Christmas and New Year Closing

Christmas and New Year Closing

Our offices will be closed from midday on Christmas Eve and will re-open on Monday 4th January 2016.

Telephone messages will be checked over this period for any urgent matters, as will our email address.

We would like to send you all our very best wishes.

Why have a Lasting Power of Attorney?

I believe everyone should have one of these documents. I put it in the same category as insurance policies; you may never need it, but if you do thank goodness you have it.

Everyone knows they should have life cover and a Will, even if they haven’t got around to doing it, but having a Lasting Power of Attorney doesn’t seem to get the same level of publicity.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that will give your attorneys (the people you appoint) the power to make decisions on your behalf should the time come when you lack the capacity to do so yourself.

There are two types; one deals with your Property and Financial Affairs and the other with your Health and Wellbeing.

A person can lack capacity because of an injury or other condition, be it a car accident, stroke or dementia.

Without a LPA things can be very difficult for those around to be able to access your bank accounts, sell your property or even speak to an organisation on your behalf, in addition to not having the ability to make decisions about your care and where you might live.

If a LPA hasn’t been drawn up prior to capacity being lost, your close family or friends would need to apply for a deputyship order via the Office of the Public Guardian, which could take years and cost a lot of money.

High street banks have been known in recent times to freeze joint bank accounts when they discover one of the account holders has lost capacity, which, as you can imagine can be financially devastating for the other.

People often associate a LPA with the elderly, but in my opinion everyone should have one as we just don’t know what is round the corner.

Like I said before, a LPA is like an insurance policy – you may never need to use it, but, just in case an injury or condition occurs leaving you incapable. thank goodness you did it.

For more information and prices see our page

New Intestacy Rules

As of 1st October 2014 new intestacy rules have come into force. Intestacy rules is the standard list of people who will inherit if someone dies without a Will.

The old rules meant that if you died without a Will leaving a spouse and children then your spouse would inherit the first £250,000 of your estate with the remainder being split into two parts. The first part would pass to your children equally and the second part would be held in trust providing your spouse with an income.

Under the new rules, the spouse receives their part absolutely without the need of a trust provision.

Where there are no children, the spouse will now inherit everything – this still applies if the married couple are estranged.

Some changes have also been implemented to allow a cohabitant to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if they haven’t been left anything in the Will of the deceased, or if the deceased died without a Will. The cohabitant can proceed with this claim if they were being maintained by the deceased immediately before death.

These changes certainly don’t solve everyone’s issues and it is always better to seek professional advice and draw up your Will, making your wishes legal.

Do-it-yourself Wills…would you risk it?

Last week we received two calls from clients who had been named as executors and beneficiaries in deceased people’s Wills.

The only, but quite major, problem with this is that in both cases they have also witnessed the Wills. This means they are now not entitled to inherit.

Both these Wills were homemade and no professional was involved at any stage.

This is where a lot of flaws can be found with DIY Wills, even in the simplest of circumstances.

There are various do’s and don’ts that need to be considered when drawing up a Will that the average non trained person might not know and this is where issues can occur.

A Will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. It will ensure all of your wishes are carried and what you want to happen happens.

Please seek advice from a professional before doing it yourself.

For a full list of our prices please click here.

Common Question: “Why do I need Probate as my mum left a Will?”

This seems to be one of the biggest misconceptions – that if there is a valid Will in place there is no need for an application for the Grant of Probate to be made.

Most estates with or without a Will need to go through Probate but trust me it is far easier and cheaper to do this with a valid Will.

The Grant of Probate is the legal document that will allow your Executors a legal right to gather in your assets and then distribute them according to your Will.

Most organisations such as banks, building societies, life assurance companies need to ensure they are paying over a deceased person’s money to the correct person and the Grant of Probate is the proof. The Executors are named on the Grant and the organisations pay them accordingly to then pass over to the beneficiaries.

Generally speaking if someone owns a property and / or has over £15,000 of cash assets held with a bank/building society a Grant of Probate is going to be needed. Please note however that banks/building societies have their own rules so they may wish to see the grant for a lower figure than £15,000.

If the deceased held everything jointly with their spouse than the Grant of Probate is not going to be needed just simply show the death certificate to the bank/building society and they will remove the deceased spouse’s name.

All of the above deals with situations where the deceased left a will – what happens where there is no will? Well, the basic rules are the same but the people who will administer the estate are known as Administrators (instead of Executors). They will apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration (instead of a Grant of Probate) and the distribution of the estate will take place according to the rules of intestacy.

At Abbotts we are able to advise clients when dealing with Probate / Letters of Administration so if you need some assistance feel free to contact us (0845 313 3353 or

  • Will Writing Services

    A will is one of the most important legal documents you will ever produce, and is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out and your estate is divided in the way that you choose.

  • Probate Services

    Probate is a legal process that occurs once an individual has died, where your Executors/Personal Representatives handle your estate, including taxes, debts and distributions of inheritance.

  • Estate Planning

    Sometimes your circumstances may require additional clauses in your will to protect your assets against remarriage or bankruptcy or divorce of a beneficiary or to assist in mitigating inheritance tax.

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