What A Drag It Is, Getting Old.

What A Drag It Is, Getting Old.

The words of course are from “Mother’s Little Helper”, written when the Rolling Stones themselves were young. And the Helper in question was prescription medication. But the sentiment is as true now as it ever was.

One more quote

“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”― Andy Rooney

Apart from anything else – getting old creates practical problems, not least mobility and shopping.

According to a Mental Health Charity report this week, link here there are millions of people who have been trusted with Bank cards [and their PINs] by the people they care for.

Often these are people who are not suffering from any mental illness, but who cannot get out and about, and who cannot deal with their own Banks.

BUT, Banks require to deal with their customers direct. They will not talk to neighbours or helpful friends of their account holders and this is understandable. I am sure that, if you are a healthy young person in your prime of life the idea of your Bank sharing your private details with a third party would be horrifying.

But if you are deaf so you can’t use the phone, and too frail to go to the Bank, what to do?

This week a Notary Colleague of mine has written:-

I act for a client who has dementia. Her Bank has ignored my letters advising them of a change of address from the flat sold in 2014, and when she wrote [with my help] to give them the same information they said they would not accept written advice because of fraud and she must telephone them. She cannot hear anything on the phone. So with help she wrote telling them and they replied that she must telephone them!

Similarly the bank will not accept written instructions to transfer the balances.

So what are folk to do? One way is the way millions of people have decided to act. Just pretend!

If you are Mrs X, a neighbour and friend of Mrs Y who is deaf and bed-bound, then you use her card and you use her PIN. When you phone the Bank you introduce yourself as Mrs Y.

You tell lies.

The point that the Charity makes is, this pragmatic behaviour surely can’t be the way forward.

And it is risky too, whether for the account owner or for the friend who is trying to help. They are both, for the best of reasons, defrauding a Bank. And with hindsight, that behaviour can be presented in a very different light and even with criminal consequences.

As the population ages this kind of problem is not going away, but what are the alternatives?

Most people already know that in England you can make a “Lasting Power of Attorney” and the Government is minded to try to make this course easier. You can now make your Lasting Power on line at this website

So that’s all sorted, on to the next problem?

Err, no. Not really.

Problem number one, folk are getting into a muddle. Making it possible to create a complicated document like a lasting Power of Attorney online all by yourself without a lawyer is fraught with danger.

Danger of getting it wrong.

Danger that the person online is actually a greedy relative pretending to be the “Patient” (who is in fact already too far into dementia to know what is going on.).

Danger that mistakes will cost a lot more, in the long run, than the fees a Solicitor would charge now.

Thing is, most people who can afford a Solicitor are well aware that the Power of Attorney is too difficult and dangerous a beast to contemplate trying to DIY it online. The people tempted to use the website may be the people least able to do so. There is a warning paper link here prepared by the group of Lawyers called Solicitors For The Elderly.

[If you are a cynic you may think, well they are Solicitors, of course they will say you should use a Solicitor. In my experience, any Solicitor who has chosen to make a career in the realm of advice for the elderly rather than say Commercial Property and Banking, is not usually guided by ideas of getting rich. Am I naive, my view is that these Solicitors actually care?]

And problem number two, the Banks still have not trained their staff fully about these Powers of Attorney. Still they do not understand them. They think in black and white. If an Attorney has been appointed, it is not always the case that the Donor has lost capacity and that the Power should be registered with the Court.

The Banks in the main do not read the Powers of Attorney documents or seek to distinguish a Power which is expressed to let the Bank Account be operated by EITHER the owner OR his Attorney.

So again, the intention that the document should simply assist a carer to deal with an older person’s banking is defeated, if the Bank says it will only allow this on the basis that the Bank account is completely changed into the Carer’s name.

Because then, the account owner is effectively locked out of their account and can ONLY operate through the Attorney – and now the Bank will not accept your phone calls at all, only those from the Attorney. Now only the carer can sign cheques or make phone calls about the account. This is not usually what is wanted, when the infirmities are physical and not mental

Sledgehammer. Nut.

This needs sorting out. No-one is Peter Pan.

“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”
― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

This week’s song is a good one, though fittingly sombre. Bones. link here

As ever, do contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or notary@atkinsonnotary.com] where we shall be more than happy to assist whenever you have paperwork to be processed for foreign countries.


Be Cautious. Understand Your Document Before You Sign It. Make Sense?

A Note of Caution, Always a Good Idea. Do You Understand Your Document?

When you come to see me as a Notary, I will facilitate your transaction. I mean, I will make the documentation you sign in my presence acceptable to the foreign jurisdiction.

If it needs two witnesses in addition to me [South Africa, Zimbabwe, California USA, India] we will provide them.

If it needs two witnesses of whom I can be one, [Florida USA] we will do that.

If the document needs to be signed by you in the presence of witnesses and then notarized in respect of the witnesses only, [some Caribbean Countries] we will do that.

If the document needs Foreign and Commonwealth Apostille after notarization [most Countries] we will do that.

If it needs Arab-British Chamber stamps [Middle Eastern Countries], we do it.

Consular legalisation [China, UAE, many others], yes we do.

If it needs translating into Portuguese [Dominican Republic] guess what, yes, we do that too.

There is more, but perhaps the point is made that whatever is needed to ensure your document is correct for the jurisdiction to which you will send it [and of course, we can send it there for you, by FedEx] – we know what to do and we will do it well.

HOWEVER, all of the above is relating to the form and manner of execution of your paperwork. The notarial gift-wrapping, you could say.

What we cannot do, and must not do if we could, is explain to you the meaning of the paperwork you are asking us to witness. Still less, give you any advice as to whether you are doing the sensible thing.

We cannot tell you whether your proposed Attorney is honest.

We cannot tell you whether your Chinese language paperwork exactly reflects your intentions and is correctly worded for use in the Chinese Court.

And of course if the document is written in American, we cannot necessarily translate it into English for you.

Some aspects of the American language are understood here in England. Sidewalk, elevator. Even the use of the French word “Entree” – in the rest of the world meaning the starter course of a meal – to describe the main course.

Or the use of the English word “Fillet” [properly pronounced FILLETT] as if it were French and pronounced FEELLAY. Herbs with that? No, URBS please.

And as Jeremy Clarkson points out, the Yankees build their cars with the steering wheel on the wrong side.

Which is fine in a way, but does of course mean that the driver can’t reach it.

Which again is OK, as long as the passenger knows how to drive.

So my point is, that with an American document, the fact that the words used are mainly in the English Dictionaries, does not mean that I, or you if you are not yourself an American Lawyer, actually understand them. So you really should take advice from a suitably US-qualified lawyer or else you take risks.

Yesterday I assisted a client who has resolved a dispute with third parties in the US who have agreed to pay him money in settlement of a claim. The document he has been required to sign is a release and discharge, stating the terms of the settlement payment and including the words “receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged”.

I asked him when he had received the money, for which the paper is his clear receipt and was told – “I haven’t had anything yet – I will get it when I return the form”.

He probably will, but, you know – really??

I mean, by that logic, they might as well have asked him to sign and have notarised a blank piece of paper, on the basis that they would fill the words in later. The Receipt, to be signed before payment was made, is Nonsense, to an English perspective. And yet, fairly standard practice in the States.

Here’s a nonsense song.

Anyway, once you are sure that your document fully accords not only with your intentions and requirement, but also with the relevant foreign law and practice, do get in touch and we will do the needful with witnesses, certificates, Consular and FCO stamps, ribbons string and couriers.

Contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or notary@atkinsonnotary.com] where we shall be more than happy to assist further.

Has anyone noticed? Brexit. Trump. Leonard Cohen.

Has anyone noticed, there is quite a lot of stuff going on in the World?

Far be it from me to prepare a coherent narrative or seek to explain a year which includes Brexit, Trump and the passing of Leonard Cohen.

There does seem to be scope for a re-reading of the words of H. L.Mencken who was never a fan of the democratic process. He said many sage things, and he said about a hundred years ago  “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American Public”, “For every complex problem there is an answer which is clear, simple and wrong” and “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance, so that on some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron”.

Contrariwise, it was Winston Churchill who explained that, on the one hand, “Democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms which have been tried from time to time” and, on the other “The best argument against Democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

So, best wait and see I imagine.

Last week in England we had the judgment of the High Court in Miller re Brexit link here

The decision was derided by that bastion of fairness and liberty the Daily Mail, apparently not least because one of the Judges is an “openly gay ex-Olympic fencer”. [Cue misogynist, racist, homophobic muttering about “all of those openly gay ex-Olympic fencer High Court Judges, coming over here, from wherever openly gay ex-Olympic fencing Judges come from, taking our jobs, medals and boyfriends”].

Even in the more rational newspapers, columnists see the Court decision as a politicised declaration of judicial opinion rather than what it is intended to be, an honest exposition of the laws of the United Kingdom. A UKIP Member has said “Should not the Judges be subject to some sort of democratic control?”

Like Hitler, who replaced all the Judges, not only the gay athletic ones?

J.K. Rowling tweeted “Yes and why stop at Judges? So sick of unelected Doctors deciding what’s wrong with me”

If I may, I would refer you to what I think is the coolest analysis, and best, of the Brexit Court case, from the Lawyer magazine. Link here.

Anyway, let’s stay cheerful. In the words of the late Mr Cohen, “I have seen the future,
baby: It is murder.”

You sing along now – link here

And, as always, whenever you require any help with Notarisations and foreign legal documents, please do not hesitate to contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or notary@atkinsonnotary.com] where we shall be more than happy to assist further.

No Notarisation but require an Apostille? We can do this..- A Reminder from Louise

No Notarisation but require an Apostille? We can do this..- A Reminder from Louise

An Apostille is a stamp which is issued by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office – it confirms that the signatory to a document is genuine. The Foreign Office have a list of Barristers, Solicitors, Registrars, Notaries, Dentists, Doctors, Priests etc.. as to whom they can Apostille against.

For example – if you have a Birth/Death or Marriage Certificate and have been told by the Foreign jurisdiction that Apostille only is required then we can submit your certificate to the Foreign Office to obtain this against the signing Registrar – the Apostille will confirm the signatory is genuine which in turn confirms the certificate is genuine. If the Foreign jurisdiction will accept this without having the Notary intervention then this certainly can be achieved.

The same goes for Criminal Records Bureau Certificate – it is not possible for the Notary to confirm that a CRB certificate is genuine as the Criminal Records Office would not be willing to speak with any third party to verify the information – however there are various CRB certificates which can be applied for and if you apply for the Certificate that shows a signature on it of a registered person from the CRB office then this can be sent directly to the Foreign Office to obtain an Apostille against that signatory. This again would prove that the document is genuine.

If you need an Apostille on an official certificate or indeed need any notarial assistance – please get in touch and I would be very happy to assist and advise accordingly.

And, as always, whenever you require any help with Notarisations and foreign legal documents, please do not hesitate to contact me, Louise Morley, here at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or notary@atkinsonnotary.com] where we shall be more than happy to assist further.

The Snail in the Ginger Beer – Beaten By the Toe in the Tobacco?

The Snail in the Ginger Beer – Beaten By the Toe in the Tobacco?

All Law Students in England are aware of the case of Donoghue -v- Stevenson in 1932 – the “snail in the ginger beer” case.

The link to the case appeal report is *here*.

Its importance is that before 1932 when the case was heard, there was no concept in the Law that anyone could have a general “duty of care”. Prior to that, there had to be a “one-to-one” relationship.

So a Blacksmith who carelessly hurt your horse would owe you a duty of care, because you and he had met and he was being paid to shoe your horse. His carelessness was viewed as a trespass committed against you.

But a ginger beer bottler who was not careful enough to keep snails out of the bottles and poisoned you, would have expected no-one could sue him. He would defend any law case you bring for compensation for your gastroenteritis and shock. He would say – “I don’t know you. You bought the bottle from a shop and not from me. In fact, you didn’t even buy it yourself, your boyfriend bought it for you”.

So in 1932, the law created the concept of “Negligence” as a civil wrong in itself. Now, if you are careless and sell bread with mice inside, to people who only want bread, you will be made to pay.

What I did not know, was that the concept of the separate tort of Negligence, was by 1932 already the law in America, in Mississippi.

So I bring you, Pillars v RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co et al. of 1918. *Link Here*.

The joy I find in it, is in the language of the Judge. Deadpan, or what?

Not only joy from the obvious pleasure to be derived from reading about a man who keeps chewing on his plug of tobacco even though he is feeling sicker with each chew, until finally he bites upon the bone of a decomposing human toe, but also the dry as dust words of the Judge.

“We can imagine no reason why, with ordinary care, human toes could not be left out of chewing tobacco. And if toes are found in chewing tobacco, it seems to us that someone has been very careless.”

I cannot read that to myself without hearing the voice of W.C. Fields. “Bring on the Provender” *Link here*.

And, as always, whenever you require any help with Notarisations and foreign legal documents, please do not hesitate to contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or notary@atkinsonnotary.com] where we shall be more than happy to assist further.