Jill Latimer, Associate Solicitor in our Wills & Probate Department. has successfully passed as assessment in Older Client Care Practice (OCCP) as part of the ongoing professional training required as a Full Professional Member of Solicitors for the Elderly.
Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) is an independent, national organisation of lawyers, such as solicitors, barristers, and legal executives who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.
As an organisation, SFE is committed to raising awareness of legal issues affecting older and vulnerable clients and delivering high quality training and best practice to its members so that they can give high quality advice to their clients. SFE aims to build relationships with key statutory and voluntary bodies, agencies, charities, housing, health and social care providers, the financial services sector and other related organisations who are interested in the well-being of the elderly and vulnerable and, as a body, provide input into legislative and policy changes and contribute to debates on policy. SFE is the first port of call for older people looking for legal advice in areas affecting older and vulnerable clients.
Membership is open to all qualified lawyers who have established a set level of experience in advising on the legal issues which affect the older client i.e. solicitors, barristers and legal executives.
SFE members are all specialists in older client law, but what sets SFE members apart from other lawyers are their specialist client care skills that enable them to advice and support older and vulnerable clients.
In essence, the OCCP Award is not about legal training, its focus is firmly on evidencing and building good older client service and communications. A 21st century professional service based purely on legal technical expertise will no longer offer enough. Clients can naturally assume that you know the law, but what sets the older client practitioner apart is being able to communicate and translate legal expertise into clear explanations of the options for clients and their families and guiding them through the process sensitively.
The OCCP Award aims to show that the older client practitioner is an individual experienced in dealing with older and vulnerable clients on a regular basis and has a good understanding of the needs and additional considerations required when acting for older and vulnerable clients, their families and representatives. The older client practitioner understands both the potential physical and cognitive limitations that may affect the way advice is given to older and vulnerable clients and has the requisite level of interpersonal soft skills and ability to communicate well.
Jill also attends a fortnightly Wills advice service arranged via Age UK Tameside, a charity for the over 50's, which is primarily aimed at the preparation of Wills but can also be an initial contact point for anyone wanting assistance or advice in relation to Lasting Powers of Attorney, Probate issues, Deputyship applications, estate planning and protection of assets, care planning and older client issues generally.