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29 Mar

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The Benefits of Writing a Will

29th March 2016 | By | No Comments

Although the thought of someone close to us passing away can be something of a morbid thought, there is a lot of preparation that needs to be carried out for when each of us passes away. One of the most important documents we create in relation to our passing is a Will, and is important for a number of different reasons.

Ensuring Your Possessions Are Distributed Accordingly

We all have possessions that we would like to pass to future generations, and preparing a Will is the best way to ensure this happens to your specifications. Not having a Will prepared can bring a plethora of problems, as there is no sure fire way of determining who should receive what possessions. With no Will in place, it is likely that the law will decide as to how your estate will be distributed.

Inheritance Tax

In layman’s terms, inheritance tax is the tax you pay on your estate. It dictates the value of your estate once everything you owe has been paid.

Preparing a Will ensure that you’re not paying too much inheritance tax, as there are particular people and organisations that can receive certain things without inheritance tax being charged. When your inheritance tax is in order, then it’s possible that you could leave more money to your loved ones, as opposed to paying it in tax.

Appoint a Legal Guardian for Minors

Preparing a Will is not all about the financial aspects of our lives, it also concerns those closest to us. There is nothing more precious to us than our children, and as such, we want to ensure they’re looked after should anything happen.

Without a Will, it is likely that children who aren’t old enough to look after themselves will be placed into the care of the authorities, who will decide on their welfare moving forward.

However, preparing a Will allows you to appoint your own guardian, so you can be safe in the knowledge that should anything ever happen, your children are going to be well looked after.

It should be noted that the person appointed as a guardian would be responsible for the day-to-day care of the children, as well as their overall wellbeing.

Trust Funds for Children

While we want to ensure our loved ones are cared for once we’re gone, we also have to ensure that any money left will be used responsibly.  This allows you to put stipulations as to when the fund can be accessed, and what terms are associated with the accessing of funds.

Funeral Arrangements

Arranging a funeral can be stressful or upsetting, which can be made worse when the person in charge is struggling to pay for certain aspects of the funeral. Preparing a Will not only gives your loved one’s quicker access to funds so that funeral arrangements can be taken care off, but you can also stipulate any particular arrangements you would like to put in place, this normally is in the form of a pre-paid funeral plan.

These are only a handful of reasons why writing a Will is a good idea. Overall, if you want to ensure your wishes are adhered to following your passing, then the preparation of a Will is something that you should be acting on as soon as possible.

03 Nov

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Why do I need a lasting power attorney?

3rd November 2015 | By | No Comments

The LPAs (Lasting Power Attorney) English laws were formulated in the mental capacity act 2005. The laws came into existence in the year 2007. The Lasting power attorney laws replaced the EPA (Enduring Power of Attorney) laws that were narrower in scope. The intent of these laws is manageable and straightforward since they serve the individuals who think that they might face difficulties in future as they try to manage their financial affairs (those that will lack capacity in the words of the act). The LPA hence makes it possible for these individuals to make various appropriate arrangements that help them in achieving various necessary steps that aim at giving their family members or trusted family friends the authority to make important decisions on their behalf.

Why will you require a lasting power attorney?

In case you realize that you will not be in a position to carry out various activities in future which involve making various critical and significant financial arrangements in future, you should go ahead and sign a document known as the LPA-PA, which gives another person the authority to make decisions on your behalf. If you worry about what will happen to your goods once you die, you should take broad steps in trying to show that you want them safe while you are alive. A will instructions ensure that all your wealth resources have been distributed as per your wishes but the LPA-PA will ensure that there is a person who is involved in making decisions after you are gone. This will only happen if you are not able to manage the resources while you are alive.

You should understand that after you sign the LPA-PA, your representative is given the mandate to represent you in case you are not able to carry out various activities due to mental incapacitate or any illness. You should ensure that you are mentally capable while doing the signing and ensure that you do it in time since it could be too late.

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The ‘five rules.’

The guiding principles that were outlined during the enactment of the MCA 2005 were split into five rules. The rules indicate the mental capacity that is required for interpretation.

  1.    Assumptions of the person having the capacity are made unless the lack of capacity is  established.
  2.    A person should not be rendered incapable unless several steps to help him have been carried out and have borne no fruits.
  3.    The person should not be treated as unable to make wise decisions just because he made an unwise decision.
  4.    If there are acts that are done or any decisions carried out which are made in his absentee, they should be done in his best interests.
  5.    Before making the decisions, Regards must be done to ensure that the purpose meant for carrying out some of these activities has been achieved in a way that the person rights are not restricted via the freedom of action.

If at all you have not signed the LPA-PA, you will find it hard while making various decisions and efforts to manage your affairs in future.

The different things that could happen to you include:

  1.    When you suffer an accident and you are then confined to a hospital bed
  2.    When you are involved in an accident, that incapacitates you permanently.
  3.    When you are timeworn and, you become mentally incapacitated.

Conclusion

How would you feel if a stranger just came to your property and took over and made decisions that were against your will?

You should take time and consider the LAP-PA document and realize the various things that you should do to ensure that you have identified the right person who will be in charge of your property once you are not able to make decisions. If at all you suffer loss in the mental capacity and you do not have the LPA-PA, the Court of Protection shall appoint a deputy to take the role of managing your property. Therefore, it is always advisable that you obtain the LPA-PA since you would not be happy if someone you never liked having access to your bank account.

For a fixed fee of £399 per LPA Hatfield Daniels LLP shall visit you in the comfort of your own home, discuss your wishes and gather the relevant information. The LPA(s) shall be drafted in accordance with your instructions and we will ensure that all the necessary signatures are obtained. Should you wish to register your LPA(s) with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), we shall be delighted to do so on your behalf for a fee of £199 per LPA (Including the OPG fee).

03 Nov

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What is probate ?

3rd November 2015 | By | No Comments

When a person dies and owns significant assets, a probate grant has to be obtained from a court for that person’s estate to be collected and divested among all beneficiaries. Probate is a term that describes this process and the “Grant of Probate” that must be issued to initiate it.

In addition to the above, an inheritance tax return is made to HMRC and any taxes owed are paid. Income tax affairs and pensions are finalised and the estate is collected from banks, building societies and other assets. Then, money and gifts that are due to beneficiaries are given to them after accounts for the estate have been prepared.

There are two types of grants – probates and letters of administration. Probate grants occur when the deceased has left behind a valid Will. It is given in favour of one or all of the executors of that Will.

Letters of administration are granted where the deceased did not leave a Will. This is a process that is still referred to as probate, but there are a few differences in how the grant is issued. The individuals entitled to obtain it can apply to the Probate Registry for it. Once the subsidy is released, they have proof they are allowed to deal with the deceased’s assets.

When Is Probate Required?

Probate is required in the UK in England and Wales when a property such as residences, constructions or area is owned by the deceased. A grant called a Grant of Representation is required by a bank or other financial institution where the deceased had accounts or assets held.

This grant will generally be needed if the accounts are over a specific amount. The thresholds are set by individual institutions, so the executors should take care to find out these limits from individual banks in order to determine if, in fact, the Grant of Representation is required.

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Whose Responsibility Is It to Obtain Probate?

In a case where a person dies with a Will, his or her executors are bound for obtaining probate. In situations where the person departs without a Will, this responsibility becomes that of the next of kin.

The person or persons who apply for probate are responsible for collecting all assets and paying all taxes and debts before distributing any remaining monies or assets to the beneficiaries. It must be noted that when someone begins to administer an estate and then chooses to stop either because they wish for someone else to do the job or because they find out that they are not entitled to do it they may still be liable as an administrator or executor of that estate.

Why Hire Hatfield Daniels LLP?

The probate process is extremely complex. Tax returns have to be made to HMRC on the basis of all information culled from the holders of all the deceased’s assets and his or her liabilities. These include bank accounts, investments, and pensions among other assets.

Once taxes are paid, the rest of the assets have to be put towards any remaining debts and then they have to be distributed according to the Will. If there were no Will, this could be a complicated process if any of the beneficiaries are in disagreement about who gets what.

In addition, any executor or next of kin could be liable personally if any mistakes are made, or any distributions were done improperly. One way to circumvent these predicaments is to hire a firm to handle the probate of any estate, whether the individual died with a Will or died intestate.

24 Sep

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Are your children heading into foster care if you die?

24th September 2015 | By | No Comments

If you are a parent, you will know the amount of weight that this question holds on you. Our children are our life and blood, and the last thing we want is to leave them on their own. Read More

13 Sep

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Funeral Poverty

13th September 2015 | By | No Comments

The general Consequences If You Die without a Will!

Going six feet below without writing down a WILL can be termed as funeral poverty. Read More