdiction please contact us for friendly, independent, local and efficient advice and assistance. We will make an appointment to attend upon you to assess your claim at your convenience. We will analyse your case and advise you as to the merits of same. 

We will work with you to obtain a fair and appropriate settlement figure that reflects the extent of your injuries to assist you with your future.

Patrick Park Solicitors – in the Heart of Lurgan

Please call us for an appointment on 02838327436 or email us at info@pparksolicitors.co.uk

Website: www.pparksolicitors.co.uk