A Grant of Probate is the legal document that allows you to administer the estate of a loved one who has passed away. There are some circumstances when this may not be needed, and if there is not a Will then you will need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. Bill Pollinger, Executive in our Private Client department, explains here what this legal document is, how to apply for it and how we can help you understand your role in carrying out the probate and estate administration.
Becoming a Deputy means that you have usually been appointed to manage the property and financial affairs of a loved one if they are no longer mentally able to do it themselves, and they did not have a Lasting Power of Attorney. Applying for a Deputyship Order to the Court of Protection can be a complicated process at a time when everyone will need to adjust to a new way of living. Caroline Johnstone, Associate Solicitor in our Private Client department, explains more about a Deputyship and how writing a Lasting Power of Attorney when you still can will avoid this last case scenario.
Following the death of a loved one, even with what seems to be the simplest of estates, you may need to apply for a Grant of Representation, which will be either a Grant of Probate if there is a Will or a Grant of Letters of Administration if there isn’t, because without that you may not have the legal authority to realise and distribute that loved one’s assets. Kevin Horn, Private Client Partner, explains here why probate may be required, what is involved and how we can support you through this emotional and often confusing time.
Sweeping reform of Inheritance Tax (IHT) has been recommended to cut complexity of the so-called ‘death tax’, but experts are warning that individuals will need to review existing planning if the changes go ahead. William Ware, Senior Partner and Wills and Trusts expert within our Private Client team, here reviews the proposed reforms and how you can prepare now for any changes.
Headline recommendations to Government from the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), the independent adviser on simplifying the UK tax system, making recommendations and the consultation and subsequent reporting on IHT, include changing the rules surrounding gifts of cash, property and other assets made while someone is still alive, and an overhaul of the relationship between IHT and Capital Gains Tax for farm and business assets.
Many people consider transferring their property to their children during their lifetime, with one of the main reasons being that it is perceived as a way to avoid care home fees in the future. It is very rarely this straightforward, and there are many...
Probate and administration of the estate ordinarily takes between nine to 12 months, but as there are so many factors that can delay or impact the length of time, it is hard to give a definitive answer. Jane Cox, Partner in our Private Client department, explains the steps involved in probate and estate administration and provides more information on those factors that can impact the timescales.
This week is Dementia Action Week; a week dedicated to uniting people, workplaces, schools and communities to take action and improve the lives of people living with dementia. Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, became a Dementia Friends Champion in June 2018 and explains here how becoming a Dementia Friend can help those living with dementia feel less lonely and more included in their community.
If you are considering disputing a Will under the Inheritance Act, ordinarily you will be required to do so within six months of the Grant of Representation being issued. The Court can grant permission to pursue a claim out of time but the criteria are strict. So in a recent case where the Court granted a widow permission to pursue a claim 25 years out of time that was highly unusual and unprecedented. Kevin Horn, Disputed Wills expert in our Private Client team, reviews the case and explains how you should proceed if you are considering bringing a claim of this nature.
A ballet dancer recently succeeded in her legal battle in which she sought a share of her grandmother’s £650,000 estate after she was able to prove she was financially dependent on her. Kevin Horn, Partner in our Fareham based Private...
Controversial fees that were proposed and scrapped in a matter of weeks last year will now be introduced in April this year following parliamentary approval earlier this month. Probate applications are expected to rise between now and then in order to...
A recent Court decision has highlighted the importance of keeping your Will up to date, and has also provided some clarity in relation to illegitimate minor children contesting a Will. Kevin Horn, Private Client Partner, here reviews the case and...
The outcome in a recent case brings with it an important reminder, particularly to those in the farming industry, that succession planning and clear conversations with your family can prevent claims against the estate in the future. Kevin Horn, Private...
A decision has been reached in the case of Sargeant v Sargeant which has clarified the position for those wishing to apply for further financial provision when a claim of this nature is out of time. Kevin Horn, Private Client Partner, here...
A recent decision heard at the England and Wales Court of Appeal has highlighted the important role witnesses play in the validity of a Will. Kevin Horn, Private Client Partner, here reviews the case and advises on the best practice when writing a...
The passing of a loved one will be a difficult time as you come to terms with your loss and look to make arrangements for their estate.
Owning a property comes with many considerations; one of them being whether you own your property as tenants in common or as joint tenants. Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, explains here the difference between the two statuses, and why they are...
Our Private Client team are always keen to support the local community as well as our clients in their journey towards protecting their future, and as such have recently become a Friend of Age Concern. To celebrate the collaboration, Jane Cox and...
All parents hope that one day their children will own their own home but with rising house prices and inflation, parents are being called upon to either house their children while they save for the deposit or gift the deposit themselves. Jane Cox,...
A new report from Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and independent think tank, Centre for Future Studies, has revealed the UK is in danger of an incapacity crisis. With the ever increasing number of those living with dementia combined with a high...
Solicitors for the Elderly have urged people seek legal advice when drafting their Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) after investigations into the actions of attorneys and deputies soared by 45% in the last 12 months. Here Sue Nicholson, Associate...
After a number of Warner Goodman staff recently became ‘Dementia Friends’, Jane Cox has taken this one step further and has become a ‘Dementia Champion’. This means she can now deliver Information Sessions to businesses and...
The Private Client and Financial Services team of Warner Goodman LLP recently renewed their Dementia Friends training, with more members of the teams also taking part. Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, explains here why they decided to expand their...
Disputing a Will is a complicated process; one made more so if there are questions over where the deceased was domiciled. This must be ascertained before a claim can be made against an estate and here Kevin Horn, Private Client Partner, explains why this is and what evidence may need to be provided should you be considering disputing a Will.
The value of our online lives is worth billions of pounds but many of these assets may never be passed on, as people are failing to record their digital worth. Sue Nicholson, Private Client Lawyer, here reviews how you can protect your digital assets for the future generations, and why this is becoming more important as we move to a more online world.
It was announced yesterday that the Ministry of Justice have launched a £69million refund scheme for those people who paid a fee to register a power of attorney between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017. While some details are yet to be confirmed, Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, explains here how people can apply and who to contact should they have questions.
There are many reasons why it is important to have a Will; one reason being so your estate passes to the people or organisations you wish it to, but also for planning the future for your children. If they are under the age of 18 in the event that both you and their other parent pass away, you need to ensure there are arrangements in place for their welfare.
As we enter a New Year, most people turn their New Year’s resolutions to thoughts of exercising more, eating healthily or learning a new skill. This New Year however Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, is also urging people to maximise their opportunities for inheritance tax reliefs, specifically when referring to gifting to family, friends or charity. Jane explains here the difference between a large and small gift in inheritance tax terms, as well as offering some practical advice when it comes to planning for your future.
Writing a Will is one of the most important documents anyone will make during their lifetime, and yet according to research conducted by Prudential last year, 59% of adults have not written a Will. Dying without a Will leads to complications, but when there are no known family members it can become an even more tricky process.
Writing your Will is one of the most important things you will ever have to do, and it is just as important that you understand the role executors play and who you should choose. Kevin Horn, Private Client Partner, explains here what an executor does, how administering an estate works and why it may be prudent to appoint a solicitor as one of your executors.
On the 26th June 2017 the Government introduced new requirements to be imposed on trustees of trusts requiring them to keep a register of certain information. William Ware, Trusts Partner, here explains why these requirements have been introduced and what Trustees now must do in line with the new directive.
Last month, the Financial Conduct Authority announced their proposals to move the Lasting Power of Attorney process even further online. This would move away from the current position where the documents can be registered online but must have a physical signature.
Launched in 2012, September is World Alzheimer’s Month with World Alzheimer’s Day falling on the 21st of the month. Each year sees a different theme to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia, with the theme this year of “Remember Me”, to highlight the importance of early detection and diagnosis of dementia. Sue Nicholson, Private Client Solicitor, explains here why raising this awareness is so vital and how families can prepare now for any future diagnosis of the disease.
Hampshire-based law firm Warner Goodman LLP is holding a free event on Saturday 23 September 2017 to support people who are looking at moving into a care home. Local people are invited to come and find out more about the financial requirements of such a move, as well as legal considerations such as Lasting Power of Attorney, Life Interest Trust Wills and Wills.
Last week, a retired senior judge warned that Power of Attorney documents are not safeguarding people’s finances adequately and has declared he will never sign one himself. William Ware, Private Client Partner, explains here how a Lasting Power of Attorney is still the most effective way of securing your wishes for the future if you lose capacity, but also gives some cautionary advice as to what steps you should take to ensure you are safeguarded.
Many people do not realise but a marriage automatically revokes any existing Will, meaning that a person could die intestate without realising it. Caroline Johnstone, Private Client Lawyer, here explains the implications that marriage and divorce have on a Will, and what steps you need to take to avoid any issues for your family’s future.
A consultation has been launched by the Law Commission in a bid to draw public opinion on whether the laws on writing a Will are outdated. Jane Cox, Private Client Partner here reviews the reasons behind the launch of the consultation and what the future could hold in terms of probate and estate planning.
Historically, the revelation to children that their parents have not left them as much as they were expecting to be left in their Will has inevitably lead to disappointment, but not litigation. This is changing however as recent figures have shown that the number of Wills being contested by disgruntled children is on the rise.
With the rise in dementia sufferers across the UK, research and investment is critical towards finding a cure, prevention or developing palliative care schemes for this life shattering disease. That’s why Hampshire law firm Warner Goodman LLP are participating in National Cupcake Day, organised by The Alzheimer’s Society.
With the number of people suffering from dementia on the rise, the theme for this year’s Dementia Awareness Week could not be more appropriate. Running from the 14th to 20th May, this year the Alzheimer’s Society who organise the event, are asking people to open up about dementia.
The planned increase in probate fees, that was due to be introduced next week, has now been scrapped by the government ahead of the election. Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, reviews here why this has happened and what it means for estate planning in the future.
Record numbers of inheritance disputes are going through the courts as modern family structures and rising house prices push more families to contest unfavourable outcomes.
The Ministry of Justice have recently announced that probate fees will increase from May 2017, even though only 1.6% of respondents agreed with the proposals during the consultation process. Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, reviews the new charges that will be coming in and advises how people can act now to protect their assets.
We may be forgiven for overlooking a significant change due to be implemented in April 2017, seeing as the plans were announced in the Summer budget of 2015. However, now is a good time to make sure you’re maximising your opportunities for inheritance tax reliefs. This year, as well as taking advantage of exempt lifetime gifts and transfers, property owners should also look at how the new transferable residence nil rate band can be beneficial to their estate.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s have become the biggest cause of death in Britain for the first time, overtaking heart disease. This increase has consequently led to the rise in Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs), and here Sue Nicholson, Private Client Lawyer, explains the importance of having an LPA in place.
Having a Will is probably one of the most important things you can do to secure your family’s future, but many people are not aware that they can also leave a legacy to charity in their Will. Around £2.5billion is raised for charities each year through legacies and while 35% of people say they want to leave a legacy, only about 6% of people actually do.
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney is an excellent way to protect your future in the event that you are no longer able to make important decisions about your financial, property or medical affairs. A recent report however has highlighted the concerns around the different methods to produce an LPA, mainly the use of online or ‘DIY’ tools.
Writing a Will can be a straight forward process, however more often than not there are factors that must be considered as part of that process. It is self evident that a person wishing to make a Will must have the capacity to do so, however a recent case has also highlighted the need for knowledge and approval of its contents; a point that some may believe obvious but in this area, something that can be overlooked or misinterpreted.
Serving in the armed forces will naturally mean spending time overseas, but what about your life at home while you are away? If you are looking to buy or sell your home and then are deployed, there will be matters to arrange, and with you not contactable this could lead to unnecessary delay or even the house purchase or sale falling through. Sophie Flack, Residential Conveyancing Executive, explains here how a Power of Attorney could help you keep things on track.
When choosing a law firm to assist you in safeguarding your family’s future through a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney, it can be hard to decide. That’s why being a member of ‘Solicitors for the Elderly’ (SFE) is part of a unique offering that Warner Goodman LLP can give to those unsure of how best to protect their family assets and security. Caroline Johnstone, Private Client Lawyer, here explains why having this qualification means we’re well suited for you to put your affairs in order.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month; a time to raise awareness of the impact this illness has on those diagnosed as well as their family and friends. None of us know what is around the corner and unfortunately cases of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other incapacitating diseases are rising.
The death of a loved one is always a traumatic time for everyone concerned, and those closest to them will be keen to ensure that their last act performed for their family member, plan their funeral, is how they would have wanted it. For some families though, this is getting harder to achieve as less of us are making Wills or making our wishes known, and the cost of planning a funeral and all that entails is rising.
The High Court has decided that a claimant who entered a caveat and then unsuccessfully challenged the validity of a Will without reasonable cause should pay the court costs of both sides.
In Davies and another v Davies  EWCA Civ 463, the Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal against an award of £1.3 million in satisfaction of a claim for equitable relief based on proprietary estoppel and has reduced the award to £500,000.
Currently more than half of UK adults don’t have a will. When you consider the number of co-habiting couples (who don’t receive the same rights upon death as married couples under the intestacy rules) and extended families it is a surprising statistic. Failure to make a Will can leave loved ones suffering financial hardship and lead to a disputed estate.
Congratulations! You’ve signed on the dotted line, eaten cake, drank champagne and danced the Macarena alongside friends and family. You’re officially one half of a married couple.
A new scheme allowing media access to Court of Protection hearings across England and Wales has been piloted, applying to new proceedings issued from now onwards. Hearings already scheduled under the old rules will not be changed but some urgent hearings will be fed through to courts.
The High Court has recently ruled in favour of a builder after the Will, in which he was named as sole beneficiary, was challenged by three beneficiaries from a previous Will for the deceased. Kirsten Edberg, Private Client Lawyer, reviews the case and advises those who are considering contesting a Will that the process is a complex one.
On 17th August, the EU Regulation on Succession came into force in an attempt to simplify the law around succession of assets if a person passes away having owned property in more than one country in the European Union. Jane Cox, Private Client Lawyer, here explains exactly what this means for citizens living in the UK, and what steps you need to take with reference to your Will.
Plans proposed recently by Government and supported by HM Revenue and Customs will see the amount of inheritance tax payable by individuals paying capital into trusts increase following the introduction of a change to the current seven year system. William Ware, Private Client Partner, explains what these changes mean for you and how you can prepare for the future.
In an unprecedented decision the Court of Appeal has awarded a daughter, who was deliberately cut out of her mother’s Will, £163,000 from her late mother’s estate. Kirsten Edberg, Private Client Lawyer, here reviews the surprising outcome in the case, and explains what this may mean for the future when it comes to who we do, or do not, choose as beneficiaries in our Will.
The Court of Appeal has overturned the High Court decision in the recent ‘donatio mortis causa’, sometimes referred to as a deathbed wish, case of King v Dubrey and others . Kirsten Edberg, Private Client Solicitor, here explains what this means and how the Court of Appeal reached their decision.
The Summer Budget was full of headline statements and here Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, takes a detailed look at how the rise of the Inheritance Tax threshold will work in practice.
A survey conducted by HSBC and released in April this year has shown that people are becoming more reliant on receiving inheritance from their parents to fund their retirement, rather than saving during their lives. It was also in April that the Care Home Act 2014 came into force and with it will come greater scrutiny by local authorities on care home fee avoidance schemes.
This week will see The Alzheimer’s Society annual Dementia Awareness Week, and with 800,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK and that number growing each year, it’s never been more important to prepare for what the future could bring.
British expats and people with foreign holiday homes must take stock to deal with the new tax regime that came into force this month. That’s the warning from William Ware, Private Client Partner, as Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is extended to non-UK residents selling UK residential property.
The importance of having your personal affairs in order has once again been highlighted in a case where the claimant has been dubbed the ‘Cowshed Cinderella’. While this sounds like a fairy tale, it has in fact been a harrowing journey for one family, which has resulted in a daughter being awarded £1.3million. Sue Nicholson, Private Client Lawyer, reviews the case and how this has implications for all, not just those in the farming industry.
The matter of inheritance should be top of the agenda for Chancellor George Osborne in the countdown to the general election. William Ware, Private Client Partner, summarises here what the Chancellor had to say in his recent Spring budget statement, and explains why the subject of inheritance tax was also a hot topic.
Failure to report a cash gift from his late father has landed a carpenter with an £87,000 penalty from HM Revenue and Customs. William Ware, Private Client Partner, explains why this case, the first to test the position in court, is a warning to anyone who fails to come up with the facts when asked questions by those handling the estate of someone who has died.
Many people looking to get onto the property ladder for the first time are struggling as they face hefty deposits and tough mortgage acceptance questions. Even with schemes such as Help to Buy the prospect is a daunting one, and some parents are stepping in to assist. William Ware, Private Client Partner, here advises how parents can buy a second property for their children to live in while they save for their own home, and can do so without paying Capital Gains Tax (CGT).
The loss of a loved one is an extremely distressing time for all concerned, and this can be heightened if there are disputes arising from a Will, trust or probate arrangements. Kirsten Edberg, Private Client Lawyer, has recently joined the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) as an Associate Member to bring the best advice possible to people in Hampshire during this emotional time.
When a loved one goes missing our first thoughts are of finding them safe and well and returning them home. Over time, if they are not found, while that feeling never leaves, other concerns come to the front, such as financial and legal responsibilities. The Presumption of Death Act came into force on 1st October 2014.
The rise in DIY Will services has led to a sharp increase in the amount of claims for mishandling a deceased’s estate, with the High Court releasing figures showing that these claims have tripled in the last year. Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, explains the importance of seeking professional advice when preparing your Will and appointing executors, ensuring your wishes are respected without your loved ones facing a hefty bill.
From October, different rules come into force on how assets should be distributed when someone dies without making a Will, but it is still likely to cause a shock to families, particularly where couples were not married or in a civil partnership. Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, here explains the changes that will impact families in the future.
Research conducted by the Dying Matters Coalition shows how people are still not talking about their wishes for after their death, and also introduces a new area of consideration in terms of digital legacies.
The Private Client Team at Hampshire based law firm Warner Goodman LLP have recently undergone training to become Dementia Friends. With the Alzheimer’s Society predicting that over 1 million people will be living with dementia by 2021, it’s vital for community members to understand how they can support those living with dementia and their families, a campaign that is being highlighted this week with Dementia Awareness Week.
Dementia sufferers wanting to remain in their own home have been given hope thanks to a lifelong political campaigner. Caroline Johnstone, Private Client Lawyer, reviews how a challenge to Westminster Council over residential care that has successfully been fought on behalf of dementia campaigner and former politician, Manuela Sykes, highlights the importance of making one’s wishes known before illness strikes.
Globalisation is leading more young professionals into international work and they look set to be the winners in changes in inheritance tax rules in the UK. Jane Cox, Private Client Partner at Hampshire based law firm Warner Goodman LLP reviews the new rules, designed to reflect the lifestyle changes of the rising tide of overseas workers who are increasingly likely to marry someone from a different country.
With the number of remarriages increasing, consequently leading to complicated family structures in terms of wills and probate, William Ware, Private Client Partner at Hampshire based law firm Warner Goodman LLP looks at the impact that this is having on inheritance claims and what this means for you and your family.
The recent case of Kloosman v Aylen highlights the need to obtain proper legal advice and to openly discuss intentions before making large lifetime gifts. Elderly parents wanting to benefit children or friends before they die need to consider the consequences, and be clear and open about their intentions if they want to avoid family fights and court battles advises William Ware, Private Client Partner.
It is not often that a law report from the Court of Protection provides a chuckle for practising lawyers. This is precisely what happened this week however for a group of lawyers at Hampshire based law firm Warner Goodman LLP!
Experts warn householders to take care over asset protection schemes against future care home contributions. Following the long awaited announcement on the changes to residential care fee contributions, homeowners with higher value property are being drawn to routes to protect their assets, but experts are warning them to watch out for expensive schemes that will not work.
This week saw a milestone decision from Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, when he announced changes to the funding arrangements for the elderly. William Ware, Private Client Partner, has welcomed the plans that will see pensioners with savings of up to £123,000 receive state support for their care costs, a rise from the previous amount of £23,250.
Government plans to raise the proposed lifetime cap on care fee contributions by the elderly to £60,000 have been met with a storm of protest, but those who wish to provide for care in retirement are being encouraged to take steps to protect their assets now.
Following on from the news that 97% of our clients were happy with our services and would use us again, we can now also confirm that our clients are so satisifed with our work, they’ll tell us so in poetry!