Solicitors for the Elderly make new appointments

Solicitors for the Elderly have appointed their first ever Chief Legal Officer and four new board directors.

SFE is an independent, national organisation of over 1,500 professionals, including solicitors, barristers, and chartered legal executives, committed to providing the highest quality legal advice on specialist areas, such as wills, powers of attorney and elder abuse.

The professional body has appointed former board director, Karon Walton, as Chief Legal Officer, and welcomes existing Solicitors for the Elderly’s members Michael Culver, Carol McBride, Ruth Pyatt and Jenny Pierce to its board of directors, bringing the total number to nine. All new directors are fully accredited members, having completed SFE’s Older Client Law in Practice award within the last three years.

Karon Walton, who was an SFE board director for five years, joins the executive board as Chief Legal Officer. The new role for the organisation, as well as the increase in board members, responds to the growing need for specialist skills when dealing with older, more vulnerable consumers in the field of Private Client law.

This year alone, SFE has championed for the rights of older clients and members, including issues relating to Lasting Powers of Attorney, and the digitisation of legal documents such as wills. Most significantly, SFE lead the campaign against the proposal to change the probate fee structure, which could have seen bereaved families paying up to £20,000 to access their loved one’s estates after their death, and resulted in a successful overturn in Government policy.

Carol McBride has expertise in legal issues around the mental capacity of older people, including those living with dementia. She is a Director and Head of Private Client at Hugh Jones Solicitors in Manchester and has been an SFE member since 2011.

Michael Culver is a Wills, Probate and Contentious Probate Partner at Bolt Burdon Solicitors in Islington, London, and has been a member of SFE since 2011. He is also a Dementia Friends Champion for the Alzheimer’s Society and a member of Action on Elderly Abuse.

Ruth Pyatt has over 10 years’ worth of professional experience in elderly client law in both Scotland and England. She is a Senior Associate in the Wills and Advisory Team within the Private Client Department of Birketts, in East Anglia.

Jenny Pierce has been an SFE member for 16 years and is a partner at Wards Solicitors, Bristol, where she is also Head of the Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity. Jenny will work closely with her fellow board members in representing SFE as the leading expert in all matters relating to older client law.

Lakshmi Turner, Chief Executive of SFE, said:

“It is with great pleasure we welcome Karon as Chief Legal Officer and Carol, Michael, Ruth and Jenny to our board of directors. It’s an exciting time for Solicitors for the Elderly as the organisation continues to grow and set the bar as the gold standard for experts practicing older client law. We will continue to tackle key issues impacting the sector, putting our members and consumers first.”

Karon Walton, Chief Legal Officer of SFE, said:

“I have seen Solicitors for the Elderly go from strength to strength as a board director, as we have campaigned on critical issues affecting the sector, our members and most importantly the older clients we represent. In my new role as Chief Legal Officer I will continue to champion the rights of older people, focusing on the upcoming challenges that our profession faces.”

To find out more about SFE and how to become a member go to: http://www.sfe.legal.

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