Wills, Trusts and Probate

Home / Wills, Trusts and Probate

Wills and probate solicitor, Alyson Coulson, looks at whether a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a blessing or a threat. Denzil Lush, the now retired senior judge at the Court of Protection, has published a book on Lasting and Enduring Powers of Attorney. The publication has hit the headlines due to the grave concerns the ex-judge has expressed about Lasting Powers of Attorney and the significant potential for financial abuse of vulnerable people. I had the privilege on several occasions of hearing Mr...

LPA fee reduction There has never been a better time to plan ahead and make a Lasting Power of Attorney. On 1 April 2017, the fee to register a Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA, was reduced from £110 to £82. The Office of the Public Guardian says the fees have been reduced because an increase in the volume of LPA applications means the income it receives in registration fees now exceeds the cost of the service. Slee Blackwell’s Private Client team has...

The Law Commission launches public consultation about wills. The Law Commission's consultation, which is open until 10 November 2017, invites views on how we can improve the legal system regulating wills. The need to modernise our Victorian system In 2013 the Commission undertook a public consultation which suggested that the law was not working. Since then the Commission has been taking soundings and considering how our legal system can be improved. Our law is still based on 19th century principles, with the Wills Act 1837...

There are various commonplace strategies for eliminating or reducing the need to pay IHT. Here is a very brief guide. Gifts and IHT One of the most popular ways of avoiding IHT is to make gifts to  your loved ones while you are alive, rather than waiting for them to inherit after you have passed away. By making gifts you can reduce the value of your net estate, and therefore reduce or eliminate altogether your liability for Inheritance Tax. The downside of this...

The basic principles of Inheritance Tax Inheritance Tax, often referred to as IHT, will only arise when someone passes away leaving an estate with a net value that exceeds the nil-rate band threshold. The basic nil-rate band threshold is currently £325,000 and has been frozen until 2020/21. The tax rate is set at 40% (June 2017). This means that Inheritance Tax will be charged at 40% on any amount in your estate above the £325,000 level unless any exemptions or reliefs apply. It...

Solicitor Adam Bradford, a specialist in Wills and Probate, looks at the perils of a homemade will A Will is possibly the most important document you will ever have to sign. Some homemade things in life are the best – take for example homemade jam and scones – but this isn't always the case, especially not where homemade Wills are concerned. Homemade Wills are a much more risky and less pleasant proposition than wholesome homemade food. Saving a hundred or a couple of...

The Government's new fee structure The Government has announced that from 1 May 2017, probate court fees will increase dramatically, despite overwhelming objections to the proposals from probate experts including ourselves. The extent of the increase has shocked the profession and is set to cause thousands of families serious financial distress. According to the Government, the rationale behind the new fee structure is to ensure there is adequate funding for the Court system. Cynics might argue that it is just another Government stealth...

The new Inheritance Tax Residence Nil Rate Band could save you as much as £140,000 when the family home passes to children on death The new Inheritance Tax Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) will be introduced in April 2017. The RNRB is in addition to an individual’s own Nil Rate Band (NRB) of £325,000, or £650,000 for married couples and civil partners, and is conditional on the main residence being passed to direct descendants (e.g. children, grandchildren). How much is the RNRB? The...

Solicitor and Dementia Friend, Vanessa Swales, looks at the legal issues affecting people diagnosed with dementia. There are an estimated 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. Numbers are set to rise to over 1 million by 2025 and a staggering 2 million by 2051. Slee Blackwell is dedicated to supporting people affected by dementia. All solicitors in our private client department have trained as Dementia Friends, a volunteering initiative designed to raise awareness and understanding of dementia. Following a diagnosis of dementia,...

A survey has confirmed that solicitors are still the publics’ number one choice when it comes to making a will. The research, carried out by wills charity, Will Aid, found that 62% of people would prefer to use the services of a solicitor to deal with their will. Although just 12% of respondents would choose a will-writer to make their will this figure is surprisingly high. It no doubt reflects the fact that the general public are broadly unaware that will-writers are...