Have you made a Will yet? No. Well, read on.
Was that yes you said then you must remember that marriage or a civil partnership will revoke your Will; that means it has no further effect, unless it was made in anticipation of either of those events.
It’s equally true that Divorce or Annulment of the marriage usually impairs any gifts to a former spouse.
Consider the confusion that may occur for your family and friends at a most difficult time for them if you do not have a valid Will.
Making a Will gives you control about what happens to your assets; whether they amount to a great deal in monetary or sentimental value. Without a Will those you care for the most may not receive what you wanted them to have.
Making a Will is one of the most important services a solicitor can provide for a Client.
Apart for deciding how your assets are distributed you can also decide who should do this for you. You can make particular arrangements for your children to secure their future welfare.
Making a Will can be particularly important if you are not married to your partner.
The cost is not high and will give you peace of mind. We can provide you with a questionnaire to help you make your decisions.
But a Will is not something that you do and then forget about. As your circumstances in life change such as marriages in the family and births, you may want to reconsider and alter what you previously decided.
PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES
When someone dies all their assets (known as their ESTATE) become frozen and no one can deal with their bank accounts or property until the Court authorises someone to deal with them.
This can be a difficult time for family and close friends.
The process to be followed will depend on whether there is a Will.
Probate is issued by the Court to Executors when there is a Will. Letters of Administration are required when there is not a Will of the Will is invalid.
This legal process is required to give someone (it can be to more than one person) legal authority to pay collect money and assets, pay-
Most Estates are finalised within a year; but this is a generalisation. There is no fixed timescale. Much depends on the size and value of the Estate and the complexity of the Will.
We could deal with this for you or, in simpler cases, you may simply want some advice from us and then deal with it yourself; knowing that if the need arises you can come back to us to advise or take the matter over for you.
This is how we describe the processes of buying or selling houses/flats.
Some people say this is likely to be the most important contract you make during life; but then again there is marriage/civil partnerships.
In any event it is a very important transaction for you, and we recognise that it is also a stressful time for you.
It is a complex legal process that uses expressions that you will be unfamiliar with.
We will explain the process and the documents to you and point out the significant steps as we, together, move through the process.
This is usually an exciting time for you, but it often involves significant expenditure which can cause anxiety.
We will explain at the very beginning what those costs are likely to be in addition to the price of the property.
But until we know whether we are dealing with a freehold or leasehold property we may not know the full extent of these additional costs and charges; some are imposed by landlords that we only become aware of after we have started the work. As always, we will tell you what they are as soon as we know what they are.
It may be that your transaction involves taking or paying off a mortgage. We will deal with that as part of the overall process.
How long will it take, you ask. Sadly, there is no accurate answer.
It depends on how many properties are involved in the process between you and the people you are dealing with. Also, how quickly everyone wants to go; we are usually restricted to the speed of the slowest party. Nevertheless, we will keep you up to date with progress so that you can talk to the Estate Agents and other parties to move the process on.
Divorce and Separation begin as a relationship ends. We will guide you with sensitivity through what can be a very traumatic time.
We will seek to avoid contentious argument and proceedings. We will not take part in unnecessary argument or correspondence. But this does not mean you will lack proper representation.
Our approach is to be constructive at this time when there may be conflict; to obtain a satisfactory outcome, particularly if there are children’s interests to safeguard.
There are times when good sense and argument do not prevail. At such times we will ensure there is clear and strong representation.
The process of obtaining a divorce is relatively straight forward. You must have been married for at least one year and there is only one ground for divorce; which is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. We will discuss with you whether your particular circumstances establish, so far as the Court is concerned, that the necessary facts exist to prove this issue.
The areas of difficulty tend to relate to the division of the assets, be they money, property or pension rights.
Arrangements for looking after children and making appropriate financial provision can cause problems. But it is wise to remember that the Court will be particularly keen to ensure that, from the assets available, proper provision is made for their welfare.
How long will it take and what will it cost? It can be quite straight forward and take a relatively short time. Much depends on the willingness of both parties to be realistic about the division of the assets and the arrangements for children. The alternative is also true. Sometimes arguments can be made unnecessarily and demands for assets can be unrealistic. These factors reflect themselves in the time required to deal with them and are then reflected in time costs in the bill.
We will keep you informed of progress and seek to take a pragmatic and realistic approach to all issues. It is important to appreciate that the Court will not endorse unrealistic aspirations.
We have extensive experience of local government and its working arrangements.
These can, at times be quite complex to understand and cause members of the public to be profoundly confused or frustrated.
There are times when Councils decline, for whatever reason to provide a proper response to enquiries or representations made to them. We have direct experience of holding them to account; whether they be employees or elected members of the Council.
It really does not matter which department, directorate or Council you are dealing with. They all have their procedures, practices and standards that they must comply with. Equally they are all subject to monitoring and supervision and can be called to account.
Our experience enables us to cut through the `red-
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives another person(s) authority to make decisions and act for you. These enable other people to act for you when you are not able to act for yourself.
This could be as simple as going on holiday and need to have some documents signed while you are away. Alternatively, you may wish to make arrangements in case you do not have physical or mental capacity.
A Power of Attorney for someone to sign papers while you are away is quite straight forward and inexpensive. As suggested, it can be limited in time and in respect of the purpose for which it is made.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (replacing the Enduring Power of Attorney) is more complicated and more costly. We do not apologise for the fact that the documentation that must be completed is complex and the order in which actions are done is very structured. We have no control over those issues.
These may relate to either your property and finances or your personal welfare. The first is self-
Though it may be complex it is much more preferable to making application to the Office of Public Guardian to have a Receiver appointed. By taking action yourself, you can appoint the Attorney you want and trust rather than having someone appointed who you may not know.
We can assist you through the process to ensure that everything is done correctly so that the arrangements you want to make are properly completed and registered.
LANDLORD AND TENANT
Are you a landlord or a tenant? Are you about to take, renew or grant a lease?
These usually relate to business premises; but are not restricted to that type of premises.
Whether you are a landlord or tenant your rights and obligations can be complex and onerous; are you fully aware of what is expected of you; it is vital that you are.
These issues are not restricted to the premises themselves; you also need to consider equality legislation regarding disability discrimination, race and sex discrimination and the Health and Safety at Work Act.
We can assist you to ensure clarification of who is responsible for the various parts of the premises, who should be doing repairs, the frequency of decoration, the display of signs and many other common features of leases. What payments should be made, how often and who to. What about gas, electricity, and Council Tax payments; they can mount up if they are not paid. It is often the case that the higher the bill the greater is the argument about responsibility.
Who should make sure there is proper insurance cover and who pays for it; not always the same person.
If the repairs and not done or the rent and other payments are not being made what can be done. Whether you are then Tenant or the Landlord we can help you to protect yourself and enforce your rights.
Cash collection and credit control are at the heart of any business and unpaid debts can be a problem for any of us.
The first point we will want to clarify with you is how old is the debt.
Prompt action is the best way to maximise debt collection.
If the Debtor is a company do you have any personal guarantees that we can enforce for you.
We would wish to ensure that you receive the necessary payments in the most cost-