HOME | LOGIN | OUR PEOPLE | CONTACT US | CAREERS | NEWSLETTER




tel: 0845 9011 960

You are in:- Home Page » Blogs

Where There's a Will


Uncategorized    No Comments

We are noticing an increasing amount of problems for people who have tried to avoid or reduce their care fees liability. Something that would happen quite often, particularly in the 1990s, was to transfer your property to your children. The children would own the property, to all intents and purposes.  And they would ‘be nice’ and let their parents live in the property for the rest of their lives. But if the parents were placed in residential care they would be able to say that they did not own their own property, and hopefully avoid or reduce their care fees liability because they seemingly had fewer assets. For more information about why people thought this would affect their care fees, and the risks, please see here. But 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.

Share on Facebook



Uncategorized    No Comments

I often hear comments like “I have a will I don’t need probate” or “you don’t need a will just probate”. Wills and Probate are two entirely different things so I thought I would provide you with some brief details. A Will is a document that sets out what you want to happen when you die.  Firstly it will state who you want to be given the responsibility of dealing with everything on your death (these are called Attorneys), this can be a family member, a friend or a Solicitor.   It will then set out who you want to benefit from your estate – this could be as straight forward as leaving everything to one person, dividing it equally between several people or setting out individual gifts.  Your Will can also set out any requests you have for your funeral and burial. Without a Will your estate will be distributed according to the intestacy rules and you have no say over how this is done.  Say for example you have died just leaving children, one of which is a step-child but in your eyes is your child, unless you have legally adopted that child they will not inherit under the intestacy rules, your estate will be divided equally between your biological children.  A Will can ensure that you decide who benefits from your estate. Probate is the process of dealing with your estate after your death.   You may  need a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration to do this.  This is a legal document that allows the Attorneys/Administrators to deal with your estate,  which can involve selling property, withdrawing money from bank accounts, cashing in shares etc.  Once they have received all the assets the Attorneys/Administrators will then distribute the estate according to either the  Will or the intestacy rules. If you require any assistance either in make a Will or dealing with Probate please either telephone me on 01623 448331 or email me at rbrough@fidler.co.uk Rebecca Brough

Share on Facebook



Uncategorized    No Comments

There has been another case of late where a Will writing kit has cost a family quite a lot of money (I think in this case it is hundreds of thousands of pounds), and an awful lot of upset and wasted time.  In addition to this, the wishes of the deceased cannot be carried out, which is a real shame. A well known bank has provided a cheap and cheerful Will writing service to one of its customers.  The Will itself is by all accounts fine.  It is some form of Property Trust Will (see here for more information about this). The customer was married, but had a Daughter from a previous relationship.  The intention was that his Daughter would inherit his share in his home, and the Wife would be provided for in other ways. A Property Trust Will is a good way of making sure that children from different relationships are not disinherited by a new spouse. But the tenancy of the property remained ‘unsevered’, meaning that when the customer died his share in the house transferred to his Wife and co-owner of the property. Now, it seems that his Daughter will not be receiving the inheritance her Father left for her. The bank in question has been ordered to pay some form of settlement to the daughter, but have so far refused to comply. I cannot imagine what the daughter is going through, and it is terrible that the Father’s wishes will not be carried out just because the Will writer made such a simple mistake. Making a Will is not expensive, but you must make sure that if you are having a Will drawn up that you are seeing someone suitably qualified and experienced.  A Will writing pack, for example, does not provide you with advice.  You may not even realise that you need it, but one of the main reasons for making a Will is to get peace of mind that what you want to happen after your death will happen, and in the smoothest way possible. If you would like to know more about making a Will, please contact a member of our Private Client team  on 01623 451111, or email rhoward@fidler.co.uk.

Share on Facebook



Uncategorized    No Comments

Rising property prices are helping to fuel increased numbers of inheritance disputes reaching the courts, with second marriages another major contributory factor. These challenges are costly, which used to put people off making a claim.  The trend towards higher numbers of inheritance disputes has been attributed to a number of factors, and the rise in property prices has meant there is often more at stake, and families are more inclined to take the costly step of litigation and get the matters before the courts, if they feel they have been unfairly treated. Earlier this year, estranged daughter Heather Ilott won a share of her late mother’s estate in a landmark ruling.  Her mother expressly excluded her daughter, choosing to leave her £500,000 estate to animal charities.  An eight-year court battle saw the daughter, who had run away from home to get married at 17, finally win a one-third share of the estate, on the grounds that her mother had not made adequate provision for her, as her circumstances were such that she would be in a position of poverty, reliant upon state benefits. Another factor contributing to the rise in inheritance disputes is the rise of online and ready-made Wills, as well as clerical errors in word-processed documents, leading to challenges on the grounds of lack of clarity of intention. In many cases the problem lies in lack of planning.  The number of instances where an off-the-shelf, pre-packed Will is appropriate are few and far between.  It’s always going to be worth checking with a specialist to make sure that what you plan is right for your own unique circumstances.  Also, importantly, there will be corroborative evidence of your intentions that will be recorded and held by the professional drawing up the Will, which can provide vital evidence if a case should reach the courts. If would like to know more about making a Wil, please contact a member of our Private Client team  on 01623 451111, or email rhoward@fidler.co.uk.

Share on Facebook



Uncategorized    No Comments

We get an awful lot of questions in our Department regarding time scales for a Probate matter. The most common question is “when do I get my money?!?”. But in all seriousness it is important to clients to know what is happening. The process can be complicated, and is unlike anything most people will have been through before. And most importantly, people are grieving and the process does not allow them to move on until it is over. To assist we have published a fairly simple guide to the time scale. Each and every Probate matter is different, but we hope it helps. The guide is available to download from our Website. Any queries, please get in touch. Richard

Share on Facebook



Uncategorized    No Comments

I’m a little late reporting this, but the famous care fees cap reported in my previous blogs, initially to be introduced next April, has been postponed until 2020. Critics are calling it another broken promise by the Government, who significantly watered down the original proposals in the first place. People have begun to plan for introduction of the care fees cap, but are now finding their plans must change.  People continue to be nervous about losing their homes. Those in favour, surprisingly including charities such as Age UK, rightly point out that the social care system is already collapsing and is unsustainable, and therefore that the cap on care fees would have been a distraction and possibly caused further damage. Whichever side you land on, it remains important to get advice from suitably qualified people.   If you are concerned about care fees, please contact a member of our Private Client team  on 01623 451111, or email rhoward@fidler.co.uk.

Share on Facebook



Uncategorized    No Comments

Former clients of ours attended our offices this week looking very scared and shaken. They had received a letter from Trading Standards in relation to their Wills and powers of attorney and ‘estate preservation trust’. I have mentioned these things before. There are Will writing companies out there selling these trusts for between £3-£4,000 as a sure fire way of avoiding care fees and protecting your home. They prey on worried and vulnerable people and persuade them to buy legal services that, unfortunately, are not usually worth the paper they’re written on. They give guarantees that their products protect your property or assets from care fees which are just not true. The clients had received a letter which included the following: “XXXXXXX’s salesman made bogus claims” – “people paid money to XXXXXXX but received nothing in return” “trusts offered by XXXXXXXX offered no protection from care fees, probate, or inheritance tax”. Our clients are now taking part in what has become a criminal investigation, and have had to spend even more money having documents drawn up properly. Imagine the stress on this elderly couple! If you are worried about care fees or your Will, please don’t be lured into buying a product from, at best, someone with no qualifications, or at worst a fraudster.  Please contact a member of our Private Client team  on 01623 451111, or email mailto: rhoward@fidler.co.uk

Share on Facebook



Uncategorized    No Comments
Just a note to say it is always worth taking advice on care fees. Very recently I spent five minutes with client, sent one email (without charge) to the Local Authority, and saved the family half of the value of the property. I can’t promise these kinds of results all the time!  But for the sake of a meeting it is worth talking to a Solicitor or specialist in the area to see if there is anything you can do to minimise the care fees you may have to or are paying. If you need any advice on care fees, then please contact a member of our Private Client team  on 01623 451111, or email mailto: rhoward@fidler.co.uk.
Share on Facebook



Uncategorized    No Comments
It’s the new Financial Year and lots of people are thinking about their tax returns for the recently completed financial year. We habitually receive a lot of enquiries at this time of year about lowering income tax (ICT) on rental income from residential properties. If you and your Partner / Spouse rent a property, then of course you should be declaring the income from those properties, and almost certainly paying tax on the income. However, if one of you is a higher rate tax payer, then there could be a way of you reducing how much ICT you pay. You can make a declaration to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that the income is proportionally more for the lower rate tax payer. Say, for example, that you received £500 per month rent.  You could declare that 90% of the rental income was for the lower rate tax payer, and the remaining 10% was for the higher rate tax payer. That should mean that only £50 of the rent was taxed at the higher rate, and £450 taxed at the lower rate. Over the course of the year it’s a saving that could add up. You should speak to your accountant about this, to make sure it works for your individual circumstances.  But if you want to do this, you can accomplish it by creating a Declaration of Trust – a very basic document detailing who gets the income from the property. Your accountant, or yourselves, can then notify HMRC of the Trust and thereafter pay the lower tax. We, of course, are not accountants.  But if you need help with the Declaration of Trust please get in touch.  They are pretty simple, quick to draw up, and not very expensive. If you would like to know more about this, then please contact a member of our Private Client team  on 01623 451111, or email mailto: rhoward@fidler.co.uk
Share on Facebook



Uncategorized    No Comments

I met with a client yesterday who was about to get married. Great news! He owned a share in a property that a relative lived in.  There was no tenancy agreement or other legal document that allowed the relative to stay there – the client just let the relative stay there through his own goodwill. Unfortunately, he had not realised that marriage automatically revokes his Will automatically. This means that, should something happen to him on his honeymoon, his new Wife would inherit that same property. Would the new Wife, recently bereaved, unrelated and not close to the client’s relative, allow the relative to continue to live there rent free? A simple adjustment to my client’s Will could make sure of this, and reassure the relative that they had somewhere to live for the foreseeable future.  And give my client peace of mind. If you are about to get married, don’t forget about your Will! You’d be surprised how big an affect it can have. If you would like to know more about making a Will, then please contact a member of our Private Client team  on 01623 451111, or email wills mailto:rhoward@fidler.co.uk

Share on Facebook




Powered by WordPress Entries RSS Comments RSS