Armed Forces Day 2021

I would like to wish all those who are currently serving in or with the Armed Forces, or have served in the past, and their families, all the very best for this year`s Armed Forces Day on 26 June.

Before I moved into a career in the law back in 1996, I was fortunate enough to have had my first career as an Army officer in The Gordon Highlanders, now the 4th Battalion – The Royal Regiment of Scotland.  The Regiment was almost 200 years old when I joined as a young platoon commander shortly after finishing my degree and on the eve of a two week NATO exercise in, what was then, West Germany (This was in the days of the Cold War!)

I met my platoon of 30 “Jocks” in the field and they were mainly from Aberdeen and the North-East of Scotland, Glasgow and one or two fellow “southerners” like me! It was the beginning of a highly rewarding and worthwhile career, with some incredible people and times, which all provided me with an invaluable experience for life and work outside the military for the future.

I think the two most influential experiences from my time serving were comradeship and the wish to provide a worthwhile and important service.  I find this is the same with the wide number of clients and colleagues I have worked with over the last 25 years who are serving still, or have served in the past.

My career in law as a private client lawyer, and now as a consultant, has been significantly influenced by my time in the Armed Forces, and particularly with my time in the Regiment.  It was, still is, and always will be, a very important and influential part of my life.

Since setting up my own Wills and Estate Planning Consultancy early last year, I have been able to begin to do something I have wanted to do for a long time, and that is to try and put something back into the military.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to begin working with some local stations (bases) offering services such as free drop-in Wills and Estate Planning Clinics (where anyone on the stations – military or non-military – can discuss any questions, concerns or matters regarding Wills and related matters), and information briefings.  These are currently being offered virtually, but will continue on station once the current Covid restrictions allow. I am hoping to be able to offer these, and similar, services to other military bases, organisations and charities in the future.

I am pleased to hold a registered Armed Forces Covenant and offer a 10% discount to all military personnel and their families, whether serving or retired, on any legal work I carry out for them.

If you would like to discuss any matters with me at any time, or have any questions, please contact me on [email protected] or 01296 415700.

Happy Armed Forces Day!

With my military background, I am delighted to be working with military personnel, both serving and retired.  I am also working closely with certain military bases, offering both free Wills and Estate Planning Clinics and giving briefings on related matters.

Wills & Lasting Powers of Attorney

Having served in the army (The Gordon Highlanders, now 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland) and then having specialised in private client law, I do recommend that serving (and retired) military personnel consider having a professionally drawn up Will prepared.

Wills

By preparing your Will, whether it is straight forward or more detailed, you can ensure that who you want to benefit from your assets will do so in as straight forward way as possible.  You can also decide who you would want to look after your estate. A professionally prepared Will can provide both you and your family security and peace of mind.  (Please see the notes under Individual Wills and estate planning for more details.)

I offer a friendly, but professional and pragmatic approach towards advising on Wills and related matters. I also understand many of the issues that you, and your family, may well be going through with the various factors and demands of military life, having been part of it myself.

If you need to prepare your Will quickly, such as due to operational or exercise requirements, this will be arranged for you.  My aim is to make the whole Will making process as straight forward, stress free and user friendly as possible.

Lasting Powers of Attorney and Powers of Attorney

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) that enable you to authorise your attorneys to look after your affairs, should you either wish them to, or should they need to, due to your no longer being able to manage your own affairs.  This could be due to your being away on operations, exercise or overseas postings, or due to health issues.  (Please see Individuals – Powers of Attorney for more details).

The two types of LPA are:

  • Property and Financial Affairs LPA

These give your attorneys the authority to look after your property and financial affairs for you, such as your bank accounts.

  • Health and Welfare LPA

These give your attorneys the authority to make decisions for you regarding both medical matters, such as what medical treatment you do, or don`t have, and where you live.  (Unlike the Property LPAs, these can only be used by your attorneys if you had lost, or were losing, your mental faculties.)

LPAs need to be registered with the Office of Public Guardian before they can be used, and this can take several weeks.  If you need a power of attorney put in place quickly, again, such as due to operational or exercise requirements, a different power of attorney (a general power of attorney) can be prepared for you as a stop gap before the LPAs can be completed.

Conveyancing, Family Law and Financial Planning

There are some areas of law and advice, that overlap closely with the legal work I specialise in. For those that I am not qualified to advise on myself, I have developed strong and long-term professional relationships with other advisors who could assist you in these areas.

The three main areas are listed below:

Conveyancing

Whether still serving, or retired from the military, you may well want to buy or sell properties.  This may possibly be for your new home, or as an investment for later.

Whatever the reason, or whenever you decide to deal with this, working with a specialist property legal advisor is extremely important to help you through the process, and to make it all as straight forward and stress free as possible.

Although I do not personally carry out this line of legal advice, I work closely with property legal specialists who do, and can make introductions for you.

Family Law

If you are unfortunately going through any aspect of family break down or related family issues, an understanding, but experienced and specialist family legal advisor is essential to help you through this difficult and stressful time.

Again, although I do not personally deal with this area of law, I work closely with family law legal specialists who could assist you.

Financial Planning

Financial planning is extremely important at various stages in your lifetime. This could be on planning leaving the forces to start a new career, on retirement and pension planning, or generally planning for you and your family`s financial security.

It could also be a question of requiring financial advice regarding a property purchase or move, or potentially complex pension sharing arrangements following a family breakdown.

I am not personally authorised to offer any financial advice, however I have developed strong professional relationships over the years with experienced and specialist financial planners.  We frequently work together offering our clients comprehensive advice.  If I can assist you by introducing you to a specialist financial advisor at any time, please let me know.

Visit the Armed Forces Covenant website for more information on how to support those who serve.

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