Lasting Powers of Attorney
Court of Protection
Vulnerable Person Discretionary Trusts
Education, Health & Care Plans
Wills & Estate Planning
IHT & Care Free Planning
Trusts, preparation and management
NHS & LA Funding for Care
Wills & Probate
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Kathryn Sykes Bsc (Hons), FCILEx, TEP
Chartered Legal Executive
Trust & Estate Practitioner
Full Accredited Member of Solicitors for the Elderly
I started working in the law more than twenty yeas ago. I studied with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executive (CILEX) while working full-time in a Wills, Trust & Probate Department. I was learning the theory at the same time as gaining practical experience. After the first two years of the course I specialised in general Wills, Trust & Probate Matters, qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2004. During my studies, in 2002 I expanded my specialisations and moved into Older & Vulnerable Client Law. I joined Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), initially as an associate member moving through the grades to now be a fully accredited member. I attended every course that I could find that covered any aspect of the law that would affect my elderly or vulnerable clients. While on maternity leave with my eldest son, I started the Trust & Estate Practitioner Diploma with the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, (STEP) which earned me the additional qualification of Trust & Estate Practitioner. A few years later I studied the Contentious Trust & Probate Diploma with the Association of Contentious Trust & Probate Practitioners (ACTAPS). Then in 2016 I trained as a SEND Tribunal Representative with IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice). In between these various qualifications I directed my studies to learning more about the issues affecting my older and vulnerable clients, especially dementia, autism and ADAH. I completed the Dementia Friends training originally in 203, with a refresher in 2018.
I have specialist experience in helping clients with issues that affect their capacity, such as dementia, Autism and learning difficulties.
Some clients may initially come to see me as their child has Special Educational Needs and they are being assessed for an Education, Health & Care Plan and need advice and support, or help appealing the final plan issued. Then the parents come back to me to carry out their own estate planning to protect their vulnerable child's inheritance, often by use of specialist trusts. I will then make Lasting Powers of Attorney for the child when they reach 18, if they have the capacity, or make a Court of Protection application, if they don't. Meanwhile, I may be helping the grandparents with Inheritance Tax and care fee planning as well as looking to the future and making Lasting Powers of Attorney for them in case they lose mental or physical capacity in the future. The grandparents may then go into care and I help their family with Local Authority and NHS Funding for care. Finally, the grandparents pass away and deal with the administration of their estate.
In some situations older or vulnerable clients need support but they don't have people in their circle that are in a position to provide it. In those cases I often take on the role of Attorney (or Deputy) for them, building a close bond with those clients, that lasts for many years.
I have worked for traditional law firms for the majority of my working life, however I have increasingly found that there are so few lawyers that can provide the range of services to older and vulnerable clients that I can. In order to expand the areas in which I provide services, in 2018 I became a consultant working through solicitors firms in different locations.