Family law concept image

Family law solicitors today

Family law solicitors that put your family first

At Foys, our family law solicitors understand the importance of legal family matters and the sensitivities of family disputes, especially where children are involved. We are committed to ensuring the best outcome for you and your family.

Family law at Foys Solicitors consists of three main areas: matrimonial,  child matters and financial arrangements. Within this falls areas such as child abuse or neglect, divorce, domestic violence, children legal issues such as guardianship.

A more complete list can be found below and also in our family law services section.

Family law today

We live in unprecedented times. The daily pressure faced by families and individuals caused by lifestyle restrictions, peer pressure and economic uncertainty, has driven some to breaking point. Perhaps the most visible effect of this pressure has been in the growth of mental health issues within the younger age groups, although not exclusively so. With parents beset with their own problems, such as increased cost of living due to inflationary pressures and possibly employment issues, the additional pressure of problems with children can end up being the breaking point.

The most immediate impact of this may be found within spousal relationships. As tensions grow, relationships deteriorate, sometimes to the point of abuse or even domestic violence. 2020 and 2021 saw a considerable rise in domestic abuse and violence cases, as well as separations and divorce. Naturally, this can have an even bigger impact on the metal state of any children involved, often leading to their own bad behaviour at home, anti-social behaviour outside the home, depression and in the worst cases, suicide.

Family law solicitors at Foys Solicitors, are very aware of the social trends causing problems within families. While we may not be social welfare councillors, our goal when clients come to us, is to be as empathic and sympathetic as we can, and not project a cold legal face to the disputing couples. We also understand that reconciliation, a preferable outcome, isn’t always possible where family and matrimonial disputes are concerned. We’d like to see couples and their families resolve their differences amicably wherever possible, but whatever the requirement, clients can rest assured that we will work to achieve the best outcome for both parties possible.

Why would you consider using a family law solicitor?

Hopefully, most people won’t need the services of our family law team, as they will enjoy a happy and stable family life. However, cases of family disagreements, issues with family estates when a loved one has died, divorce, domestic abuse and child support issues have all seen considerable increases in recent times. The pandemic period saw a significant increase in domestic abuse cases that required sensitive treatment.

Many families will try to resolve matters themselves, which is obviously preferable. But in some cases, professional help is required and advised.  Often times, mediation is recommended, as this can avoid expensive legal cases between the parties concerned, as it allows each side to present their position and with the help of a skilled family mediator, hopefully come to a more agreeable outcome that avoids much of the unpleasantness and stress associated with full blown legal action. This is especially important where children are concerned as the disposition and demeanour of the parents during such a contentious and stressful time can have a serious negative impact on any children involved.

Family law matters require specialist assistance and a lot of empathy

Family law can be complex as it covers a wide range of legal issues that address different matters. Therefore, it is important to understand the details involved in order to ensure the outcome you desire. We understand the stress and confusion such issues may cause, therefore, our experienced family team takes a sensitive approach to help you understand the legalities. We will support you through the difficult times and on your journey to securing a better future for you and your loved ones.

Any family disagreement, divorce, or child guardianship matters are likely to be hugely stressful on the family concerned. It is always of prime focus to ensure that the parties involved are made to feel safe; your welfare comes first. This means that our family law practitioners would not look to create additional stress, treating both sides with sensitivity and empathy through the process.

Our family team can advise and assist you with the following:

  • Divorce
  • Collaborative law
  • Civil partnerships
  • Separation agreements
  • Premarital agreements
  • Cohabitation agreements
  • Financial matters
  • Domestic abuse and injunctions
  • Children’s legal matters
  • Change of name

For more information regarding how we can help you, check out our recently updated ‘Family Law Solicitors‘ page. Here, we dive deeper into the areas of family law that we cover.

Contact Foys Solicitors for sound advice on family law today

To book an initial free consultation or to find out more about our family law services, call Foys’ family law solicitors on 01302 327136 to book your FREE initial consultation. Alternatively, you can send us a message via our Contact Form.

how to spot a scam

Protect yourself from scams

Protect yourself from scams

How do you avoid getting scammed? Would you be able to spot a fraudster? Do you know the difference between a fraud and a scam?

Being part of the community for nearly 50 years, Foys really don’t like hearings tories of our clients or the members of the lcoal community getting ripped off through the multitude of scams pervasive in soicately and online today. So we thought we’d like to share a basic guide into how to spot a scam and the things that should raise red flags and help you identify whether or not you are dealing with a scammer.

Banks and other financial institutions see a scam as the customer being duped into allowing authorised transactions to take place. They might have been fooled into handing over access information or believe that they are making moving money for legitimate reasons. However the police view fraud and scams as the same thing. And it can happen to anyone.

How many scams happen a year?

3.7 million instances of fraud were reported in the year up to March 2020. A figure that is consistent with the previous year. Bank and credit card fraud along with consumer and retail fraud accounted for the vast majority of these.

Fraud and scams also increased during lockdown with a rise of 33%. So it’s time that you began to protect yourself by understanding the different types of scam and how they work.

How can you identify a scammer?

Scammers want to get at your money and everything they do is aimed at making this happen. Ideally, they require you to help them out by giving them money directly but they are also after personal details or information. Technology and the rise of online banking have been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you are less likely to keep money in the house as you can use cash points and make online payments. On the other hand, the scammer looks to exploit these things. Online shopping, social media and email have opened new ways for old frauds to be worked and you need to stay alert.

You probably know about phishing; that is attempts to dupe you into giving away vital information via email. But did you know about vishing and smishing? These are much the same thing but using a phone call or a text message to achieve the fraudster’s hoped-for outcome.

Scams include a mix of the following key features:

  • A sense of urgency. You need to take action immediately whether you think you’re helping the police with an investigation or being offered an investment opportunity.
  • Handing over of personal details. With these it’s possible to steal your identity.
  • A source you think you can trust. The phone call or email comes from a person or organisation you would usually trust like your bank or the police.
  • Providing access either by providing information or by making transactions yourself.
  • Offering something that sounds like an amazing opportunity – one you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

Different types of scams

Scammers are after two things; information and money. Ideally, they want you to hand over your funds to them so be aware of the ways they try to do this.

Counterfeit goods

The easiest way to part you from your money is to sell you something. But the designer goods being sold at the car boot sale will turn out to be not quite the quality or brand you took them for. Or they may be sold on online. Although the major auction sites such as eBay don’t allow fake goods to be listed this doesn’t stop it happening and spotting a fraud is more difficult online. It’s easy to get sucked in if you think that you’re getting a bargain.

Avoid being scammed by not rushing into making a purchase. Examine the product carefully and check the labels. Look at the packaging. Would a high-end item really be sold in a plastic bag?

If you’re buying online check reviews for the seller before making a decision. Online shopping became more popular during lockdown. And North Yorkshire Police have reported a rise in auction site frauds during the same period. Scammers will go where they can make money.

Always ask yourself it’s too much of a bargain? If the price is truly astoundingly low then, unless you know the trader to be reputable, walk away. And don’t forget to raise your concerns with your local Trading Standards team. While some fake goods are just a rip-off others which don’t comply with health and safety standards are actually dangerous.

A royal request

The email or letter comes out of the blue. You’ve never heard of the sender who might be a prince, a grieving widow or a religious leader but they sound feasible. And they have a lot of money that they need you to help them move out of their country. If you help them out you’ll have done a good deed for a stranger and you’ll get some of the money. It sounds great until they ask for funds from you to pay transaction fees, administrative costs or similar.

In most cases, the poor grammar and spelling plus the too-good-to-true offer will alert you to this fraud.

Money Mule

Jobs can be hard to come by and this one sounded like a great way to make some money. Your employee transfers money to you and you send it on to someone else after taking a cut. You won’t be told that it’s money laundering, although it does seem a bit odd that you receive the funds in the form of vouchers.

Always be wary when anyone even a friend asks you to move money through your account. Being involved in money laundering has serious consequences. Likewise, payment that comes in an odd form is a flag that this isn’t legitimate.

Romance scams

You’ve met your perfect match online. They got in touch with you, are really good looking and are so interested in every detail of your life. Then they ask if they can borrow some money. The reason sounds legitimate; it might even be to cover travel costs for coming to meet you.

It’s a scam. Even if you don’t give them the funds they request they can use the personal details you’ve shared to try and steal your identity. Don’t be swept off your feet without arranging a video call. Inevitably they’ll find an excuse not to because they look nothing like their photo.

Is that website legit?

Buying fake goods isn’t the only scam waiting to catch you out online. You also need to watch out for spoofing. This is where a website appears to at a different address to the one it is actually at. So you’ll think that you’re visiting the legitimate site when you’re actually at one created by scammers.  If you go ahead and log in or place an order then the scammers have you.

Avoid getting scammed by checking the site carefully. Does the website address seem a bit odd, maybe with just a reference to the brand in question? Are there lots of spelling and grammatical errors? If so, warning bells should be ringing. Check carefully for reviews before you consider buying from such a site. At best you’ll be unlikely to see your money again.

Investment scams

It’s a great opportunity for investment. But actually you’ve not had any previous contact with the company and they seem in a bit of a rush to get you signed up. Before you get carried away with the amazing returns on offer go the FCA website. They have a handy tool to check investment opportunities and avoid getting ripped off.

Clicking links

Stealing access details means that scammers can try and access your accounts. Getting you to click on a link is one of the ways they try to do this. The link may have come via an email asking you to log in to your account to deal with some issue. It might even claim that your account has been locked because of fraudulent activity! Alternatively, you may have been asked to click on a link in a social media post or to upgrade an app.

Clicking on the link could either allow malware to be downloaded or take you to a fake website. The malware will give the scammer access to your device while the fake website will harvest your login detail if you enter them.

Think before you click. Particularly if the link is in an email or text message. Access the site independently, check there are no issues with your account, change your passwords and report it.

Steps you can take as an individual to stay safe

You can’t know every scam but you can apply some basic rules to keep yourself and your money safe.

  • Be suspicious is it seems too good an offer
  • Be wary of clicking on links even it if the source seems reliable
  • Treat poor spelling and grammar on website as a warning sign
  • Don’t send money to people you don’t know – even if you’ve been ‘online friends’ for ages
  • Step back and do some research before parting with your money

Being scammed can happen to anyone. Scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated so it’s easy to get caught out. If it happens to you make sure that you report it and help to protect others.

This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues. Also, please note that although we may use the word solicitor, your case could be carried out by a legal advisor, legal executive or paralegal depending on the nature of the case.

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below

Caring for a sick patient

The top six things you need to know about deputyship

The top six things you need to know about deputyship

Deputyship is not a straightforward process and often requires the assistance of a legal expert.

A surprisingly large number of people assume that when they can’t make decisions for themselves, their spouse or children will automatically have the power to access their bank accounts, pay bills, sell the house to pay for care, plus making important decisions about their health and care. Unfortunately, it is not the case.

The laws on who can make decisions for you (in the event that you lack mental capacity to do so yourself) are clear – only your appointed people (known as your ‘attorneys’) stated in the lasting power of attorney documents can help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. Despite the name, your attorneys do not have to be part of the legal profession – they can be your spouse, a trusted family member, a caring lifelong friend, and/or your adult child.

In the event that you haven’t yet appointed an attorney, then your spouse or a relative has to apply to become your deputy if you lack mental capacity. For instance, you have had an accidental slip and suffered a serious brain injury, or you have dementia and the disease is getting worse and affecting your ability to make decisions.

In this article, our protection of the elderly legal team looks at deputyship and the top six things you need to know about deputyship and how it differs from a lasting power of attorney.

1. Deputyship is authorised by the Court of Protection

Contrary to a lasting power of attorney, a deputy can only be authorised by the Court of Protection. When a loved one cannot make a decision for themselves at the time it needs to be made, and the person has not appointed an attorney, then their spouse or a relative has to apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy.

The Court of Protection will review the case and give the deputy a court order which spells out what the deputy can or cannot do. For instance, the deputy must consider the level of mental capacity (of the person you’re a deputy for) every time you make a decision for them. It will be wrong to assume that the mental capacity is the same at all times and for all kinds of things, according to the Court of Protection.

When it comes to decision making, guidance for all deputies include:

  • Make sure it is in the person’s (whom you’re a deputy for) best interests.
  • Consider what they have done in the past.
  • Apply a high standard of care; this might mean involving other people, for example getting advice from relatives and professionals like doctors.
  • Do everything you can to help the other person understand the decision, for example, explain what is going to happen with the help of pictures or sign language.
  • Add the decisions to your annual report.

2. Two types of deputy

Similar to a lasting power of attorney, there are two types of deputy:

  • A property and financial affairs deputy can access your bank accounts, manage bills, and sell your property to pay for care.
  • A personal welfare deputy makes decisions about your medical treatment and how you should be looked after.

The court can appoint two or more deputies for the same person, or there could be more than one deputy. If there are multiple deputies, they must tell the court how the decisions will be made (either joint deputyship or jointly and severally).

Having said that, the court will usually only appoint a personal welfare deputy if:

  • There is doubt whether decisions will be made in someone’s best interests, for example when family members disagree about care.
  • Someone needs to be appointed to make decisions about a specific issue over time, for example where someone will live.

3. The application process is long

Appointing a lasting power of attorney usually takes between 8 to 10 weeks to register an LPA if there are no mistakes in the application. On the other hand, the application process to become a deputy often takes more than 3 months.

There are also several forms involved, including:

  • The main application form
  • Assessment of capacity
  • Supporting information for property and affairs if it is relevant
  • Supporting information for personal welfare if it is relevant
  • Deputy’s declaration

The declaration will outline your circumstances and include details of the
responsibilities and duties you as a deputy must carry out. You must prove to the Court of Protection that you have the skills, knowledge and commitment to carry them out. You must also assure them that there is nothing that might make your appointment inappropriate – for example, you are not bankrupt and do not suffer from poor health.

In addition, once applied, there is a 14-day wait to see if anyone else objects you as the deputy. For a personal welfare deputy, be prepared for a hearing so the court can get more information.

Because the process is long, there are situations when you need to make an emergency application. For instance:

  • The person needs urgent medical treatment
  • The person is about to be removed from the place they are living unless an intervention takes place
  • To execute a statutory Will or important financial transaction because the person is expected to die soon

4. Deputyship is costly

When it comes to deputyship, there are several fees to pay.

  • The application fee for each type of deputyship is £365 (or £730 for both types).
  • If the court decides your case needs a hearing, add £485 on top.
  • A £100 assessment fee for each new deputy.

Subsequently, after a deputy is appointed by the court, there is an annual supervision fee depending on what level of supervision your deputyship needs. In general:

  • £320 for general supervision.
  • £35 for minimal supervision – this applies to some property and affairs deputies managing a budget which is less than £21,000.

For a property and affairs deputy, there is also a security bond involved. The aim of the bond is to make sure that the deputy doesn’t misuse the money whom he/she is a deputy for. The amount of the security bond depends on:

  • The value of the estate of the person one is a deputy for
  • How much of their estate the deputy controls

As you can see, becoming a deputy is a costly exercise. On the other hand, if you have appointed a lasting power of attorney, the LPA registration process would only set you back £82 for each type of LPA (or £164 to register both types of LPA).

5. A report must be summited each year

A deputy must write a report each year explaining the decisions they have made as a deputy. If the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) needs additional information, the deputy will be required to write more reports.

The main report must include:

  • The reasons why decisions are made, like why they were in the best interests of the person you’re a deputy for.
  • Individuals you have spoken to and why what they said was in the person’s best interests.
  • For a property and financial deputy, information about the finances of the person you’re a deputy for must be included.

6. A deputy is likely to need the help of a solicitor

The process of becoming a deputy is long and costly, and the subsequent legal requirements like security bond, manage a Court Funds Office account, and report writing are also complex. More crucially, this happens at a time when the person you want to be a deputy for cannot make decisions for themselves. It is painful to know that you aren’t able to help the person immediately unless the Court of Protection has approved your application, or unless you have made an emergency application.

To make sure that the application goes through without a hitch and the subsequent requirements are handled carefully, most families turn to an experienced solicitor like us for assistance. Our solicitors for the elderly have been assisting families in South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to plan and safeguard their interests. Contact us today to kick-start a conversation on how we can assist you and your loved ones.

Plan for the future with a lasting power of attorney instead

Deputyship has pitfalls, as illustrated by the points above. To save your loved ones from going through the deputyship process, you can start appointing two lasting power of attorneys (LPA) instead – one for property and financial affairs and another one for health and welfare.

Once your LPAs are registered, you will have peace of mind in knowing that they are legally appointed and trusted individuals who can safeguard and protect your interests. Should an unfortunate event happen later, your spouse, children and relatives do not have to face the complications of a deputyship application nor manage the ongoing legal requirements.

Making an LPA application is easy if you have one of our solicitors working with you. Otherwise, mistakes in the application will see the Office of the Public Guardian rejecting your application, costing you time and money.

Call any of our local Foys offices today

If you found this interesting, check out:

This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

Relevant articles include:

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The danger of DIY Wills

The danger of DIY Wills

Errors in Wills are common and can lead to disputes which result in considerable legal costs taken from the estate. Find out why a DIY Will may not be a good option for you.

DIY Wills have been blamed for the sharp increase in the number of contested estates across the UK. Indeed, attempting to write your own Will may lead to devastating consequences. For instance, unclear clauses may see your relatives turn against one another or a loved one may choose to contest the validity of your Will. Sorting out arguments may result in costly legal action which will reduce the money in the estate.

To highlight the dangers of DIY Wills, our Wills, Trust and Probate team at Foys Solicitors shares the pitfalls to avoid and advises you to think twice before opting to do it yourself.

What is a Will, and why should a solicitor help me write one?

A Will is an important legal document, encompassing how you want your estate (property, possessions and finances) to be distributed among your family members and/or charitable organisations that are close to your heart after you have died. This legal document includes every asset you have, your beneficiaries and most importantly, the name of your executor(s) who will manage the distribution of everything that you have left behind.

Getting a solicitor to help you write one means your Will is well-considered and error-free. Here are a few scenarios where a solicitor can help and make sure your Will is watertight.

Beware that witnesses cannot benefit from your Will

The witnesses of your Will (and their spouses) cannot benefit from your Will. If a witness (or the spouse) is a beneficiary, the Will is valid but the beneficiary will not be able to inherit.

You suspect some family members will want to make a claim

Divorce and remarry are now common occurrences and many of us have blended families with multiple step-siblings and stepchildren. It is not easy to please all and if you suspect a family member may challenge the validity of your Will when the time comes, make sure you get a solicitor to help you create an error-free Will and minimise the stress your loved ones have to endure later.

You share a property with someone who is not your spouse

This is actually more common than one would expect – you may have purchased an investment property with a friend, helped a relative to buy a house and pay for the mortgages – as long as you share a property with someone who is not your spouse, get in touch to create a Will that protects your interest and your loved ones.

Other scenarios

When there is a business involved, when you want to set-up a trust, when you have property in another country, when you retire in another country but have property in the UK, when you wish to make provision for a dependent who is unable to care for themselves – these are some scenarios when a solicitor can help you create a watertight Will.

The dangers of DIY Wills

Without the guidance of an experienced solicitor, a DIY Will is likely to contain mistakes or omissions, leaving your family to argue over your possessions and property.

Remember, when disputes happen, the legal costs are likely to be paid for by your estate, meaning the values of your estate will reduce. Do not let a disgruntled relative keep your heirs and loved ones from the inheritance – you can minimise this risk by not using a DIY Will and making mistakes.

To write a Will, you must be over 18 and have mental capacity to understand the outcome of the document you are writing and signing. If you have been diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease, it is wise to contact us as soon as possible. Doing so will allow us to get medical evidence to say you understand what you are doing and we can help you create a Will that avoids future complications or doubts.

Also, a DIY Will is unlikely to accommodate the changing of your circumstances. For instance, you have children from your previous marriage and you are about to remarry – in this instance, it is wise to provide for them in a new Will to minimise the chance of them being disinherited in the future.

Common mistakes on a DIY Will

1. Incorrectly signed and witnessed

Your Will needs to be witnessed by two people who are present at the time of your signing for it to be legally binding. These witnesses must be UK citizens, 18 years or older and not be named as beneficiaries in your Will or married to someone who is.

2. Omitted assets or debts

Forgetting to mention assets in your Will means your heirs are not likely to get the amount specified. Also, it is important to consider debts like mortgages and how they may reduce the values of your estate.

Pecuniary and residuary legacies

If you have £100,000 in the bank, you may say your sister will get £20,000 (a specific sum of money which is considered a pecuniary legacy) and your child will get the remaining £80,000 (a residuary legacy). But by the time you die, the money in the bank may be just £20,000. This means your sister gets £20,000 and your child is left with nothing because residuary legacies are paid after pecuniary legacies.

Out of date

A new marriage will invalid any existing Will in England and Wales. Also, your named executor(s) or beneficiaries may have died before you.

Hand-written amendments

You cannot amend your Will after it has been signed and witnessed. The only way you can change a Will is by making an official alteration called a codicil which must be signed and witnessed.

Inappropriate executors

An executor will be considered inappropriate if they are under 18, do not feel capable of accepting the responsibility or live overseas.

What happens if your DIY Will is considered invalid?

If a Will is considered invalid, then the Rules of Intestacy apply. In this case, only a set of individuals will be entitled to inherit your estate and the order is as follows:

  • Your spouse or civil partner
  • Children, grandchildren, great grandchildren
  • Parents
  • Brothers and sisters (or their children)
  • Half-blood step brothers and sisters (or their children)
  • Grandparents
  • Uncles and aunts (or their children)
  • Half-blood step uncles and aunts (or their children)
  • The Crown

These may not be the people you have in mind as your heirs. Also, as the rules of intestacy do not acknowledge your unmarried partner, stepchildren, in-laws, friends and organisations you care about, they will not be able to cherish your legacy as a result.

By employing a dedicated and experienced solicitor to assist you with writing your Will, you can ensure that this will not happen. At Foys, our solicitors have decades of experience with Will writing, and you can rest assured that your wishes after death will be respected.

What does writing a Will entail?

The legal and correct process of writing a Will does not need to be complex or lengthy. With Foys, we will guide you every step of the way and make sure that your Will is well-considered and error-free, thereby preventing any misunderstandings and disputes among your relatives.

A valid Will needs to:

  • Be in writing, signed by you and witnessed by two people.
  • Have been written by you while you had the mental capacity to make and understand the effect of it.
  • Be made by you voluntarily, and without any pressure or coercion from another person.
  • Be completely free of errors and transparent as to what your wishes are.

Foys Solicitors is trusted with Will writing

With the assistance of our dedicated Will and Probate solicitors, the experience of creating your Will is made significantly straightforward and affordable. We offer competitive fixed standard fees for our services, safeguarding your wishes and putting you and your family at ease.

We do not want legal fees to deter you from protecting your interests in the future, so we offer a FREE initial consultation. This allows us to determine the best course of action and understand how we can help you.

To get in touch simply fill out our Online Form or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

If you found this interesting, check out:

Please note that although we may use the word solicitor, your case could be carried out by a legal advisor, legal executive or paralegal depending on the nature of the case.

This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below

Residential Property

Viewing and moving house is now allowed

Viewing and moving house is now allowed

As lockdown measures are being eased across England, buyers and renters can now view properties in person and move home.

When the lockdown began on 23 March, it was an unprecedented step to limit the spread of coronavirus. At that time, strict restrictions on the property market were imposed, causing many homeowners to wait anxiously for the pandemic to be contained quickly. Today, as lockdown measures are being eased across England, we can finally report that viewings and house moves are now allowed.

Property market to restart

Sellers, buyers, landlords and renters can finally breathe a sigh of relief as the property market is now allowed to operate from today.

What it means is that you can now view properties in person – although you must still follow strict social distancing measures when carrying out viewings.

It also means that hundreds of thousands of homeowners and buyers can now resume the delayed transactions.

The sale of a property requires a conveyancer to transfer the legal title. Our conveyancing team has been and still continue to assist clients without face-to-face appointments.

Whether you’re selling or buying a property, or you’re a landlord preparing to rent out your buy-to-let in the South Yorkshire region, talk to our Property and Conveyancing Solicitors today by calling your local Foys office or sending us a message via our Contact Form.

Please note that although we may use the word solicitor, your case could be carried out by a legal advisor, legal executive or paralegal depending on the nature of the case.

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below

domestic abuse solicitors support

Domestic violence and coronavirus: How Foys Solicitors can help you

Domestic violence and coronavirus: How Foys Solicitors can help you

Foys Solicitors’ domestic abuse and injunction solicitors can help those in need.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all adjusting to a new way of life. More of us are spending longer periods of time at home with family because of the Government guidance regarding social isolation. While many may relish the time at home with family, it’s important that we spare a thought for those who are experiencing domestic abuse. These stay-at-home guidelines are likely to reduce or even shut down routes to support and safety for victims who simply cannot find a means to separate from their perpetrator.

What is domestic abuse?

According to Women’s Aid, domestic abuse is an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence. In the majority of domestic abuse cases, partners or ex-partners are the perpetrators. However, other family members or even carers can also be abusers.

Isolation is a tactic used by domestic abuse perpetrators to control their victim. By keeping the victim isolated, there are fewer opportunities for them to actively seek help. There is also a decreased chance of any physical injuries being noticed. However, it is important to remember that domestic abuse is not just physical abuse, and a physical mark is not always left. Coercive and controlling behaviour, which is on the rise, is another common form of domestic abuse.

Government support for domestic abuse victims and charities

Following the first week of lockdown, domestic abuse charity Refuge said there had been a 25% increase in calls to the National Abuse Helpline and online requests. The Government has clarified that victims of abuse will be allowed to leave their homes to seek help despite the restrictions and said it would provide £2m in extra funding to support charities dedicated to helping victims of domestic abuse. Additionally, Home Secretary Priti Patel has also launched an initiative called “You Are Not Alone” to help those experiencing domestic abuse.

Although charities are seeing an increase in cases now, they’re also bracing themselves for a flood of those in need of help and support when the lockdown is over and people can move around more freely.

Legal solutions for victims of domestic abuse

The legal remedies which are available for victims of domestic abuse include applying for a non-molestation order (commonly known as an injunction) or an occupation order. Such an application can be made urgently where circumstances require it. A statement setting out the nature of the difficulties and the remedy sought is required to support an application.

An application for a non-molestation order and/or occupation order can be applied for when there has been physical violence, when threats of such behaviour have been made, or there has been intimidation and/or harassment.

A non-molestation order aims to control a person’s abusive behaviour by requiring them to refrain from undertaking a particular act, whereas an occupation order would seek to regulate the living arrangements of a family home.

Breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence. Breach of an occupation order could result in the police being required to arrest the perpetrator if a Power of Arrest is attached to the order.

Not being able to come face to face with a lawyer may make a victim question whether it is worth seeking legal advice about the remedies available to protect them. While Courts are closed to the public, in many cases judges, lawyers and court staff are still working to ensure access to justice is available. The Courts have embraced technology available to conduct hearings remotely by telephone or video call and where necessary at short notice.

Foys Solicitors is here to help domestic abuse victims

Foys Solicitors is keen to ensure that victims of domestic abuse do not suffer in silence and understand that help is always available, especially during this lockdown period.

At Foys Solicitors, we continue to operate a full service to all clients, albeit from a remote working environment. Modern technology allows us to help with matters in ways we would have considered unconventional before the nation’s lockdown. We can offer initial and subsequent meeting via video calling services such as Skype and FaceTime. Anyone seeking advice, on a confidential basis, should not hesitate to contact your local Foys Solicitors office or via our contact page.

Our team of Domestic Abuse and Injunction solicitors will always be here to help you through your situation.

Our offices are:

Please note: Domestic abuse remains one of the areas in which Legal Aid is still available.

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Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

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Protect your loved ones with dementia from financial abuse

Protect your loved ones with dementia from financial abuse

Dementia patients are some of the most at-risk individuals for financial abuse. However, there are several steps you can take to ensure your family member’s safety.

According to the Alzheimer’s society, 850,000 people have dementia in the UK today and that number is expected to rise to 1 million by 2025. The chances of getting dementia for over 65-year olds are about 1 in 14. When the disease progresses, it can be hard to watch our loved one slip away, gradually losing the ability to care for themselves.

Dementia and fraud

Considering how upsetting dementia can be on your family members and those who wish to help, it may come as a shock that there are people out there who would use your family member’s vulnerability to their advantage, seeking to financially manipulate and abuse them for monetary gain.  Perpetrators of this kind of abuse prey upon dementia patient’s memory loss, reduced cognitive function and emotional instability.

Incidents of financial abuse of people with dementia are far more common than we would like to think. Published in 2015, the Financial Abuse Evidence Review by Age UK noted that ‘those who have dementia or reduced cognitive function are the subgroup of people who are most at risk of being victims of financial abuse.’ The report indicated that nearly 130,000 people aged 65 and over in the UK had suffered financial abuse. This, however, is a rough estimate as many cases are not reported.

Victims of financial abuse can be left bankrupt, unable to pay for the crucially important support and care that they need. Furthermore, financial abuse can be extremely emotionally traumatic for both the victim and their support group. So following a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, this NHS website encourages patients to start getting support, making a Will, putting your papers in order, claiming benefits, appointing Lasting Powers of Attorney and planning for advance care, to name but a few.

In this article, our protection of the elderly team at Foys wants to go one step further by discussing measures which you can take to safeguard the financial affairs of your relative who is suffering from dementia.

What does financial abuse look like?

The Care Act 2014 defines financial abuse as a type of abuse which includes ‘having money or other property stolen, being defrauded, being put under pressure in relation to money or other property, and, having money or other property misused.’ This kind of abuse can start subtly and is often hard to detect. The abuse can take many forms and it is important to note that it is often associated with other kinds of abuse.

Examples of financial abuse could be:

  • Forging signatures on cheques
  • Taking pension payments or other benefits away from the person with dementia
  • Pressuring the victim to act as guarantor for a loan
  • Withholding money from the individual with dementia
  • Stealing money or belongings
  • Forcing someone to make changes in their Will, property or inheritance

Who are the perpetrators?

While phone and email scams are certainly out there to defraud your loved ones, it may surprise you that perpetrators of financial abuse are likely closer to home than you may think. In a study published by Age UK, they quoted a study which states that 70% of financial abuse is committed by close family members due to their proximity and previous relationship to the individual. Furthermore, almost 50% of financial abuse in the UK is carried out by ‘adult children’ – grown-up sons and daughters.

Individuals with dementia may also be vulnerable to those in positions of power who are in constant contact with the individuals. These individuals will attempt to either threaten or get very close to their victim in an attempt at extorting information regarding their possessions and finances.

The warning signs of financial abuse

Financial abuse can be hard to spot, especially when the victim has dementia and may not be able to remember the fraud taking place or have information about it. However, there are a number of warning signs of financial abuse that you can look out for:

  • Stress and anxiety expressed with the person with dementia
  • Money loss that can’t be explained
  • Signatures on cheques that do not fit their handwriting
  • Unusual purchases in bank statements
  • Large amounts of cash being withdrawn from the bank account
  • Notices of unpaid bills
  • Lack of money to pay for essentials when there should be sufficient funds

Three steps to protect one’s financial affairs

Dementia is a degenerative disease. This means that as time goes by your family member’s ability to make and remember decisions is going to decrease. Considering this, it is imperative that as soon as your family member is diagnosed with the disease you begin to implement plans concerning their financial future. Early planning ensures that they are able to make their own decisions while they still can. During these discussions it is important to ensure that there is a trusted and vigilant support network so, if possible, no one person is responsible for everything. Within these conversations, there are a number of frameworks and safeguards that can be put in place to protect the individual with dementia.

One of these vital frameworks is the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This act is vital in informing the early planning process. The act assumes a person ‘to have capacity unless it is established that [they] lack capacity’ and if not, facilitates decisions to be made on their behalf ‘in [their] best interest.’

Step 1: Appoint a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

One of the best ways to safeguard against financial abuse is to plan ahead and appoint a trusted person to act as your attorney through a legal arrangement called the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An attorney does not have to be a legal professional but someone who is trustworthy, financially-minded and will not take advantage of you when you are at your most vulnerable. More than one attorney can be appointed.

There are two different types of LPAs:

Property and Financial Affairs

This is where a person (known as a donor) appoints a trusted family member or friend (known as an attorney) to make decisions on the management of property, bills, bank or building society account, pensions and possessions held by the donor. Once the attorney is registered, he/she can start to act and make decisions.

Welfare and Health

This is where a person (a donor) appoints someone (an attorney) to make decisions regarding medical care and medical needs in the future such as the choice of a care home, healthcare provider and the choice of life-sustaining treatment. This can only be used once the donor can no longer make their own decisions.

LPAs must be error-free and must also be registered with the government through the Office of the Public Guardian. Considering the vital importance of LPAs, it is crucial they are completed and processed right the first time around. Contact one of our elderly care solicitors at Foys and you can be safe in the knowledge that this process is left in experienced hands.

Step 2: Create a Will (if they haven’t already)

If your family member has not made a Will, it is important to begin making one as soon as they are diagnosed. As time goes on, they may not be able to make clear and rational judgements so the earlier a Will is made, the safer you can be in the knowledge it is their genuine wishes expressed in the document.

When your family member is writing their Will, it is important that they attain medical evidence to indicate they are mentally fit enough to make independent decisions still. For more information about the importance of writing a Will and what it should include, follow the link.

At Foys, our specialised and professional Will solicitors can assist your loved one in creating their Will, making sure that the document is error-free and uncontestably against anyone who may challenge the validity of the Will later.

Step 3: Protect against phone and internet fraud

If you are not a full-time carer looking after your loved one with dementia, beware that fraud schemes such as spam emails and bot-callers pose a real risk to your loved one’s finances. A recent US study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine highlighted that people with dementia had a far higher risk of falling for these sorts of scams. This fact, coupled with the reality that most individuals above the age of 65 may not be the most tech-savvy, means that technological protection is crucial.

In order to proactively protect your relative with dementia and their financial affairs, it is worth making sure that your relative’s email accounts block all spam or junk mails. Furthermore, most phone companies offer systems which only allows calls from known phone numbers to be taken. Alternatively, you can set up an anonymous call rejection system on their landline.

Top 5 tips to lower fraud risk

1. Utilise online banking to track their money

Online banking can be your best friend when it comes to tackling fraud. By making sure that you have access to your family member’s account, you will be able to track their weekly spend, pensions, bills and any other direct debits coming in or out.

2. Make them known at their bank

While tracking one’s online banking can be extremely useful, sometimes fraudsters may trick them into withdrawing money in person at the bank. Many banks have internal structures in place to identify and monitor an account that is at risk, so make sure the bank know that your relative may be at risk of fraud.

3. Make an emergency action plan

Having a worst-case scenario plan is key to quickly react to unexplained money coming out of your family member’s account, especially when they have lost the ability to manage their own financial affairs. Contact the bank and all other relevant establishments in order to block the fraud. Reducing the amount they have in a bank and setting up a separate ‘rainy day fund’ is also a good idea. This way, your loved one has a backup of financial support.

4. Make sure any financial information is kept properly

When visiting the home or living accommodation of an individual with dementia, it is a good idea to make sure any sensitive financial information is taken and kept somewhere else. People with dementia may lose or misplace vital documents which could be used or misappropriated by someone else.

5. Create a checklist of valuable possessions

Value and organise valuable possessions that they own with a few trusted family members to keep tally of the location, price and number of possessions. This will help in quickly identifying if anything has been taken or stolen.

Foys can help individuals with dementia to plan for the future

At Foys, our solicitors have been championing the protection of the elderly for years now. Our elderly care legal experts have solid experience in helping senior people plan and safeguard their legal and financial affairs. We are here to provide any legal advice and support that you and your loved one may need.

To kick-start the discussions about Lasting Powers of Attorney, creating a Will, setting up a Trust, as well as advice on planning for care home fees and protecting one’s assets, take advantage of our FREE initial consultation by simply filling out our Online Form.

Alternatively, you can call your local Foys Solicitors office:

You might also like:

This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstance. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below

Will writing

Continuing to help with your Wills during the COVID-19 lockdown

Continuing to help with your Wills during the COVID-19 lockdown

Here at Foys, we can still help you with your Will, despite the COVID-19 lockdown

We, at Foys understand that with the outbreak of the Coronavirus we are all going through unprecedented and worrying times.

This may put certain things such as making Wills to the forefront of people’s minds, but we also understand that with the guidelines issued by the Government, the “traditional” way of signing and witnessing Wills in a face-to-face setting would not be suitable.

We know most of our clients would feel safer completing Wills from the safety of their own homes. That is why our solicitors at Foys have devised new procedures to take Will instructions via Skype. For those who are unable to use Skype via “contactless appointments”, we attend at your property and take instructions at a safe distance without even entering your property.

When it comes to signing and witnessing the Wills, we can send the Wills to you with comprehensive instructions of how to get it signed and witnessed. If you are unable to gather two witnesses to witness your Wills, we can attend the property and witness the Wills with you, again at a safe distance without entering your property.

If you would like to hear more about our Will drafting services please do not hesitate to contact us on the relevant telephone number for your local office:

You can also send us a message online by filling out our Contact Form.

With our best wishes,


Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below

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The top 5 things you need to know about contesting a Will

The top 5 things you need to know about contesting a Will

When a loved one passes away, it can be disheartening to learn that the Will of the deceased does not truly reflect their final wishes.

After the loss of a loved one, contesting the deceased’s Will is not a scenario that most family members would like to contemplate. In reality, with many of us having blended family and seeing loved ones losing their mental ability due to neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, it is common for people to question if a deceased’s Will truly reflects their final wishes.

If you find yourself in this challenging spot where you (and/or a relative) question the validity of the Will, read on to find out:

  • Common grounds for contesting a Will
  • When complicated scenarios arise
  • Who can challenge a Will
  • The process of challenging a Will
  • How long does contesting a Will take

Alternatively, you can also come and discuss your situations with one of our Wills, trust and probate team at Foys.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legally-binding document that dictates exactly how and to whom your estate (property, cash and possessions) should be distributed upon your death.

1. Common grounds for contesting a Will

Just because a Will seems unfair or unexpected does not mean you have grounds to challenge the Will. So in this section, we will discuss some of the common grounds to contest a Will.

Lack of testamentary capacity

Testamentary capacity is a legal term that is used to describe the mental capacity and comprehension needed of the person writing the Will (the testator). If the person making the Will did not seem to be fully aware of what they were doing, then you could challenge the Will under these circumstances.

Undue influence

If a person was unduly influenced at the time of signing, the Will could become invalid. An example is a carer who has taken control of a person’s day-to-day life and has become a major beneficiary.

How the Will was signed and witnessed

For a Will to be valid, it needs to be signed by the person making it (the testator) and witnessed by two individuals.


This could range from someone producing a Will with forgeries, a fake Will, to someone presenting the testator with a Will to sign but telling them that they were signing another document.

Lack of financial provision

Anyone who is financially dependent on the deceased should be given adequate provision in his or her Will. If you are a spouse, civil partner, child of the deceased or an individual who has been financially dependent on the deceased and you have been completely disinherited, you could challenge the Will.

Incorrect Will was used

For some people, updating their Will as circumstances change is a sensible option and the latest Will should cancel the previous Will by default. But if the executors are not aware of the new Will and they have acted on the old Will, then you could contest the (old) Will especially when the latest Will is found.

2. Complicated scenarios

Testamentary freedom, meaning you have the right to give your money to who you like, is upheld by the court time and again. Here are two scenarios under which your claim may not be successful unless you have strong evidence.

Someone has promised you something

It is fairly common to hear a loved one making a promise like your mom would give you her house when she passes, or your granddad would leave you £20k when he passes. When the Will is finally revealed, you are shocked to see that it doesn’t contain the promised made to you.

An unfair Will doesn’t automatically mean you can contest it. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be able to contest the Will if you have contributed financially to your mom’s house, or you have been financially dependent on your granddad. It will be up the judge to decide if you have a right to the estate that you are claiming against.

The complexity of a blended family

In this day and age, it is common for couples to separate and remarry. It is possible that one of your parents has remarried and died without a will or has left everything to your stepparent who then disinherits you.

If you are in this situation, you could contest the Will on the grounds of lack of financial provision, if you have been financially dependent on the deceased.

3. Who can challenge a Will?

In theory, anyone can challenge the validity of a Will. However, usually people who were closed to the deceased may choose to do so.

If you are contesting a Will because it does not give you reasonable financial provision, then you must fall into one of the following categories:

  • A spouse or civil partner
  • A former spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership
  • A child or a grandchildren
  • An individual who has been financially dependent on the deceased

4. The process of challenging a Will

Before you kick-start the process of contesting a Will, it is worth taking a minute to review the following points:

  • You have a valid reason like the signature was a forgery or the deceased was being bullied into changing the Will
  • You have evidence (medical records, witness statements) to support your claims
  • You have the legal right if you are contesting on the ground of financial provision
  • You do so within the time limit

Time limits

How much time you have to contest a Will depends upon the nature of the claim:

  • You have six months to make a claim from the issue of the grant of probate if you are contesting on the ground of Inheritance Act.
  • You have 12 years from the date of death if making a beneficiary claim against the estate.
  • You can make a claim at any time (no time limit) in the event of fraud, like when the executor has misappropriated assets.

We encourage you to call one of our local offices and discuss your situation with a qualified Will, Trust and Probate solicitor at Foys first. Once we have verified that you have a case, we can help you to submit a formal claim to the Probate Registry office. This claim will stop the probate process, meaning the deceased’s estate cannot be distributed unless the dispute is resolved.

5. How long does contesting a Will take

The process of contesting a Will in court could take years, which is why our Wills, Trust and Probate team at Foys works with you and together we aim to resolve the issues amicably with the estate of the deceased through mediation first. Mediation is less expensive than going to court, saving you time, effort and money.

While mediation is preferred, sometimes it does not work and the case will go to court. If this happens, you can be certain that our legal team at Foys will be with you every step of the way.

Before contesting a Will, call Foys Solicitors first

Contesting a Will is a potentially costly exercise and the estate you are claiming against might not have enough money to pay you by the time the process has gone through court. This is why our solicitors at Foys encourage you to come and discuss your case with us first. Let us give you an honest review so you know your options.

Aiming to reach an amicable agreement with the estate you are claiming against through mediation is also a sensible option. Mediation can save you time and money.

When it comes to cases with evidence to suggest that the deceased did not understand the document they were signing, they were unduly coerced at the time of signing, or fraud was present, you can count on us to protect your interests throughout the process.

To kick-start the discussions about contesting a Will, fill out our Online Form and we would be in touch soon.

Alternatively, you can call your local Foys Solicitors office:

You might also like:

This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstance. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below

Will appointments and other private client services

Will appointments and other private client services

We, at Foys understand that we are all going through unprecedented and worrying times.

This may put certain things such as making Wills to the forefront of people’s minds along with Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate advice. We, at Foys are continuing to offer an uninterrupted service to existing and new clients and in doing so we can still provide these services via Skype and in some circumstances contactless home appointments.

If you wish to discuss these services further, please do not hesitate to contact us on the relevant telephone number for your local office:

You can also contact us via the Contact Us page.

For information about our services, take a look at our Wills, Trusts and Probate page.

With our best wishes,


Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below