Solicitors in Essex, Colchester, Chelmsford, London – Fisher Jones Greenwood https://www.fjg.co.uk Thu, 25 Feb 2021 15:06:41 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6.2 Why you should get a Lasting Power of Attorney? https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/26/why-you-should-get-an-lpa https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/26/why-you-should-get-an-lpa#respond Fri, 26 Feb 2021 09:00:04 +0000 https://www.fjg.co.uk/?p=24215 Getting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is all about ensuring you retain...

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Getting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is all about ensuring you retain control and giving you peace of mind.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document by which one person authorises another to act on their behalf should they become unable, for example by reason of mental incapacity, to make those decisions themselves.

There are two types of LPA; one dealing with financial affairs (property and finance LPA) and the other with health and well-being, including medical treatment (health and welfare LPA).

By putting in place an LPA you:

  • Decide who you want to appoint as your attorney(s) to act on your behalf if you are unable to.

    Thus avoiding the need for the Courts to get involved and slowing things down, incurring additional costs, and possibly ending up with someone other than your person of choice having control of your affairs.

  • Can provide specific instructions and preferences on how you want your attorney(s) to act on your behalf.

    Instructions are legally binding and your Attorneys must follow them e.g. instructions on medical treatment. Preferences are not legally binding but are things that your Attorneys must take into consideration, this is to enable them to make the best choices for you in case your circumstances have changed.

  • Avoid unnecessary delays in the event you are incapacitated.

    By putting an LPA in place now, rather than waiting, it is ready to be enabled and used as soon as it is registered (which itself takes 8 – 10 weeks to register).

  • You can have an LPA for your business.

    This can be separate to your personal finance and property LPA and provides the Attorneys with specific instructions related to your business only e.g. to sell your stake in a business.

  • Get peace of mind.

    Having an LPA means you know that you have made plans and provided legally recognised instructions of who can act on your behalf if you are unable to.

At FJG, we have been advising people on the benefits of LPAs and helping them put these in place to protect themselves and their families for many years.

Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss LPAs further, please contact FJG’s Wills, Life Planning & Probate team, call 01206 700113, or email contact@fjg.co.uk.

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Selling a property after a relationship breakdown. What you need to know. https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/25/selling-a-property-after-a-relationship-breakdown-what-you-need-to-know https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/25/selling-a-property-after-a-relationship-breakdown-what-you-need-to-know#respond Thu, 25 Feb 2021 11:02:22 +0000 https://www.fjg.co.uk/?p=24653 This week’s Law Society Solicitor Chat looked at going through a relationship breakdown...

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This week’s Law Society Solicitor Chat looked at going through a relationship breakdown and the complexity that occurs if you share joint assets such as a home. In this blog article, Charlotte Knappett, Ties Bouwmeester, and Lisa O’Boyle from the FJG’s Family Law team have provided some answers to a few frequently asked questions.

What are the different types of home ownership couples may have? What rights to the home does this give each party?

Owned in sole name, joint beneficial tenants, tenants in common in equal shares, tenants in common in unequal shares. If they are married, the rights in relation to the home will depend on what financial settlement is fair having regard to all the financial circumstances with first consideration in meeting the children’s needs and considering the s.25 MCA. If they are unmarried, if the home is owned in sole name there is a presumption that the legal owner owns 100% unless the partner can prove they have acquired a beneficial interest, as joint tenants the strong presumption is that each own 50%, as tenants in common the ownership is determined by the declaration of trust. Parties may agree a different ownership. If there is disagreement as to whether the home should be sold, an unmarried joint owner has a right to apply for sale but, if there are minor children who live in the home, the court may delay the sale until their majority depending on the circumstances.

What is an ‘occupational order’ and how can it impact separating couples selling a home?

An occupation order is relevant when there is domestic abuse to exclude the perpetrator of abuse from the home or set rules to enable the occupation of the home to be shared. It can also allow the return of a person who has been forcibly ousted by the other without court order. It is a short-term order usually lasting no more than 6 months.

Is it best to sell a home before or after a divorce or civil partnership dissolution is finalised?

It is usually best to wait to sell the home until a financial settlement dealing with all assets is agreed, set out in a consent order, and approved by the court. However, it depends on an individual’s particular circumstances for example whether, until a financial settlement is reached, they are able to afford the outgoings on the home. They are best to seek legal advice.

If the home is in one party’s name but the other party has made financial contributions, are they entitled to any equity of the home?

If they are married, yes regardless of the contributions the family home is a matrimonial asset which will be considered along with all other financial circumstances. A fair financial settlement for married couples on divorce is one that, so far as possible, meets both parties needs with first consideration of the children’s needs. Contributions are factors in s.25 MCA which is taken into account but “needs” take priority.  If they are unmarried, contributions may be relevant to demonstrate that the other party has acquired a beneficial interest in the family home, for example, if there was an agreement or understanding that such contributions would mean the other party would acquire an interest in the property which the other party relied on to their detriment.

If separating partners can’t reach an agreement when dealing with equity shares of a house, how can a Solicitor help?

A Solicitor can assist in discussing the options available that can be taken, in order to reach agreement and avoid Court proceedings. In relation to married couples, a Solicitor can explain the considerations the Court would have when dealing with the family home in financial proceedings and the likely outcome. For unmarried couples, a Solicitor can explain the legal position the courts would take and assess whether the circumstances give rise to successfully disputing their interest in the house.

If you are going through a relationship breakdown and need legal advice, please contact FJG’s Family Law team, call 01206 700113, or email contact@fjg.co.uk

Blog post written by Charlotte Knappett, Ties Bouwmeester, and Lisa O’Boyle.

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Possible tax reforms https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/22/possible-tax-reforms https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/22/possible-tax-reforms#respond Mon, 22 Feb 2021 16:36:15 +0000 https://www.fjg.co.uk/?p=24594 Today is a big day already in that Boris Johnson is expected to...

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Today is a big day already in that Boris Johnson is expected to announce the path to easing lockdown restrictions and hopefully bringing a bit more normality back to life. Whilst the country is waiting for the announcements later today, it is not the only highly anticipated details we are waiting for.

The annual budget will be announced on 3rd March and Rishi Sunak is expected to talk about a lot of topics. Personally, this is the first time I have been extremely keen to find out what is being announced. There are huge amounts of speculation about the different topics it will cover, such as the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday and whether this will be extended beyond March, increasing corporation tax, and also possibly a wealth tax.

However, another area to possibly be addressed is also Inheritance tax.

With an economy that has gone through crisis for the last year, the Government is trying to make back the money that has been spent so far and rumour has it that their eye is being cast over the assets of the wealthy when they pass away.

Currently, the IHT allowances are the Nil Rate Band (£325,000) which every person is able to benefit from when they pass away. Married couples (or civil partners) who leave their entire estates to each other on the first death can benefit from a spousal exemption (no tax on assets passing to surviving spouses/civil partners) and then the survivor can transfer the unused nil-rate band from the first spouse/civil partner to their estate.

There is also the additional Residence Nil Rate Band which allows an individual to claim up to £175,000 additional tax allowance if they meet the criteria. The criteria include: owning your property with £175,000 equity (or more) at the date of death, the property has been your main residence at some point, the property passes to direct descendants after you die. If you have less than £175,000 equity in the property then the allowance is capped equal to the equity.

Not everyone is able to benefit from this allowance due to the conditions but again it is transferable between spouses/civil partners.

All assets which do not fall within the above allowances are then subject to tax of 40%.

What’s next?

Although everything is speculation, it is believed that the government may look to possibly change the inheritance tax allowances and how they work. Once the budget is announced on 3rd March hopefully everything will be much clearer either on the day or the days to follow. This is certainly something we will all be keeping a close eye on and any changes made to inheritance tax allowances we will circulate by social media.

If you would like to contact the FJG’s Wills, Life Planning & Probate team, call 01206 700113, or email contact@fjg.co.uk.

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Why you need to include digital assets in your Will? https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/22/why-you-need-to-include-digital-assets-in-your-will https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/22/why-you-need-to-include-digital-assets-in-your-will#respond Mon, 22 Feb 2021 06:00:45 +0000 https://www.fjg.co.uk/?p=24535 Last week’s Law Society Solicitor Chat looked at digital assets, following survey findings from...

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Last week’s Law Society Solicitor Chat looked at digital assets, following survey findings from a Law Society commissioned research which found out that 93% of those who have a will have not included their digital assets. In this blog article, Sarah Rankin from the FJG’s Wills, Life Planning & Probate team has provided some answers to a few frequently asked questions about digital assets and Wills.

What are considered ‘digital assets’?

A broad term used to describe assets in the ‘virtual world’ i.e. a Twitter account, electronic records, social media accounts, digital photos, email, online financial account, bitcoin.

What are the key issues relatives face when trying to deal with a deceased loved one’s digital assets?

Because they are ‘virtual’ and may not be any papers associated with the asset – identifying them is a key issue, then after that, access and transfer of the asset – if that is possible. In the absence of knowledge or clear instructions relatives do not know what to do or how to access these. It is a good idea to ‘back up’ your digital assets i.e store photos on a hard drive, disk, or print out hard copies. Keeping a secure, clear, up-to-date record of the assets and the usernames and passwords ensures relatives are able to access these.

How can someone include digital assets in their Will?

If the digital assets have a monetary value, they can be included as part of your Estate and therefore in your Will if you own them – i.e funds in a PayPal account, funds in an online store (Amazon or Etsy), bitcoin, digital music or photos. You can include a schedule of these assets in your Will packet (stored alongside your Will and can be updated frequently) so the executors are aware of them at the time of your death. If you wish for a specific beneficiary to receive these, they can be named in the Will, otherwise, they will pass to the residue beneficiaries named in the Will.

What happens to your online subscriptions and digital downloads after you die?

We may think we own, but we don’t – we have agreed to terms and conditions in a service agreement. It depends on the company and their policies – if the digital assets are licensed, it depends on the terms of the agreement and whether this allows transfer at death. i.e. a domain name or a copyright. Some digital assets cannot be passed i.e. those that don’t have a monetary value – your email and social media accounts (some companies have a system of memorial pages), subscriptions accounts like Netflix or Spotify. These are owned by online service providers, not by us, and therefore cannot be passed by your Will.

How can a Solicitor help you plan your digital legacy?

It is important to leave clear instruction for all your digital assets after you die.

A Solicitor can give advice as to how best to include both physical and digital assets in your Will, ensuring your Estate is inherited exactly as you wish and preventing a whole load of problems landing on loved ones after your death when they are grieving.

Contact FJG to make or update your Will

FJG have an experienced Wills, Life Planning & Probate team who can assist you in getting your affairs in order. We can store your Will free of charge and can update your digital assets schedule regularly if you provide this to us. Any information stored with us is confidentially held until your death. FJG can also act as your executors in your Will to provide a professional service that removes any burden for your spouse or family member in closing down or transferring these assets in the administration of your estate.

The team have continued making Wills throughout the Coronavirus pandemic under their free Wills initiative; where Wills are put together free of charge in return for a donation to charity. If you want to make or update your Will, please contact FJG’s Wills, Life Planning & Probate team, call 01206 700113, or email contact@fjg.co.uk.

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How much does an LPA cost and how long does it take to put one in place? https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/19/how-much-does-a-lpa-cost-and-how-long-does-it-take-to-put-one-in-place https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/19/how-much-does-a-lpa-cost-and-how-long-does-it-take-to-put-one-in-place#respond Fri, 19 Feb 2021 10:58:43 +0000 https://www.fjg.co.uk/?p=24209 A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document by which one...

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A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document by which one person authorises another to act on their behalf should they become unable, for example by reason of mental incapacity, to make those decisions themselves.

There are two types of LPA; one dealing with financial affairs (property and finance LPA) and the other with health and well-being, including medical treatment (health and welfare LPA). 

How much does an LPA cost?

There’s a compulsory cost of £82 to register a Power of Attorney in England and Wales (it’s £81 in Scotland, £151 in Northern Ireland). If you earn less than £12,000 a year though, you can provide evidence to have a reduced fee of £41. Those on certain benefits are exempt from fees.

It’s £82 each for the property and finance LPA and the health and welfare LPA, so if you get both, that’s £164.*

Above and beyond that, if you decide to use a Solicitor you’ll also have to pay legal fees, though it’s possible to set up a Power of Attorney on your own.

Why should I use a Solicitor to get an LPA?

For a number of reasons, it is recommended that you seek legal advice.

An LPA is a complex and important document and seeking advice from a qualified and experienced Solicitor who specialises in this area of law can ensure that your LPA is:

  • appropriate for your needs;
  • that you receive advice to ensure you fully understand the implications of your LPA;
  • that the LPA is effective and appropriate for your needs;
  • that the paperwork is completed correctly with no mistakes;
  • that an appropriate attorney or attorneys are appointed to act on your behalf; and
  • that your LPA is effectively registered with the Courts and valid and ready to be used if you become unable to manage your own affairs.

How long does it take to put an LPA in place?

Once you have submitted the necessary forms to the Office of the Public Guardian, registration for a Lasting Power of Attorney typically takes between eight and ten weeks, as long as there were no mistakes made in the application.

Our specialist Solicitors can help advise you on your needs and complete the paperwork on your behalf in a matter of a few days from conducting an initial consultation with you.

We will submit the application on your behalf and will confirm once the LPA has been registered.

An LPA can be critical in allowing someone to manage your day-to-day affairs if you are unable to.

Putting an LPA in place provides peace of mind to you and your family and ensures that your welfare and finances can continue to be managed even if you are incapacitated.

If you would like to know more about LPAs and how we can help you protect yourself and your loved ones, please get in touch with FJG’s Wills, Life Planning & Probate team, call 01206 700113, or email contact@fjg.co.uk.

*Costs correct as at January 2021.

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10 common misconceptions of Lasting Powers of Attorney https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/18/10-common-misconceptions-of-lpas https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/18/10-common-misconceptions-of-lpas#respond Thu, 18 Feb 2021 09:00:17 +0000 https://www.fjg.co.uk/?p=24377 If you became unable to make your own Financial and Health decisions then...

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If you became unable to make your own Financial and Health decisions then the best way to protect yourself and your wishes is to put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA.

Quite often people fail to make an LPA because they are unsure about what it involves and why it is needed.

Here are 10 common misconceptions about LPA’s:

1. I have a Will in place so I do not need an LPA

A Will and Lasting Power of Attorney are two separate documents and do not operate at the same time.

A Will comes into effect on your death and your named Executors deal with the administration of your Estate and the application for a Grant of Probate.

A Lasting Power of Attorney operates during your lifetime and appoints Attorney(s) who manage your Property and Financial affairs and Health and Welfare decisions. The authority of your Attorney(s) under the Lasting Power of Attorney ceases upon your death.

2. Attorneys once nominated can do whatever they like

You can set the restrictions as to when and how your Attorney(s) should act and what they can and cannot do in relation to your property. You can also limit the powers an Attorney is given, and include specific guidance on how you would like them to deal with certain matters.

The Office of the Public Guardian have restrictions and clear rules on how an Attorney must act preventing them from acting outside of their power.

3. The LPA must be used once it is made

Once registered an LPA can be kept in a safe place until such time as it is needed. It does not need to be used straight away if it is not necessary.

Anything can happen in life, for example, an unexpected hospital admittance or an accident which causes you to lose capacity. Having an LPA registered means that if an unexpected emergency occurs then your Attorney(s) can step in at this time to help you manage your affairs under their authority as Attorney(s).

4. You can only have one Attorney

You can appoint one Attorney or up to four. It is possible to appoint more than four but it is not recommended. If you have a lot of Attorneys, they might find it difficult to make a decision together.

When more than one Attorney, you can choose whether they should act jointly and severally, jointly or jointly in some decisions and jointly and severally in others.

You also have the option in the LPA forms to include Replacement Attorneys, should your first named Attorney(s) be unable to act for any reason your replacement will step in.

You should appoint people you trust and know well.

5. LPA’s are for the elderly

LPA’s are as important for young families as they are for the elderly. People lose mental capacity for many different reasons including accidents, strokes, being unconscious or in a coma, and also dementia.

Don’t leave making an LPA until the moment it is needed as that could be too late.

6. Jointly held assets are not affected by mental capacity

It is normal for banks to freeze all withdrawals from joint accounts when they are aware that one of the joint account holders has lost mental capacity. This means that a spouse will lose access to the account unless they have proof of authority by way of Lasting Power of Attorney to act on your behalf.

Your spouse may not be able to meet their needs during this period or pay for your expenses until an LPA is in place.

7. My next of kin can make Health decisions without an LPA

The title of next of kin does not give any legal authority to make health or medical decisions for an incapacitated adult.

A person appointed as your Health and Welfare Attorney can liaise with Doctors and medical professionals about you and make decisions about your medical treatment, where you live, and the support and help you should receive.

Without a Health and Welfare LPA, medical professionals are bound by law to make decisions they believe are in your best interests, which may not be the same as what your family believe.

8. I can set up an LPA when I need to

A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made whilst you have mental capacity. If you were to lose mental capacity, a Court of Protection application to appoint a Deputy would need to be applied for. This is a lengthy Court process which takes months to obtain and costs a lot more than making LPA.

9. My family will look after me so I don’t need an LPA

Nobody has the legal authority to manage your affairs without a Lasting Power of Attorney.

By leaving decisions up to your family without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place it can be stressful for them as they might not know your wishes. It can cause family fallouts as not everyone could be in agreement.

An LPA reduces the likelihood of disagreements between family members at a stressful time. It also gives them the confidence that they are acting in your best interests and in accordance with your wishes.

10. I already have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place – I do not need an LPA

In 2007 Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). EPAs signed before then, remain valid, but LPAs carry a lot more benefits.

One of the main differences is that an EPA does not allow your Attorney to make decisions about your Health and Welfare and only covers your Property and Financial decisions.

An EPA does not allow for the appointment of Replacement Attorneys so if your first named attorney is unable to act or pre-deceases you, the EPA will be of no use. At this point an LPA could be set up but only if you have mental capacity to do so.

If you would like to discuss preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney, then please contact us on 01206 700113, or email contact@fjg.co.uk.

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Protecting your Assets in a Digital Age https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/17/protecting-your-assets-in-a-digital-age https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/17/protecting-your-assets-in-a-digital-age#respond Wed, 17 Feb 2021 09:00:19 +0000 https://www.fjg.co.uk/?p=24355 Just 20 years ago, “digital currency” was an idea limited to the imaginations...

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Just 20 years ago, “digital currency” was an idea limited to the imaginations of sci-fi writers. Nowadays, the world’s cryptocurrency is now worth a staggering 1 trillion dollars. Similarly, the role of “social influencer” is now a career for many. In fact, famous ‘Tik Tokker’, Charli D’Amelio has a reported net worth of 4 million dollars accrued as a result of her online success.

Whilst these are the extremes of our digital age, almost all of us will have a digital presence of one form or another, whether this be a social media account, blog, digital banking account, or cryptocurrency.

Despite this, many of us still fail to consider what will happen with our digital assets when we pass away.

What’s next for digital assets?

Since this is such a quickly developing area, there is not yet a definitive approach when it comes to digital assets. This makes it all the more important that these are dealt within your Will. Decisions ranging from who you would like to have access to your social media accounts when you pass away to who will inherit monies you have invested in cryptocurrencies should be considered when making a Will.

FJG’s Charitable Wills Scheme

Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors offers a charitable will scheme, under which our fees are waived for the preparation of Wills in exchange for a charitable donation of your choice. There really is no reason to delay; call us to discuss what you would like to happen with your digital assets when you pass away. Please contact a member of our Wills, Life Planning, and Probate team to discuss the free Will campaign – call us on 01206 700113 or email contact@fjg.co.uk for more information.

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Don’t leave it too late to retain control of your welfare and finances https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/12/dont-leave-it-too-late-to-retain-control-of-your-welfare-and-finances https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/12/dont-leave-it-too-late-to-retain-control-of-your-welfare-and-finances#respond Fri, 12 Feb 2021 10:45:11 +0000 https://www.fjg.co.uk/?p=24205 What happens when you can’t manage your financial affairs due to ill health,...

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What happens when you can’t manage your financial affairs due to ill health, and nothing has been put in place as a form of insurance policy? In short, it’s a very expensive, lengthy, and time-consuming problem to resolve.

This article covers what happens when a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is not in place and someone else needs to manage your financial affairs. This could include paying day-to-day bills through to managing your pension.

It is worth stressing that an LPA is the current legal version of a Power of Attorney and some people may have an older version which should still be valid, but it may be worth checking with a legal expert.

Don’t put off till tomorrow

For many people, Wills and LPAs sit in the category of ‘I’ll sort it out tomorrow’. Often it takes a life-changing event to prompt many people into action. Sadly, for many, it has been the Covid-19 Pandemic that has made them realise that life doesn’t always go to plan.

Ignoring the Pandemic there are many health conditions that already prevent many people from managing their financial affairs. The two most common are dementia and stroke: by age 85 to 89 there’s a 20% chance you will have dementia. And, there are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK every year. Plainly there are many more life-changing conditions that also prevent you from managing your finances – both short-term and lifelong.

LPAs should be mandatory in certain circumstances

There is a very strong argument that in certain circumstances LPAs should be mandatory. If not mandatory, as a minimum they should be discussed before any financial product is sold that has a lifespan that continues into retirement. This could include bank accounts, mortgages, business finance, and many others.

The reason is simple: if you are no longer able to manage your finances due to health reasons, no one else can do it for you without legal permission.

No legal document? Then no power to support

Most people incorrectly assume that if their partner suffered a stroke or developed dementia then they could carry on operating their finances as if nothing had happened and would have uninterrupted access to things like their bank account or pension income – this is not the case.

Guidance from the British Bankers’ Association means that banks will often freeze joint accounts if one of the account holders is mentally incapable unless a Power of Attorney is in place. The reason is that joint accounts can only operate if there is continuing agreement of both parties – plainly this can’t happen if one party is not capable of agreement.

No LPA means be prepared for huge costs

In the absence of an LPA, someone needs to apply to the Court of Protection for a ‘property and financial affairs deputy order’. This allows a deputy – or preferably deputies – to deal with your finances.

It is always advisable for more than one person to apply to be a deputy. If only one deputy is appointed and they couldn’t act for any reason (for example, being on holiday, becoming bankrupt, or death), then someone needs to go through the whole process again.

The Court of Protection prefers family and friends to be deputies, however, if there are family disagreements or if your assets are complex, it may be best to appoint a Solicitor. Also, appointments are usually made ‘jointly and severally’, which means that any one deputy is able to act independently at any time.

The Court forms are available on Gov.uk. They require information regarding your assets, income, and liabilities, a medical certificate, and a declaration by each deputy to confirm they are suitable and will undertake their duties properly. It’s worth noting that many NHS doctors will not complete the medical certificate, and those who do may charge up to £300.

Typically, it takes about a month to obtain the information and complete the forms, and often people get support from a lawyer as the process is complex.

£365 is then payable to the Court, and it takes on average a month to issue the formal application. Then your proposed deputies need to notify various family members, including yourself, even though you may not understand. This gives everyone a chance to object to the appointment of a deputy. You plainly have no control over this.

Assuming no objection, the Court requires an insurance policy, called a Surety Bond which pays out should a deputy illegally take your money. For £500,000 cover, the annual premium is about £1,000. With the bond in place, the Court issues the property and financial affairs deputy order (the Order) along with guidance for the deputies.

A separate bank account needs setting up to manage your financial affairs. And your deputies will send the order to all the companies that you have dealings with.

The Office of the Public Guardian will charge a fee of £100 to consider what supervision level the new deputies should be allocated to. There is also an annual supervision fee of £320 year for assets of over £21,000 and £35 if less.

This whole process takes about six months.

Needless to say, if you, or your client, have a Power of Attorney in place this whole process can be avoided.

Indicative costs

Every case is different, and the table below assumes a more complex case as the legal fees for a simple case can be much less.

It looks at an estate that’s valued at £500,000 for a single individual. For larger estates, the cost of the Surety Bond will increase. It assumes legal advice is taken for the LPA and would automatically be required for an application to the Court of Protection. It also assumes no ongoing legal support is required as many people using an LPA do not need additional support.

Lasting Power of Attorney for financial only Attorney via Court of Protection
Year 1 Year 1
Legal Fees (inc VAT) Up to £1000 Legal Fees (inc VAT) Up to £2,500
Court Application £82 Court Application £365
Medical Certificate £300
Supervision level £320
Surety Insurance Bond £1000
Total Year 1 Circa £1000 Circa £3,800
Years 2 to 5 £0 Annual ongoing fee
Supervision Level £320
Insurance Bond £1000
Total 5-year costs Circa £1,000 Circa £9,000

In summary, I would urge anyone with any financial assets – significant or otherwise – to look into putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. Quite simply, it provides much-needed protection for managing your financial affairs, should the worst happen and you suddenly find yourself incapacitated mentally and/or physically due to ill health or an accident.

If you would like to know more about LPAs and how we can help you protect yourself and your loved ones, please get in touch with FJG’s Wills, Life Planning & Probate team, call 01206 700113, or email contact@fjg.co.uk.

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Caroline Flack – Intestacy Rules to be Varied https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/10/caroline-flack-intestacy-rules-to-be-varied https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/10/caroline-flack-intestacy-rules-to-be-varied#respond Wed, 10 Feb 2021 10:23:14 +0000 https://www.fjg.co.uk/?p=24352 When we make a Will, we often do so on the assumption that,...

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When we make a Will, we often do so on the assumption that, after we pass away this cannot be changed.

It may surprise you to find out that this is not the case. It is possible to vary the terms of a deceased’s Will after their passing, by executing what is known as a “Deed of Variation”. Similarly, the intestacy rules, which apply when someone dies without a Will can be altered with the agreement of all beneficiaries, by using the same document.

Caroline Flack’s family to alter terms of her Will

The possibility of varying a Will received national attention last year when the parents of TV personality Caroline Flack stated that they would be altering the terms of her Will to leave her Estate to a number of charities.

Caroline Flack, the well-known presenter of Love Island, tragically took her own life on the 15th February 2020. Caroline did not have a Will in place and therefore the rules of intestacy applied to her Estate. Under these rules, Caroline’s parents, Christine and Ian, are each entitled to a 50% share in Caroline’s Estate. Despite this, Caroline’s mother has reportedly stated “‘We will use the money wisely to help good causes that Caroline was passionate about.”

Many questioned how this was possible, given that the rules of intestacy are quite clear as to who will inherit where there is no valid Will in place. The answer, a Deed of Variation. In instances where all beneficiaries, or potential beneficiaries, agree to vary their interest in an Estate they can do so utilising a Deed of Variation.

What is a Deed of Variation?

Where this type of deed is utilised, the law will consider that the relevant asset passed direct to the new beneficiary or beneficiaries under the terms of the Will or Intestacy. For many, this type of arrangement can be utilised to limit inheritance tax liability. For example, in Caroline’s case, there would be no inheritance tax payable on any charitable gifts.

If you would like any advice regarding the preparation of a Deed of Variation, please contact us on 01206 700113, or email contact@fjg.co.uk.

 

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James Bird is qualifying to specialise in older client care https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/09/james-bird-is-qualifying-to-specialise-in-older-client-care https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/2021/02/09/james-bird-is-qualifying-to-specialise-in-older-client-care#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2021 15:58:22 +0000 https://www.fjg.co.uk/?p=24336 Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors (FJG) is delighted to announce that Solicitor of the...

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Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors (FJG) is delighted to announce that Solicitor of the firm James Bird passed the Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) Older Client Care in Practice (OCCP) award in February. James is now an Associate Member of SFE.

James qualified in February 2021, following completion of the OCCP exam. Fundamentally, the OCCP award is not about legal training but evidencing and building client service; something which FJG strives to continually excel at. Securing this award shows that James has worthy experience, understanding, and awareness of the limitations of acting for older and vulnerable clients as well as a commitment to abide by the SFE Code of Practice. Moreover, the OCCP award discusses in-depth the importance of client relationships, undue influence, safeguarding, elderly abuse, and older client communication. These are essential considerations to protect the mature, and sometimes susceptible, clients that FJG can work with.

Ultimately, SFE prides itself on the fact that their members have specialist client care skills which enable them to advise and support these older and vulnerable clients setting SFE members apart from others. Therefore, the firm is thrilled to have another member of staff on their way to full qualification; FJG Partner, Andrea Godfrey certified with the SFE having completed both the OCCP and Older Client in Law Practice (OCLP) award in 2016. Moving forward, James hopes to take the OCLP award too in order to qualify fully later this year.

Paula Cameron, Managing Partner at FJG comments: “James has worked hard to achieve this first step to full SFE member qualification. At FJG, we strive to serve the Essex community as a whole and we are very pleased to have two specialists in older client law.”

James is available now to assist with your Wills, Life Planning & Probate needs across all of FJG’s offices in Essex. Please contact James Bird by calling 01206 835307, or emailing jbird@fjg.co.uk.

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