Wills & Probate

 

NO POWER OF ATTORNEY? PERHAPS IN THIS DAY AND AGE THINK AGAIN…

In late February Money Box Live on BBC Radio 4 featured a discussion of how to manage your finances when you are unable to do so yourself.

If you were taken ill, had to shield or were otherwise unable to leave your house, or even in these unprecedented times if you were abroad and unable to return to the UK, who would you want to manage your property and finances? And would those people be able to do so? Have you put the right paperwork in place to give them the right to act on your behalf?

Preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs is a simple way to ensure that in the unfortunate event you are unable to manage your affairs, your chosen attorney/s can act on your behalf without facing unnecessary difficulties.

Furthermore, you could also put in place a Health and Welfare power of attorney, which allows you to choose a person to make decision about your care and medical treatment when you are not able to make these decisions for yourself.

Blog written – March 2021 – Do not rely on the information that you have read here without contacting one of our fee-earners to take individual advice first.

 

Wills & Probate

 

NO WILL? INTESTACY RULES WILL DECIDE FOR YOU…

If there are no children, the spouse or civil partner will inherit the entire estate. If there are children, they will inherit all of the deceased’s personal property, the first £270,000 of the estate and half of the remaining estate – the other half will go to the children.

Many people are unaware that under intestacy laws, unmarried partners or so-called ‘common-law’ spouses cannot inherit.
Writing a legally valid will with the help of an expert solicitor ensures people’s estate is inherited exactly as they would choose and also can prevent a whole raft of problems landing on loved ones when they are grieving.

Do not delay – it is easy to make a will and it will save those who matter to you unnecessary stress, and distress at an already difficult time.

Blog written – February 2021 – Do not rely on the information that you have read here without contacting one of our fee-earners to take individual advice first.

 

Wills & Probate

 

WHAT IS A GRANT OF PROBATE?

When a person dies, depending on the value of the estate left by the deceased, a financial institution will want legal authority to release the assets they hold in the name of the deceased and they will ask for a Grant. So, what is it and how to get it?

A Grant is a court order, which confirms that the person named on it is legally entitled to administer the estate, i.e., collect all the assets, pay all liabilities and debts of the estate, and distribute the net balance to the beneficiaries. If there is a valid will, the executors are named in the will. When no will is left, the intestacy laws state who is entitled to represent the estate, i.e., act as an administrator. Executors get a grant of probate and administrators a grant of letters of administration.

To obtain a grant, the executor or administrator needs to collect information about all assets and liabilities of the deceased, both in the U.K and abroad. They then need to prepare the necessary paperwork for HMRC, to show whether or not inheritance tax is owing as well as to claim any tax reliefs available. If tax is owing, this needs to be paid first. After this, they can apply for the grant from the Probate Registry, if appropriate with the original will and proof of payment of the inheritance tax.

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Blog written – January 2021. 

 

Wills & Probate

 

LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY FEE REFUND DEADLINE

Have you claimed your refund of any overpaid registration fees?

If you paid to register a Power of Attorney in England or Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017, you may be owed a refund.

The deadline for applying for the refund is 31 January 2021.

To apply, you can claim a refund online or phone the Office of the Public Guardian’s helpline on 0300 456 0300. You don’t need the Power of Attorney document itself, but you will need:

  • The donor’s name, address and date of birth
  • Their UK bank account number and sort code
  • The name of one of the attorneys on the Power of Attorney

You only need to make one claim for each donor – even if you’ve made multiple Powers of Attorney – and it can take up to 12 weeks for your claim to be processed and paid.


Blog written – October 2020. 

 

Conveyancing

 

Temporary cut to stamp duty land tax (“SDLT”) on residential property purchases.

The Chancellor announced further measures to mitigate the effect of the Coronavirus crisis on the general economy and the housing market in particular. He announced an increase of the tax-free band on residential purchases from £125,000 to £500,000 with effect from 8th July 2020 up to 31st March 2021. SDLT applies to all residential property purchases in England.

For purchases above £500,000, the standard SDLT rates and thresholds continue to apply, but the ‘slice’ system means that this new measure will help all purchasers – you do not lose the benefit if your purchase price exceeds £500,000.

The existing 3% second home surcharge will continue to apply, so buyers of second homes will pay SDLT at only 3% up to £500,000.

Overall, the measure can provide an SDLT saving of £15,000 for both standard and additional rate SDLT payers.

The changes apply to transactions which complete between 8 July 2020 and 31 March 2021 inclusive.

What this means for buyers

For an owner-occupier buying before 31st March 2021 at a purchase price of £499,000, the tax will now be zero – a saving of £14,950. For those who were considering moving, this is indeed very welcome help.

 

Family

 

SPRING IS AROUND THE CORNER, AS IS EASTER

As any divorced or separated parent knows, Easter egg hunts feature high on a family’s list of seasonal traditions.

This is really about the children, not the parents (or the grandparents), so it is important to talk things through with the other parent and think about what impact the arrangements will have on your children. Whilst parents and children alike want to see each other, sometimes for practical reasons, this is not always possible, so try and be flexible and consider alternatives. Do agree what will happen well in advance, such as where the children are going to spend Easter as well as the Easter holidays, how much time they will spend at each home, when they will see the grandparents and how they will get from one place to another.

Jane O’Vel our Family Solicitor says;- ‘Think about coordinating Easter egg hunts to avoid tension and conflict between yourselves and as a result this will create less stress and more enjoyment for your children. In the end this is all about them’.

Careful planning can make this time very enjoyable, both for parents and children as well as grandparents and it is never too early to start this planning process. However if things are still a bit too raw for the moment and you find this too difficult, perhaps you could try and have a word with your solicitor; he or she may be able to help…

 

Blog written – March 2020.  Do not rely on the information that you have read here without contacting one of our fee-earners to take individual advice first

 

Wills and Probate

 

INTESTACY RULES CHANGE ON 6th FEBRUARY 2020

If you die without making a will, then your estate will be divided up under the rules of intestacy.  Some people will inherit automatically, others who you may want to help, may not inherit at all.

From 6th February 2020 a spouse or civil partner will inherit the first £270,000 (previously £250,000).  If you have children, the rest will be split between your spouse or civil partner and your children.  If you do not have children, then everything passes to your spouse or civil partner.  The rules then take matters further if you are not married or in a civil partnership.  These arrangements are useful when your other half dies unexpectedly, but may not put in place what you want.  If you want to be sure of what happens, you need to put a will in place.

Greta Tancred our Private Client Solicitor said;- “Do note that to inherit under intestacy rules you have to be in a legally binding relationship”

Even if you lived together for 40 years, you will not automatically inherit.  Also if either of you married but simply split up many years ago, if you did not divorce, the legal spouse or civil partner will still inherit.  Finally, if you had a will in place, but decided to (re) marry, your will is automatically revoked and again your estate will pass under the intestacy rules.

Getting a will in place will give you peace of mind.

 

Blog written – February 2020.  Do not rely on the information that you have read here without contacting one of our fee-earners to take individual advice first