Mental Incapacity

Wills and Probate


Have you considered what would happen if you lost capacity and were unable to make decisions? Who would look after your finances, or decide whether you should have a life saving operation?

If mental incapacity is something that you are concerned about, our solicitors can help you decide on the best course of action, whether that is a lasting power of attorney, or an “advance decision” or “living will” as they are more commonly known.

We understand how difficult it can be to discuss issues around mental incapacity. We will take the time to fully explain the options available to you and the implication of each course of action.

If you do not put provisions in place and you lose capacity, the Court of Protection may appoint someone to look after your affairs and make decisions that may not be in line with your wishes. Dealing with the Court of Protection can be complicated and time consuming. Our trusts and estates lawyers are experienced with dealing with these issues and can help take the stress away if this is something you are dealing with.

If someone does not have a will or their will is inappropriate for their circumstances, we can apply to the Court of Protection for a statutory will to be made on behalf of the incapacitated client. A statutory will can be used to help with estate planning and reduce inheritance tax liability, leaving gifts to charity where the intestacy rules would involve an expensive search for relatives and ensuring that gifts the client would have made if they had been capable of doing so are put into effect.

Several members of our trusts and estates department are Mencap recommended and are highly experienced in dealing with mental incapacity issues relating to wills and probate.

To speak to a trusts and estates solicitor about mental incapacity, call or email us today.

who to contact


Claire Ritchie

Senior Solicitor, Trusts & Estates

Senior Solicitor, Trusts & Estates

Claire Ritchie

Claire is a senior solicitor and deals with Wills, Estate Planning and Inheritance Tax Planning, Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection work, Estate Administration and Trust work.

Claire has specialised in Wills, Trusts and Estates for more than 11 years, having qualified as a legal executive in 2007 and then further qualified as a solicitor in 2014.

Claire enjoys, and has gained a good reputation for her work with elderly clients. She is a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly and a 'Dementia Friend'.

Isabel Hodgson

Legal Executive, Trusts & Estates

Legal Executive, Trusts & Estates

Isabel Hodgson

Isabel is a specialist in Wills, probate, trusts, estate administration and powers of attorney.

Before joining Hart Brown, Isabel worked at another law firm for 10 years, qualifying as a Legal Executive in 2011, obtaining Fellowship in 2015.

Isabel is also an Accredited Member of Solicitors for the Elderly.

A friendly solicitor, Isabel can be found at our office in Cranleigh, an area she knows and loves.

Jordan Page

Senior Solicitor, Trusts & Estates

Senior Solicitor, Trusts & Estates

Jordan Page

Jordan is a Solicitor specialising in Wills, lasting powers of attorney and the administration of trusts and estates. He is based in the Trusts & Estates department in Guildford.

Jordan studied law at the University of Southampton, graduating in 2013. Whilst completing his LPC on a part time basis, Jordan worked in the firm’s quality and compliance department as the firm’s Chief Internal Auditor, before commencing his training contract in April 2016.

Having previously undertaken trainee roles in the Family and Residential Property departments, Jordan qualified into the Trust & Estates department where he completed his training.

What does Jordan regard as his specialism?

"The administration of estates and inheritance tax planning in equal measure. My experience of administering estates and calculating inheritance tax liabilities has provided me with valuable insight into how this particularly unpopular tax applies. This type of work has given me the tools to advise clients as to the steps they can take in advance to mitigate their exposure to inheritance tax. I pride myself on providing legal advice in a straightforward manner, cutting through the legal jargon. I always endeavour to work as efficiently as I can in order to provide the best level of service."

Jordan frequently receives great feedback from his clients:

“Thanks again for all your hard and conscientious work on the estate and then the will. You have made what could have been a stressful process extremely easy and constructive. I really appreciate the time you have devoted to helping me navigate this.”

"Hart Brown comes up trumps yet again"

“I appreciate your efforts and thank you for helping me to understand the process!”

"Thank you for your help, your ears will be burning, as I have been ringing your praises!!"

“Thank you for all your input, help and time - it has been much appreciated.”

“May I take this opportunity to thank you for your hard work and professionalism - it is a testament to all those who worked so hard on this case that it looks as though it will all be settled by the first year Anniversary. Quite remarkable!”

"I would like to place on record my appreciation of the efficient and quick service you have provided, particularly as I wished to have the new will in place before my departure on holiday."

Louise Harrhy

Partner, Head of Trusts & Estates

Partner, Head of Trusts & Estates

Louise Harrhy

A Partner based in Cranleigh, Louise is also Head of the Trusts & Estates team at Hart Brown and has extensive experience in a broad range of Private Client work.

Louise helps clients with all aspects of Private Client work and deals with the formation and administration of trusts, lifetime and post death planning and will drafting. She also works with other professional advisors to provide a complete package of advice.

Louise has considerable experience of applications for probate and estate administration often including complex issues and overseas assets. Additionally, she can help clients with Court of Protection matters including lasting powers of attorney and court applications for gifts.

"Louise Harrhy is highly experienced in probate applications and estate administration especially matters involving offshore assets. She is skilled in Court of Protection matters, including deputyships and lasting powers of attorney." (Chambers UK 2016)

"Louise Harrhy is a really driven and committed lawyer. She advises clients on a wide range of areas, including the creation of wills, the establishment of trusts and the administration of estates. Her work also incudes Court of Protection matters." (Chambers UK 2017)

Louise is also a member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Margaret Gale

Associate, Trusts & Estates

Associate, Trusts & Estates

Margaret Gale

Margaret is an Associate and specialises in wills, the establishment and administration of trusts, probate, tax planning, powers of attorney and court of protection work.

Margaret joined Hart Brown in 2017, bringing with her 25 years' experience to the Trusts & Estates department in Cobham. She has worked as a Private Client lawyer in Surrey for over 25 years, and is also a member of STEP and the Law Society Private Client Section.

Nick Langmead

Associate, Trusts & Estates

Associate, Trusts & Estates

Nick Langmead

Nick is an Associate Solicitor in the Trusts & Estates department at the Cobham office of Hart Brown.

Nick has more than 20 years' experience drafting Wills for a wide range of clients and administering all types of estate, with values ranging from £20,000 to £1,000,000 and beyond.

Nick qualified as a solicitor in 1998 and holds a diploma in law and diploma in legal practice, he is also a full member of STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners).

Nick's clients appreciate his thorough approach, determination to get things right and commitment to listening to what his clients really want so he can help them to achieve their objectives.

Paul Tobias

Consultant, Trusts & Estates

Consultant, Trusts & Estates

Paul Tobias

Paul has a wealth of experience in wills, probate, trusts and inheritance tax planning, having specialised in this area for over 25 years.

He is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). In addition to his qualification as a solicitor, Paul holds the Securities Institute’s Private Client Investment Advice and Management professional qualification and the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Financial Planning Certificate (Cert PFS).

His clients value Paul’s undoubted expertise describing him as “of enormous help in all affairs" and "a source of wise counsel". A client recently stated that “It is a pleasure to deal with Paul Tobias. He has been helpful, friendly and is a real expert in the field of trusts and inheritance tax etc. I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone in need of expert advice in this field”.

Paul is particularly keen on legal ways to avoid or reduce liability to tax. He also looks at the bigger picture. Recently a client consulted him about will planning. She mentioned a recent inheritance. Paul advised that it might be possible to use a deed of variation to reduce the IHT bill. The solicitor acting had not realised this. Time was tight but Paul fully investigated the position, verified that a deed of variation would be effective and completed a deed within a few working days. The result was a previously undreamt of reduction of IHT liability of around £140,000.

Paul trained at Hart Brown, qualified as a solicitor in 1980 and became a partner in 1983 until 2018.

Paul's clients often praise his work "Mr Tobias is very patient with elderly people and diplomatic and very pleasant to deal with. I rely on his very sound knowledge and good memory. He has dealt with family matters for me for the last twenty years."

Sue Macleod

Associate, Trusts & Estates

Associate, Trusts & Estates

Sue Macleod

Sue’s specialisms are wills, probate, tax planning and trusts.

Having qualified as a solicitor in 1994, Sue joined Hart Brown in 1997. She left in 2006 to look after her young family and returned in May 2010. “I am delighted to be back. Hart Brown has always been a lovely firm to work for and they really care about their clients which is also important to me” says Sue.

Sue's clients provide excellent feedback: "An excellent and efficient service. Would highly recommend to friends and family."

Helen Cohen

Paralegal, Trusts & Estates

Paralegal, Trusts & Estates

Helen Cohen

Helen is a Paralegal based in the Woking office and assists all Solicitors within the Trusts & Estates team, dealing with Wills, Powers of Attorney, Estate Administration, Court of Protection matters, and Trust work.

Helen has worked in the Trusts & Estates area for over 7 years, beginning as a Secretary in 2012, she then progressed to a Paralegal role in 2015, and joined Hart Brown in January 2019.

Helen is currently studying for a law degree, with a view to progressing her career and eventually qualifying as a Solicitor.

Helen enjoys helping clients who may be going through a difficult time in their life, by lifting the burden of stress which can be felt, when dealing with the estate or affairs of a loved one.

Lisa Fay

Associate, Trusts & Estates

Associate, Trusts & Estates

Lisa Fay

Lisa is an Associate Solicitor in the Trusts and Estates department, primarily dealing with estate administration, wills, estate and inheritance tax planning, powers of attorney (preparing, registering and managing affairs under one), deputyships (setting up and managing affairs), general Court of Protection work and setting up and administering trusts and charities.

Lisa qualified as a solicitor in 2002 and gained significant experience in London and Surrey until 2006. Lisa then took a career break, returning to law in 2013.

Lisa has been praised for her clear, kind, patient and straightforward approach and she enjoys helping clients of all ages, including those clients who are nervous of seeing a solicitor in difficult circumstances.

Lisa grew up locally and likes to be involved in her local community. She enjoys walks in the Surrey countryside, spending time with her family and dogs and visiting the West Country.

Richard Bones

Associate, Trusts & Estates

Associate, Trusts & Estates

Richard Bones

Richard is an associate solicitor in the Trusts and Estates department in the Godalming office of Hart Brown.

He qualified in 2002 and initially practised in the City. Before relocating to Surrey in 2018 he was an equity partner in a practice on the south coast.

Richard has extensive experience in a broad range of private client work specialising in will preparation, tax planning, trusts, powers of attorney, court of protection work and estate administration.

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