Author: Angie NewnhamHaving worked for various law firms in the Bournemouth and Poole area Angie Newnham decided to set up her own business in 2010. Angie’s experience covers a range of legal disciplines including Property Law and Conveyancing, which includes both residential, commercial and agricultural work, Social Housing, Landlord & Tenant issues, Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney and a niche interest in equine law and equestrian agreements.

Office Closure 1st/2nd March 2018

Due to the current weather conditions we have closed the office.  Our main phone lines are therefore currently unmanned.  Staff will be working remotely so please use email to communicate with the person/team dealing with your matter or use the office email for initial enquiries.    We will then be able to continue to deal with your matter and provide appropriate mobile numbers where applicable.

Stay safe and warm

Angie Newnham (MD)

 

Office Closure 1st/2nd March 2018
Why Have an LPA?

Why Have an LPA?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that  allows you to appoint  individuals you trust (Attorneys’) to make decisions for you if you no longer wish to do so for yourself or if you reach a point where you are no longer able to make decisions.  There are two types of LPA,  one is in relation to your property and finances and the other one is in relation to your health and welfare.  You don’t have to  have both types of LPA although it is wise to consider having both in place.

Despite popular belief, LPAs are not just for the elderly. Planning ahead can ease the potential burden on your loved ones in case of a sudden injury or illness.   It is always a good idea to have an LPA in place at an early stage when you have the choice of appointing someone you love and trust to this position, otherwise the Court of Protection may intervene and manage your financial affairs for you or the Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection may not have been your choice for dealing with your affairs.

The benefits of having an LPA in place are:

  •  Saving Money – Without an LPA your family members may have no say in how your money is to be spent as the Court of Protection may step in to manage your finances and the legal fees in obtaining a Deputyship Order are generally considerably more than the cost of putting an LPA in place.  It will also be necessary for the Deputy to make annual reports and obtain valuations of your assets, all of which add considerably to the cost of handling your affairs on your behalf.
  •  Peace of mind – It’s always better to have someone that you trust and have chosen yourself to manage your affairs rather than someone appointed by the Court of Protection or the local authority who you’ve never met before.
  •  Save distress to your family – Your loved ones will find it very difficult to manage your financial affairs for you if you don’t have a Property & Financial Affairs LPA as they will have no legal authority to do so. This will only add to the stress  if they are unable to access finances to manage your personal needs due to an incapacity.  Many health professionals will only deal with family members in respect of your Health & Welfare when you lack capacity if you have a Health & Welfare LPA in place.  Without one your loved ones may have no say in your health care.  A Health & Welfare LPA also provides you with the ability to allow your Attorneys to give or withold consent to life sustaining treatment when you lack capacity to make the decision for yourself.
  •  Prevent financial hardship to your family – If one of the joint account holders looses mental capacity, the other account holder doesn’t automatically have a right of access unless an LPA was made prior to the incapacity or there’s a Court of Protection Order.   If the joint account is frozen this could result in a significant financial hardship for a spouse or a partner who will have no access to the monies in the account which they may require for their daily living expenses.

If you have any questions about LPAs contact Angie Newnham today on 01202 877 400!

What Does an Executor Do?

Many aren’t aware of the obligations that come with being an Executor of someone’s Will. Executors have a number of duties, depending on the complexity of the deceased person’s financial and family circumstances.

An Executor’s first task would be to find the deceased person’s property and manage it until it’s shared amongst the beneficiaries. This may involve deciding whether to sell land or securities owned by the deceased person. Making enquiries with both asset and liability holders and obtaining valuations for property, land, and personal chattels is the Executor’s requirement. After the enquiries have been made it will be clear to the Executor whether or not a Grant of Probate would be needed for dealing with the administration of the estate

A Grant of Probate is a document which authorises the executor to deal with the estate of the deceased. It enables them to deal with certain aspects of administering the estate like closing bank accounts and selling or transferring property. A Grant of Probate is not required to deal with the handling of all estates, however it is often the case that one would be required.

Once the assets and liabilities of the estate have been determined, the Executors will be required to submit an Inheritance Tax return which will confirm whether there is any Inheritance Tax due from the estate. The Executors will need to make sure that any reliefs have been applied and that the right sum of Inheritance Tax is paid. The Executors will also need to consider any lifetime gifts which the deceased made in the 7 years prior to their death as well as any trusts which they may have benefited from.

After completing the Inheritance Tax return the Executor will need to sign and swear an Oath. The Oath sets out information of the deceased and how the Executor has the right to deal with the administration of the estate. The Oath is submitted to the Probate Registry once it has been both signed and sworn. The Grant of Probate is normally issued in two weeks.

After receiving the Grant of Probate you would be able to progress with collecting in the assets of the estate. You will be able to arrange the closure of bank accounts and the sale and transfer of the property.

After all of the assets have been collected in and all of the liabilities have been paid, the Executors will then be able to distribute the estate according to the Will, or if there was no Will and the deceased died “intestate” then the estate will need to be distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy.  A set of Estate Accounts should be produced and –  if requested – should be made available to beneficiaries and creditors of the estate.

The distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries is the Executor’s final task regarding its administration. An Executor is not required to administer an estate before the expiration of one year from the date of death (the “Executor’s Year”). However, if all of the assets have been collected in and all liabilities settled then there is no reason to delay paying the beneficiaries.

If you have been appointed as an Executor and you require any assistance in dealing with the administration of an estate please contact Angie Newnham on 1301202 877 400!

What Does an Executor Do?
The Stamp Duty Land Tax Change – A Huge Relief for First-Time Buyers

The Stamp Duty Land Tax Change – A Huge Relief for First-Time Buyers

It was announced yesterday that Stamp Duty Land Tax will be scrapped immediately for first-time buyers of homes up to £300,000. The move was made in an attempt to reduce the ever growing gap between homeowners and first-time buyers and is set to benefit 95% of first time buyers. The move will likely abolish Stamp Duty for about 80 % of them. It’s predicted that thanks to this change 300,000 homes would be built by the middle of the next decade and that more than one million young people would take advantage of this change over the next five years.

Dying Without a Will: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Dying without a Will makes life even harder for those left behind following a bereavement and can be the cause of all kinds of disputes and family rifts. The law decides who gets what and how much when you don’t leave a will when you die – it doesn’t matter what your relationship with those people was like when you were still alive.

With the modern family things get even more complicated. Without a Will, your spouse or civil partner may not  inherit ALL of your estate automatically and common-law partners may not receive anything at all even to the extent of being forced out of their home.   Add to that, not having a Will can cause lengthy delays for your state dictated beneficiaries.

A good example of the possible issues that can arise from not having a Will is the case with Jimi Hendrix. The American rock star did not leave a Will after he died in 1970.  As a result of that his father Al Hendrix inherited his son’s £51 estate and left it to his step-daughter, which prompted a lawsuit by Jimi’s biological son.

Dying without a valid will is called intestacy or dying intestate.

The law about exactly who gets what is different in England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but there are some common problems wherever you live.

Potential problems in case you don’t have a Will:

 

  • Your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die if you’re not married and not in a civil partnership.
  • If you’re married, your spouse might inherit most or even all of your estate and your children might not get anything (except in Scotland). This is the case even if you are separated but not if you’re divorced.
  • If you have children under the age of 18, you need to appoint Guardians within a Will otherwise in the even of the death of both natural parents they children will become Wards of the Court who will decide where they live and how they are educated and this will not necessarily be with the people or family that you would have chosen for yourself.
  • If you have children or grandchildren, how much they inherit will depend on where you live in the UK – but if you make a Will you can decide this yourself.
  • Any Inheritance Tax that your estate has to pay might be higher than it would be if you had made a Will.
  • If you die with no living close relatives, your whole estate will belong to the Crown or in other words – to the government. This law is called bona vacantia.

 

Any assets that you own jointly with someone will pass by survivorship to the surviving joint owner and not under the intestacy rules. It’s important that you understand whether you own an asset as “joint tenants” or as “tenants in common” in order to establish who will inherit the asset or your share of the asset.

It is also important to ensure that you obtain professional advice when preparing your Will and that it is correctly drafted in accordance with your wishes, making the best use of the various IHT saving incentives available.   You should also ensure that your Will is drafted by a qualified and regulated professional (not an unregulated Will-Writer) and be wary about using “free Will Writing Services” as you are unlikely to be given proper professional advice upon the draft and sadly by the time a problem becomes apparent you may well have past and are unable to make any rectification to the problem but have left a problem for your beneficiaries.

It’s safe to say that everyone who has any type of asset which he/she would wish friends, relatives or charities to benefit from should have a Will. For any questions and queries regarding Wills, Probate and LPA contact Angie Newnham today on 01202877400 – Option Private Client/Wills & Probate.

This article is intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.
Dying Without a Will: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?