Midland law firm FBC Manby Bowdler has created a specialist community care team to provide support for people dealing with legal issues in the care system.
The firm says it has made the move in response to major changes that will stem from the introduction of the Care Act and an expected upsurge in enquiries.
The act, due to come into force this week, brings in new responsibilities for local authorities and has widespread implications for adult care and support providers, people who use their services, carers, and advocates.
Headed by partner and head of the private client department Julie Burn, the team includes solicitor Michelle Monnes-Thomas and trainee solicitor Katherine Lloyd, who both focus on care issues.
Topics they can advise on include obtaining fully funded NHS Continuing Health Care and challenging decision to withdraw funding, local authority financial assessments, third party contributions towards a relative’s care fees and recovering retrospective nursing home fees.
There will also be access to a wider team of experts who can assist with protecting property from claims against the estate, making a will, appointing an attorney, tax planning or care funding.
Ms Burn said: “The new Care Act is the biggest overhaul of the law in this sector for more than 60 years.
“For individuals, it will mean new rights to support for carers, on an equivalent basis to the people they care for, and the legal right to a personal budget and direct payments.
“But it also stipulates that councils will have to allow people access to independent financial advice to help steer them through the complexities of care funding and for the first time, there will be a system by which people may appeal against council decisions on eligibility and funding for care and support.”
She added: “It will be a challenging time in the care sector as the law comes into force and is interpreted, but our community care solicitors are experts in dealing with issues in this field, which can be overwhelming for people who are receiving care and their families.
“This new team gives us an opportunity to further strengthen the already excellent service we offer our clients in this area at a time when more people than ever are likely to need guidance.”