A quick guide to probate

Dealing with the death of a loved one is hard enough. However, there are still practical considerations to deal with, including making sure that the last wishes of the deceased are taken care of. If a person has written a Will then it will be up to the executor to make sure those wishes are carried out according to the specifications of the Will (as long as it is correctly completed in accordance with the law). To do this, an executor will need to obtain a Grant of Probate. This will let…

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way

When thinking of making a will, the idea of a Victorian lawyer taking down the last instructions at the bedside still springs to mind for many people. And the 19th century lawyer would find things pretty much as they were if they time travelled to 2017, but a major change to how people can say what should happen after their death is likely to happen soon. If the proposals from the Law Commission get the go ahead, the law is likely to catch up with technology, and in future we…

Applying for Probate

Dealing with death is never an easy thing to do. However, it is important to have the essentials in place from the outset to ensure that the process of obtaining probate is as smooth as possible. Probate is the process of proving a Will by the executors who are identified in the Will and more specifically, gives the people who are dealing with the estate the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets. Obtaining probate when there is a Will is by way of Grant of Probate, also commonly…

What is the Residential Nil Rate Band? (RNRB)

From 6 April 2017, the Residential Nil Rate Band (RNRB) will be available for residences inherited by direct descendants (see below) in addition to the existing Nil-Rate Band (NRB) which is currently £325,000. From 2017/18 the RNRB will be phased in, at this point the sum which will be able to be claimed is £100,000, increasing by £25,000 each year until 2020/21 when it reaches £175,000. The current rate of NRB will be frozen at £325,000.00 during this period. As with the NRB, any unused RNRB can be transferred to…

Lasting power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone that you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lack mental capacity or if you no longer wish to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of LPA, for financial decisions and for health and welfare decisions. The criteria for someone wishing to make an LPA for both types of LPAs are quite straightforward, they must be any person aged 18 or over and the person wishing to make an LPA must…

Courts cost rule sets precedents for family disputes over Wills

The High Court has handed down a costs judgement, setting a precedent that costs orders will be made by the court against claimants who pursue weak Will challenges, act obstructively, cause delay and increase costs without incurring costs themselves. Kenneth Jordan died in 2012 leaving his entire estate to his mistress Ms Elliot. Ms Simmonds, the illegitimate child of the self-made millionaire, claimed that his 2012 Will was invalid for lack of capacity, knowledge and approval and undue influence. Ms Simmonds further alleged a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for…

How will the new state pension affect you?

The new state pension arrived in April 2016, introducing a new single-tier system to replace the old basic rate plus additional credits structure. However, not everyone will get the same flat rate – with some set to be worse off than under the old system. 6 April 2016 saw the start of this simplified state pension, where a single rate replaced the system where for some people, the basic rate was topped up with a second pension. This new, single-tier structure will also make providing pensions cheaper for the government…

The devilish detail on inheritance tax

In last summer’s Budget speech, significant changes to inheritance tax (IHT) were announced. This related to a new allowance for those who own their home and want to leave it to their children. For these homeowners, a transferable Residence Nil Rate Band allowance (RNRB) will be introduced from April 2017. However, the Treasury have tried to address a number of objections to the Chancellor’s original proposals. The Government came back with amendments to the Finance Bill to clarify the treatment of family homes left in trust, to extend the scope…

A potential rise in probate fees and how it could affect you

A consultation is to be heard on the 1 April 2016 which aims to set out the Government’s reform proposal regarding the fee payable for an application for a Grant of Probate. The Grant of Probate is a document which confirms that the Executors have the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets. New Proposals The proposed move sees a change from the traditional flat fee to that of a banded fee approach, which means that the fee is proportionate to the value of the estate. The flat fee costs…

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