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Personal experience has led solicitor Joanne Bury to set up her own legal practice that is forging a ground-breaking way of offering professional help during what can be a distressing time. Photography: Vanessa Fry
Specialising in Probate, Wills and Power of Attorney, Bury’s Solicitors was founded by Joanne Bury, a dynamic legal professional, who has decided to do things a little differently when it comes to advising and helping clients.
As a teenager, Joanne’s grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s: “My mum had a full time job and was bringing up two kids and coping with my grandma, she didn’t have time to take half a day off to go and see a solicitor to obtain Power of Attorney to make decisions on her mum’s behalf. It was just so stressful, during what was a really emotional time,” recalls Joanne, who then had the harrowing experience of coping with her late mum’s own early-onset dementia and subsequent death.
Recognising that many clients are struggling to cope with elderly relatives or bereavement, while leading busy working lives themselves, Joanne and colleague Charlotte Huxley, also a solicitor, offer a super-efficient ‘no-frills’ service that:
• Gives professional legal advice during distressing and emotional times
• Deals with all the necessary personal paperwork
• Explains the simple ins and outs of what can be complex legal processes
• Visits clients in their homes on a date and time to suit them
• Understands the importance of flexibility
Working from their office in the heart of the countryside, Joanne, Charlotte and consultant solicitor Chris Raven, who have almost 63 years’ combined experience as qualified solicitors, share the same ethos when it comes to advising their clients. They totally understand that the area of law they are dealing with is often charged with emotion and fraught with difficult decisions.
Power of Attorney
Joanne regards Power of Attorney as an absolute necessity for everyone, no matter what their current health. Power of Attorney gives someone the legal power to make decisions on someone else’s behalf in terms of finance and property and health and welfare.
“You never know what is round the corner. I have seen families at their wits end when a parent or relative has suddenly been housebound or taken ill, and they can’t even pay a gas bill on their behalf to get the heating back on. Once you have Power of Attorney, you can make decisions, pay bills and do all the necessary things to help.”
Court of Protection
If someone doesn’t have a Power of Attorney to make decisions for someone else, they then need to go through the Court of Protection, a lengthy, complex and costly process. Joanne advises: “If necessary this is a route that we can take but it can take a long time, which can be very stressful. That is why we urge clients to get Power of Attorney, which is always there if needed.”
On the subject of Wills, Joanne stresses the need to get a qualified solicitor to draw up your Will NOT a ‘will-writer’ who may not be qualified: “At Bury’s Solicitors we are qualified solicitors and bound by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. There are a lot of misconceptions about Wills and inheritance. Your Will is probably the most important document you will ever create – it is your legacy and it has to be right. If it isn’t clear then it can cause a lot of tension within families.”
Dealing with probate can be time consuming and complicated. Joanne explains: “If someone is made an executor of a Will, they may not have a clue what that involves, they often don’t know where to start as there are so many things they need to do. They need to find out about bank accounts, shares, pensions and tax returns. Clients often come to us overwhelmed. It’s often a case of them, quite literally, handing over huge boxes of paperwork that needs sorting – and that’s what we do. We can do as much or as little as a client requires.”
As working mums with two children, both Joanne and Charlotte, who have previously worked for two of the largest law firms in the North West, totally understand the need for flexibility when advising clients during what can be an extremely harrowing time.
“When I qualified as a solicitor I knew that things could be done differently. Many of our clients lead busy lives, they are working and it’s not easy for them to take time off.”
“We go out and see people at a time to suit them. We recognise that many people will feel much more comfortable in their own home on a day and time that is convenient for them. We are very informal and people seem to like that.”
“All our business comes on recommendation and as soon as clients hear about what we do they say they wish they had heard about us sooner!”
Joanne, Charlotte and consultant solicitor Chris work throughout the North West region. They take part in local seminars and drop-in sessions and Joanne is a university lecturer in law.
If you would like advice on any of the above issues call Joanne on 01254 814186 for a FREE discussion about your requirements or go to www.burys-solicitors.co.uk