Suffolk Law Centre announces launch of new service

Suffolk Law Centre's Audrey Ludwig said it was disgraceful that a company could avoid paying compens

Audrey Ludwig is the Suffolk Law Centre's legal director - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk legal advice centre has announced the launch of a new service aimed at assisting elderly people and their families to access the right support.

Based in St Matthew’s Street, Ipswich, the Suffolk Law Centre (SLC) was established in April 2018 after a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The centre provides free advice in key legal areas, including employment, housing, family and personal injury, as well as legal casework in discrimination.

Since its launch, the law centre has helped hundreds of local people tackle their legal challenges.

The launch of its new wills, probate and elder care clinic this month is a direct response to the growth in demand over the last year for pro bono advice in these specific legal areas, according to the centre. 

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Audrey Ludwig, SLC’s legal director, said: “Wherever possible, the SLC seeks to deploy its limited resources to meet the needs of the county’s residents experiencing the greatest need.

“The pandemic of 2020 has significantly changed many lives and we have been approached by those in need, seeking advice on wills and probate, as well as related issues.  

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"We have also seen an increase in requests and the need for elder care legal advice during this time.”

The new service offers 30-minute free legal consultations with SLC’s experienced, volunteer lawyers from a range of law firms including Ashtons Legal, Barker Gotelee and Prettys.

These specialists can advise on issues such as probate and the administration of estates, paying for elder care, applications to the court of protection, will and probate disputes and claims under the Inheritance Act 1975 and information on lasting powers of attorney.

Janette Wand, senior associate in the lifetime planning team at Ashtons Legal, said: “We think it is important for our community to have a local source of free initial advice on issues like wills, powers of attorney and inheritance.

"They are topics which have an effect on everyone and which can cause tensions and worries within families. If we can help out and point people in the right direction, then we think that is time well spent.”

However, the SLC clinic cannot advise on writing wills, drafting lasting powers of attorney or tax planning.

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