Wills, Trusts and Probate

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Solicitor Charlotte Mitchell looks at the pitfalls of making a Lasting Power of Attorney online Are you thinking of making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)? If so, this article explains why you should avoid the temptation to opt for a ‘DIY’ LPA online and why you should use a Solicitor to prepare your LPA. What is a LPA? A LPA is a legal document which allows you to appoint individuals to make decisions for you (if you were to loose your ability to...

The problem of dishonest attorneys is in the news again. The latest report to hit the press involves an attorney who stole £194k from his mother who was suffering from dementia   “Cunning” attorney jailed for financial abuse An attorney who was jailed for five-and-a-half years for stealing his mother’ life savings was described as “cunning, depraved and incredibly selfish” in court. The attorney abused his position by selling his mother’s property when she went into a nursing home after being diagnosed with dementia....

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...