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Care Fees, Drop in Clinic, Making a Will, Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Uncategorized, Wills, Wills and Power of Attorney Checking Service    No Comments

We’ve noticed that more people are planning ahead and putting their Wills and Powers of Attorney in place. This is music to our ears as those people will get their final wishes granted. Whilst we’re pleased that more people are getting their affairs in order, we’re also increasingly aware that more people are drafting their own documents. This sometimes works out perfectly, but there are many other people coming to us during difficult and emotional times as their documents are incorrect. This has led to a lot of upset, delays and frustration and this also happens in what the client believed was a simple Will or Power of Attorney document.

What are Powers of Attorney?
Powers of Attorney are a legal way of asking named people to manage your affairs if you’re unable to. This could be because of a physical or mental illness, a disability, an accident or old age. In these situations the people that you choose to help you will be able to make decisions and arrangements on your behalf.

Do you know that there are different types…
There are different types of help that you might need, so there are different Powers of Attorney that you can put in place.

  • General Power of Attorney – Which can be used for a set period of time whilst you have mental capacity (for example if you’re out of the country).
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney can be used whilst you have mental capacity and if you lose mental capacity and there are 2 types:
  • ‘Financial’ which gives those named the responsibility to manage your financial affairs and your home.
  • ‘Health and Care’ gives others the authority to make decisions about your medical needs and treatment if you can’t

What most people don’t know about how long it may take
Most people don’t know that all Lasting Powers of Attorney need to be registered with the Office of Public Guardian which can take  2-3 months. Until this is registered, people can’t use the Power of Attorney. With this in mind it’s good to plan ahead and have the peace of mind these documents are in place early.

Guess what? Wills and Powers of Attorney are not just for the elderly
Some believe that thinking about these things is something you do when you retire, but it’s not the case! We find that people from all walks of life and ages contact us to make a Will or Power of Attorney. People with young families, those that travel frequently, those with a dangerous profession, with medical conditions and older people who want the peace of mind that everything is in place should they need it.

Want to ‘Do It Yourself’ but may need a bit of our help?
With the ease of the internet we know some people like to draft their documents themselves. That’s fine with us – but if you’d like us to give your Will or Power of Attorney a double check then we also have a ‘checking service’ where people can bring in prepared Powers Of Attorney and for a small fee we can take a look. It’s a lot like a passport checking service – you let us check it for you and we make sure it’s exactly as you want it. Sometimes there are rules you may not be aware of that could affect your estate or who can make decisions for you. We can let you know about those and if and how they affect you and your family.

Confused or want some help?
We are specialists and have created thousands of Wills and Powers of Attorney. We can help you through the process of drafting these documents and making sure that they are legally correct. Simply give us a call on 01623 45 11 11 and we can help or answer any questions you may have.

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Whether you’re retired and enjoying life or a new (very sleepy) parent, we understand it’s difficult to pinpoint a time you will be free to get your affairs in order and make sure your loved ones are taken care of. That’s why we’re starting FREE Legal Drop-In Clinics in Sutton library. We can provide advice on anything from Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Care Fees, Probate and much more – so feel free to pop in and see us. We’ll be there starting our Drop-In Clinics on the 13th of October at 9:30am and we’ll be in Sutton library every other week from then onwards.

How can a Drop In Clinic help me?

You might be asking, I’ve never made an appointment before, why would I need to Drop-In? There’s a whole range of issues that could affect you and you may be blissfully unaware.

  • For example did you know a Will can also include Guardianship for younger children? This means that should the worst happen to you, you can be comfortable in the knowledge that your children will be raised by who you chose.
  • We also can advise on Living Wills / Advance Decisions; not many people of heard of Living Wills, but they allow you to express your preferences surrounding treatment when you are unable to communicate, e.g. you can refuse treatments, or say which treatment you would prefer, or state you would not like to be resuscitated, etc. The Living Will is then lodged with your GP to hold on your medical records. To most these are not subjects we speak about with our family, so in a time of need, who would know your preferences?
  • What’s a Lasting Power of Attorney? A LPA for short, comes in two forms; (1) Property & Financial Affairs, where you appoint people to help manage your finances if you are unable to. (2) Health and Welfare, should you be unable to make decisions or carry out tasks, this allows you to appoint people to manage on your behalf. These can be pretty important documents, you want to appoint people you trust and it needs to be completed by a legal specialist.
  • When you or a loved one require care, applying and most definitely paying for Care Fees can be very stressful. Did you know the average cost of care in England is £604 per week? It can be a big worry to many families, but speak to one of our specialists and we can help you, either plan for the future or ensure you’re receiving all that you’re entitled to. If you find yourself completely confused by it all, Drop-In.
  • Lastly, Probate; when a person passes away, someone unfortunately, is left to wrap up their affairs. Usually this involves gathering in their assets (getting money out of bank accounts, selling shares and property etc) paying off debts and distributing the estate. But a Grant of Representation is also required. To understand more about this as it’s a based on an individuals situation it is best to speak with a specialist who can provide bespoke advice.

 

I know, there is a lot of information to take in – but we’re here to help

If you’ve read this and are feeling worried, confused or just unsure on what action you need to take, Drop-In. Our Free Legal Drop-In clinic is held every other Friday (from 13th October) at the Idlewells Library, Sutton in Ashfield at 9:30-12:30, there’s no charge but if you bring cake I’m sure we won’t say no. We look forward to seeing you there. If our Drop-In clinics don’t work for you but you’d like to make an appointment to see one of our experienced team then simply call 01623 45 11 11. If you want to find out a bit more about how we can help you visit www.fidler.co.uk

Thanks and hope to see you there! Richard.

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Making a Will, Uncategorized, Wills    No Comments

 

We know from regular surveys that between 55-60% of the UK population have not made a Will. And, this begs the question of why do people not have a Will?

There are so many myths around not making a Will:

  • “It’s expensive”
  • “It’s complicated”
  • “It will cause issues in my family”
  • “I haven’t got time”
  • “I thought it was something you did when you got older”
  • “I don’t have an estate or savings so I don’t need one”
  • “I’m married so it will all go to my wife anyway”

 

Why do the other 40% of people HAVE a Will?

  • Wills are normally quite straightforward to make
  • Wills are very cost effective
  • Peace of mind that your estate goes to those you wish (this may not happen without a Will).
  • Making sure your family and loved ones are looked after
  • A single Will at Fidler & Pepper is very cost effective at £115 (plus VAT) or £160 (plus VAT) for a pair of Wills.

 

We know people are busy!
People don’t want to think about dying when you are busy living and people have so much on their to-do list. From experience I think that finding the time is a strong reason why people are putting off making a Will so we’ve added a new service where you can make a Will using a video call such as Skype or Facetime. We use video calls for Will appointments because it still allows us to have a face to face meeting about sensitive or confidential information that will be included in your Will. We understand that you’ll also want to see someone to understand how it all works to give you peace of mind.

How would this work for you?
So maybe you have half an hour in your lunch break or you’re lucky enough to start work at 10am?  You could be a school teacher who would love an appointment at 4 or 4.30pm? When using Skype or Facetime you don’t have to travel anywhere and the call and video appointment is completely free.

What you have to do next!
Just contact us to make an appointment by emailing rhoward@fidler.co.uk or calling 01623 448 318. At your appointment time you simply log into Skype or Facetime and we will help you through the process. If you’d like to meet with us face to face in one of our offices simply call us and we can arrange that.

Many thanks,
Richard Howard, Partner and Head of the Private Client Department (We offer Wills, Probate, Trusts, Powers of Attorney and much more!).
 

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I posted a few weeks ago about our new service for providing Wills by video call, using software such as Skype or FaceTime. Having been through the experience a few times now, I’ve found it very interesting.  I expected it to be very different to the traditional meeting with a client, sitting down with someone and talking about them. But surprisingly it is almost the same.  Thirty to forty minutes perhaps, maybe less, maybe more.  Simple chat in plain English about your family and your wishes.  It really should be as simple as that, and video call appointments are exactly the same. We have a handy webpage here where you can read more about it, but hopefully the service will lead to a few more people making Wills! Or you can just contact us to make an appointment by emailing rhoward@fidler.co.uk or calling 01623 448 318. At your appointment time you simply log into Skype and we will help you through the process. Look forward to ‘seeing’ you!

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I know from regular surveys that between 55-60% of the UK population have not made a Will. Why do people not have a Will? Some people worry that “If I make a Will I will die the next day!” but speaking from experience, this is pretty unlikely to happen… Some people think Wills are too expensive as you could download a Will template for free these days. However, these Will templates are often not worth the paper they are written on. A single Will at Fidler & Pepper is very cost effective at £115 (plus VAT) or £160 (plus VAT) for a pair of Wills. People just don’t have the time as they are busy at work, you don’t have time for a meeting or you don’t want to think about dying when you are busy living. How can we help? From experience I think that finding the time is a strong reason why people are putting making a Will, so we have added a new service where you can make a Will using Skype. I’m sure you may have heard of Skype which is free software and allows you to make free video calls. We use Skype for Will appointments because it still allows us to have a face to face meeting about sensitive or confidential information that will be included in your Will. We understand that you will also want to see someone to understand how it all works and give you peace of mind. How will it work for you? So maybe you have half an hour in your lunch break or you’re lucky enough to start work at 10am?  You could be a school teacher who would love an appointment at 4 or 4.30pm? When using Skype you don’t have to travel anywhere and the call and video appointment is completely free. What you have to do next! Just contact us to make an appointment by emailing rhoward@fidler.co.uk or calling 01623 448 318. At your appointment time you simply log into Skype and we will help you through the process.

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You may have seen in the papers yesterday that Lynda Bellingham’s sons are in the process of challenging her Will, in which she left everything to her husband, their step-father. Many people think that when they make a Will that is their final wishes.  Certainly any time up to your death you can change your Will, but what happens after your death – can it be changed? There are two ways a Will can be changed after your death: The first one is by a Deed of Variation.  This is a Deed that can be drawn up that alters the terms of the Will and who will benefit, however it can only be done with the consent of any beneficiaries it would affect.  For example if a husband left all his assets to his wife but she did not need the benefit of everything, she can then enter into a Deed of Variation to give some of the assets to the children.  We have seen this week that David Cameron received a gift from his mother of £200,000 from his father’s estate to equalise his inheritance with his brother’s – this was done by a gift from his mother, but this is something that could have been done with a Deed of Variation. The second way a Will can be changed is by bringing a claim before the Court, as Lynda Bellingham’s sons have done. The case of Ilott v Mitson is a good example of what a Court can do.   Mrs Ilott’s mother died leaving her estate worth £486,000 to various charities.  There was no provision for Mrs Ilott in the Will, who was estranged from her mother.   Mrs Ilott  made an application to the Court under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975  claiming that the Will failed to make reasonable provision for her.     In the first instance the Court awarded her the sum of £50,000, this was appealed by the Charities, however the Court of Appeal upheld her right to monies but revised the amount she was awarded to £164,000, which the Court stated would be sufficient for her to buy a property and have £20,000 from which her income needs could be met.   The Charities have been given permission to Appeal this, so this may not be the final word. If you require any advice or assistance in any of the issues raised please contact me at rbrough@fidler.co.uk or telephone me on 01623 448331.   Rebecca

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Research by YouGov has found that the majority of people who prepare their own Wills say they do it because they don’t think they need legal advice, with 21% of those saying that they are worried about the  cost of having a Will prepared by a professional.  It is estimated that one in ten people write their will  without any professional assistance at all. A DIY Will can be just as valid as a Will prepared by a professional, however we do see problems with DIY Wills which could lead to the Will being invalid, or difficulties in dealing with matters. There are certain rules about how a Will must be executed, this is the signing process.  A Will must  to be signed by the person making the Will in the presence of two independent witnesses and the witnesses must sign in the presence of the person making the Will. – if this is not done correctly the Will is invalid.  Further, if a beneficiary witnesses the Will, the Will is still valid but the gift  to that beneficiary fails. Looking at the contents of the Will,  if the wording of specific gifts is not clear, the gift could be challenged or fail. Also many DIY Wills fail to include any succession rights if the original beneficiary dies, which means that the gift fails. Having your Will prepared by a professional will ensure that these problems do not arise. The costs of a professional resolving any issues with a Will could outweigh the costs of a professional preparing a Will for you in the first place.  There is also the emotional side of matters, generally when someone is dealing with a loved one’s wishes in a Will it is a very hard time for them anyway, this can be made harder if there are problems with the Will or the Will is invalid altogether. If you require any advice or assistance in making a Will please do not hesitate to contact my colleague, Caroline Hill on 01623 448320, or by email chill@filder.co.uk.   Rebecca Brough

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Most of us work hard throughout lives to ensure we have a comfortable retirement, that could be anything from  savings to a property that you own outright.  But have you thought what is going to happen to your assets (known as your estate) if you die? You have a choice – if you make a Will you can decide who you want to leave your estate to, it could be one person gets everything or you can make individual gifts. However, if you don’t make a Will you have no choice – who gets your estate is set down in a set of rules that can’t be changed.  Under the intestacy rules firstly all your estate goes to your spouse/civil partner – a common law partner has no rights.   If there is no surviving spouse/civil partner your assets are divided between your children equally – a step child who has not been adopted has no rights. Ultimately if you have no surviving spouse or blood relatives your estate will then go to the state. I know most of us don’t like the thought of making a Will because it makes us think of what might happen, but if you want some control over who benefits from your estate you need to make a Will. If you would like further advice please telephone my colleague Caroline hill on 01623 448320 to discuss this.   Rebecca Brough

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There are frequent calls on Local Authorities to suggest their service users take independent advice before signing care fees agreements. A client of mine recently came to see me about the thick legal contract they were being asked to sign by the Local Authority relating to a family member’s care fees. It must have been over 10 pages long, in complicated legal terms. My client had read the document as meaning that, when their relative died, my client would be required to pay the full outstanding care fees in full within 30 days. The care fees were being accrued against a property, and could have easily have amounted to over £100,000. How would my client pay that back in 30 days?!? If you have been asked to complete an agreement to pay for care fees, and would like some independent legal advice, please contact a member of our Private Client team  on 01623 451111, or email rhoward@fidler.co.uk.

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I wrote blog recently about clients transferring their property to their children, and the problems it can cause. Another surprising issue that we see more and more of late if that the children are being hit with tax bills when they eventually come to sell their parents’ property. This might be because the parents want to move home.  It might be because the parents have died, or are in residential care. The children have usually not lived in the property at all since it was transferred to them from their parents.  What this means is that they have to pay Capital Gains Tax (‘CGT’). CGT is payable when you sell a property that is not your Principal Private Residence – i.e. it is not where you live.  It does not matter if you don’t own another property, the tax is still payable. The tax is calculated (on a very basic level) by taking the current value of the property, deducting the value of the property when it was transferred, and then taxing 18% or 28% of that difference. I came across an example recently where the parents had transferred their property to their children in 1991. Taking the average house price at that time in the East Midlands, the house would have been worth around £55,000. It is now selling at £150,000. The difference is £95,000.  Taking the lower tax rate of 18%, and a very simplistic view, that’s a tax bill of potentially £17,100. That comes as a huge shock to people. If you would like to know more about care fees, or are worried because you have transferred your property to your children, please contact a member of our Private Client team  on 01623 451111, or email rhoward@fidler.co.uk.

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