Monthly Archives: May 2016

The importance of having a will

The Court of Appeal has refused permission for a surviving spouse to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 nearly six and a half years after a grant of probate was issued in her deceased husband’s estate. The main reason for the refusal was because there was no identifiable trigger for the late claim.

The usual time limit for making family provision claims is six months after a grant is issued, but the court has discretion to allow claims out of time, and has done so before. There is no statutory guidance on the factors that the court should take into account when considering an application for permission to make a late claim, but the parties agreed that HHJ Hayward Smith QC had formulated the correct approach when refusing permission in the High Court.

Of course, cases on this point will turn on their facts. However, this judgment raises general awareness about how important it is to ensure that you protect your loved ones by providing for them in your Will should you want to. By doing so, this will inevitably help avoid family disputes and the cost of court proceedings, as is too often the case.

Are legal services lagging behind the internet revolution?

I read with interest a recent article featured on the Saga website which suggests people are finding it hard to find accessible, relevant and clear legal information online. It appears that legal services are lagging behind the internet revolution, and part of this could be down to a general lack of awareness about legal issues and reluctance to use a solicitor.

The Legal Services Board’s head of development and research, Alex Roy, confirms that research was carried out to understand whether, and how, consumers would see benefits in online support to help them access legal services.The research demonstrates the difficulty that consumers have engaging with legal services as they stand. It is thought that well-designed online sites could improve consumers’ ability to find the legal services that meet their needs.

Legalmatters have this covered. We are a new kind of law business with one clear mission – to make your life easier. By providing fixed-fee, fast-track legal solutions online and over the telephone, accessible, relevant and clear legal information is only a “click” away.

Link to Saga website article: http://www.saga.co.uk/legal/everyday-legal/lsb-legal-survey.aspx

Jimmy Hill: Care and Capacity- Why Make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

With the news that the former footballer Jimmy Hill is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease came the accompanying stories that his family are in dispute over his care. Such circumstances are worryingly common, but can usually be avoided.

The former Match of the Day presenter was the first English club chairman to abolish standing at matches and was a well-known figure in the profession. Jimmy Hill gave joint powers of attorney to his current wife and a solicitor in 2005. By 2008, Jimmy Hill’s condition became such that he was deemed to have lost mental capacity, and the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) was registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, meaning that his wife and the solicitor could take over management of his affairs. The person who makes the power of attorney (‘donor’) cannot alter the identity of his attorneys after he loses mental capacity, so Jimmy Hill’s choice of attorneys was binding and what followed was that his children have no say in the running of his affairs.

EPAs were replaced from 1 October 2007 by Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s) which have the same effect.

Jimmy Hill’s five children (from his previous marriages) only discovered the existence of the EPA in 2008, and they did not find out that they were not named as attorneys until the EPA was registered. Understandably, their lack of involvement caused friction in the family.

This case has attracted significant media attention as two of Jimmy Hill’s children made the news of his condition public in an effort to raise awareness regarding the problems around mental capacity. Joanna Hill, Jimmy’s daughter has commented that children should talk to their parents and discuss how affairs should be dealt with before deterioration sets in.

This high-profile case highlights the need to make a power of attorney and to choose your attorneys carefully. Opting for a power of attorney can involve emotional decisions, but in the long run it is more desirable for both the individual and their family. Without an LPA, people are powerless to do even the most simple things on their relatives’ behalf- there would be the need to apply to the Court of Protection which is a lengthy and costly process.

Legalmatters can assist here by offering an affordable, fixed-fee Estate Protection package (Will and LPA). Avoid unnecessary uncertainty for your family.