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Wills, Trusts & Probate Blog

Inheritance tax threshold frozen - but why is IHT planning still important?

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If you intend to leave savings, property or other assets to family or friends after you die, you need to consider inheritance tax (IHT). It could cost your heirs up to 40% of their inheritance. By planning ahead, you can minimise IHT and ensure as much of...

Kick the frivolity and take the higher road over inheritance

Amanda Voakes
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Inheritance disputes may have risen in response to soaring property prices, second marriages and blended families, with relatives more likely to feel they are missing out, but the courts are pushing back on frivolous claims and obstructive family...

Why cohabiting couples must consider estate planning

Amanda Voakes
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Millions of couples across the UK are choosing to forego marriage and live as cohabitees. However, without proper estate planning, they could be putting their finances at risk. Unlike their married counterparts, unmarried couples have no automatic right to...

Care Fees Myths

Fiona McLeish
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Out of the 15 million people who are aged 65 or over in the UK, approximately 400,000 (2.6%) will move into a care home at some point in their lives. Knowing what you or a family member should be paying for living in a care home is not an easy question....

Court of Protection rules COVID-19 vaccine should be given in best interest decision

Fiona McLeish
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In January the Court of Protection confirmed that it was lawful and in the best interest of a care home resident for her to receive the COVID-19 vaccination where she did not have mental capacity to consent. The resident in question (Mrs E) had been...

What are Letters of Wishes and Statements?

Sian Blackman
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Letters of wishes or Statements are used as a supplement to the Will to expand on certain clauses. They are in no way legally binding, they merely sit alongside the Will as a guide. The documents act as a summary or explanation of the Will itself, giving...

I can leave £1 million to my family without paying Inheritance Tax... or can I?

Kate Twigg
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In 2017 the government announced that they were introducing an additional inheritance tax allowance that meant that married couples can leave up to £1 million worth of assets free of Inheritance Tax. However, things are not quite as clear cut as you...

Protecting digital assets and memories is vital as the shift online continues

Amanda Voakes
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The value of our online lives is becoming immeasurable, yet few people are recording or protecting their digital assets.  Whether the financial value of investments or the emotional value of family photos, if there is no arrangement in place to hand on...

New year, new you? Why it might be a good time to write a will

Amanda Voakes
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There is no denying that 2020 is a year which will go down in history - for many reasons. The global pandemic, Brexit, and the fallout from these events has had a significant impact on many areas of our lives. These events may have far-reaching implications...

Should you do something to protect your estate against future care fees?

Dan Fellows
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When I am discussing Wills and Estate Planning with clients, it often becomes clear that my clients are worried they will lose everything if they go into care. In many cases, after looking at their finances and analysing the existing care fee scheme, I am...

Make a Will, not a homemade mistake

Dan Fellows
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With everything going on at the moment, much more than usual people are aware of their own mortality and, naturally, many people have decided they cannot put making a Will off any longer. However, I have no doubt that making a Will may seem easier said than...

Running a charity in times of COVID-19

Victoria Reeds
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If you are a trustee or member of a charity you will be used to attending meetings in person, especially if you are part of a small, local charity. With the arrival of Covid – 19 and the first lockdown, many charities put on hold their usual meetings,...

How do I protect my equity in a property?

Joe Pegler
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For many people, buying a property is an exciting event. When purchasing with somebody else, there is always a lot to consider and it is particularly important that you are clear about the extent of your respective shares in the property, from the outset. ...

Charitable donations could save you thousands in inheritance tax

Lauren Walker
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The UK population generously donates on average £10 billion per year to charities, so why should this end on death? Did you know a charitable donation could save your estate inheritance tax? In the article below, I deal with three key questions when...

Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyships - What is the difference?

Sian Blackman
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Many people have heard of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA's) and Deputyship Orders but are unsure of the difference between the two. Put simply LPA's are made when you still have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself and manage your...

Witnessing of Wills in the new age of social distancing - video-witnessing to become legalised in England and Wales

Alexandra Hamilton
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As all solicitors in England and Wales will be aware, arranging the witnessing of Wills during the Covid-19 pandemic has become something of a logistical nightmare. It therefore comes as welcome news that the Government intend to pass legislation in September 2020 allowing for the remote electronic witnessing of Wills, albeit only a temporary change.

Lights, camera, action... signing your will goes live

Amanda Voakes
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Experts are warning against self-directed videos following the announcement by the Government that legislation is to be introduced in September to allow Wills to be signed remotely using a live video link.   While the coronavirus pandemic...

Our offices are open!

Emma Todd
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During the past few months, although our doors have had to remain closed, Chattertons have ensured that we are still able to offer a great service to our clients, even though we have not been able to offer a face to face service due to the Covid-19...

Managing your affairs during the Covid-19 Crisis - the right time is now

Florence Gardner
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The current Covid-19 pandemic has caused many of us to reflect upon our own mortality and the need to manage our own affairs. During these difficult times, many of us have also found ourselves with time that we have never had before. It is often the case...

Valid Will Signings at Home

Sian Blackman
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Chattertons understand that there is a great deal of uncertainty at this time, especially in regard to Will signings. There are strict rules laid down regarding how a Will should be signed to ensure it is effective and therefore, we usually recommend that...

COVID-19 Office Closure

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COVID-19 CLIENT NOTICE Chattertons are open and we are working hard to provide our usual high standard of service to our clients. We are now able to see clients for essential meetings, by appointment only.   Most of our advisors are working...

Wills Trusts and Probate during COVID-19

Amanda Voakes
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Chattertons Solicitors Private Client team continue to support individuals with putting in place or reviewing Wills, Powers of Attorney and the administration of estates during the coronavirus crisis.  We are following Government recommendations and...

Coronavirus COVID-19 Chattertons Update

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Chattertons Solicitors  are open for business.  However we are following government recommendations and would encourage you not to visit any of our offices except by prior arrangement. We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and are...

Do you pay inheritance tax on lifetime gifts?

Lauren Griffiths
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Most people will have heard of the '7 year rule' with regard to inheritance tax payable on gifts made during a person's lifetime.  Often the rules are confused and misinterpreted. Current HMRC guidelines outline that any gifts totalling...

CHANGE TO THE AMOUNT A SPOUSE OR CIVIL PARTNER RECEIVES UNDER THE INTESTACY RULES

Rebecca Taylor
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If you die without making a valid Will your estate will be administered under the intestacy rules. Under the intestacy rules, if you die leaving a surviving spouse or civil partner and children (or other descendants), the surviving spouse or civil partner is...

Proposed changes to the law on Wills

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In July 2017, a four month public consultation was issued by the Law Commission on reforming the current law of wills which dates back to 1837.  They also proposed reforms to the test of a person’s capacity  to make a will, which was set out...

Digital Assets - What are they and what do they mean to me?

Hayden Burton
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Due to the substantial expansion in the use of information communication technologies in the last two decades, digitals assets are now more prevalent than ever before. However, they are often not considered when discussing estate planning . With the...

PROBATE COURT FEE INCREASE SCRAPPED ... AGAIN

Rebecca Taylor
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The government's controversial proposal to increase probate fees from the current fixed fee of £215 (or £155 if applying through a solicitor) to fees of £250 to £6,000 has been scrapped. Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, who...

I'm Too Young to Make a Will...

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From the age of 18 you are legally an adult and can make a Will setting out what you want to happen to your children, pets, property and assets when you die.    You may think you're too young to make a Will, but the chances are that...

The importance of estate planning - deciding "who died first"

Fiona McLeish
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The importance of estate planning – deciding “who died first”. In the first case of its kind since 1950 Judge Kramer in Scarle –v- Scarle was asked to answer the question that many clients have “what happens if we die...

Do I really need an LPA and can I do it myself

Lauren Walker
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Do I really need an LPA and can I do it myself? The Office of the Public Guardian have reported that less than 1% of the adult UK population have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). However, we are all at risk of losing our mental capacity in some way or...

Prize Possessions - What Do You Do With Your Children?

Sophie Sullivan
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A guide to appointing guardians in your will. There is a general conception that Wills are for the elderly and those in ill-health but life is uncertain and everyone needs a Will, to ensure your hard-earnt assets go to the...

Lasting Powers of Attorney - Avoid a lifetime legacy of worry

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Around 31 million British adults have no will according to a recent survey by Which? There is a regional split of those without a will – 42% of adults in England say they have a will, 35% in Wales and 31% in Scotland.  The reasons quoted for not...

Nutt -v- Nutt [2018] EWHC 851 (CH)

Nicola Parr
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On 19 April 2018 Master Clark handed down Judgment in the case of Nutt –v- Nutt [2018] EWHC 851 (CH). The case involved the Estate of Lily Rose Nutt (“Lily”) who was born on the 4 th November 1924 and who died on 25 February 2013 aged...

Joint Ownership - Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common?

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When I am taking instructions for wills, I ask my clients if they own any property and if so, whether it is owned in their sole name or jointly.  Many married and cohabiting couples own their home jointly and I am often met with blank or confused...

Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

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None of us want to imagine a time when we are no longer capable of making our own decisions.  Yet as medical advances enable us to live longer, the chances of needing help later in life increase. Do you know who would manage your finances or make...

Appointing Executors of your will - who to choose?

Florence Gardner
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When an individual decides to make a Will , they may assume that the most important consideration is who will benefit from their estate, and how much they will receive. However, choosing the right Executors to appoint should also be a significant...

Claim a Lasting Power of Attorney refund

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If you applied to register a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 you can apply to the Office of the Public Guardian to get part of your application fee back. A claim can be made by either the donor who made the LPA or an...

The danger of homemade Wills. Penny wise, pound foolish?

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Creating a Will is the essential way to make sure your assets are distributed according to your final wishes.  However many fail to prepare one for fear of the cost.  This results in some people using the cheap DIY Will drafting kits, which are...

Family asset protection trusts - take care!

Anna Howat
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As they get older, most people are understandably keen to ensure that their home is not sold to pay care fees. They also want to protect their estate from inheritance tax, probate fees and claims from creditors or ex-spouses. Essentially, they wish to...

Online Wills- Could this be the future?

Victoria Reeds
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In this modern age the process of signing, witnessing and dating a hard copy Will can seem outdated. A Will is a written document that has been signed by the testator and witnessed by two people over the age of 18, who do not benefit from the Will. The rules...

I've been appointed as an Executor, what do I need to do?

Emma Todd
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A significant number of my clients who have been appointed as an Executor of an estate have never taken on the role previously and the prospect of acting as an Executor can appear quite daunting. The first task for an Executor is to ascertain the assets and...

The Importance of Keeping your Will safe

Kate Twigg
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You have made a Will; that is usually the hardest and most stressful part of the transaction completed and you can be safe in the knowledge that your assets are going to pass to your intended beneficiaries on your death. However, you now need to make sure...

The importance of Cohabiting Couples making Wills

Emma Todd
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Couples who live together are often under the impression that they have the same legal rights upon death as couples who are married, unfortunately for them this is a myth! Unmarried couples who live together, whether it is for 30 days or 30 years, have no...

INCREASE IN PROBATE REGISTRY FEES SCRAPPED!

Victoria Reeds
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It has been announced today that the increase in probate registry fees has been scrapped. The controversial increase was set to come into force in May and meant that the fee for obtaining a grant of probate (where there is a Will) or a grant of letters of...

WHERE THERE'S A WILL THERE'S A WAR

Andrew Morley
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Your last will may not be the last word if someone decides to challenge this. Nothing is certain but death and taxes, so the proverb goes. And in death is the final chance to determine how your hard earned money is distributed. This is done by a will and in...

DIY Probate: do you know the risks?

Jacqueline Marshall
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Many people question why, when someone has made a will in their lifetime, there is any need for further formalities once that person dies.  This is due to the fact that a will is a legal document by which a person expresses their wishes as to how their...

Do you understand the consequences your will could have?

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Are you free to use your Will to reward or punish your family?  The recent Supreme Court case of Ilott –v- Blue Cross provides welcome guidance in relation to claims made by disinherited adult children.  Your freedom is limited by the...

Probate Registry Fees are Increasing in May

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Have you recently had a bereavement?  Are you responsible for dealing with the deceased’s affairs?  If so, you need to be aware that the Probate Registry is increasing its fees! If you need to apply for a grant of probate (where there is a...

Did you know that anyone can write a will?

Alistair Thomson
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Although there may be various reasons that trigger people to make a will, ultimately it is about ensuring your estate passes to those who you wish to benefit. It is not only important to consider those you wish to benefit but also who you wish to entrust...

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