Monthly Archives: September 2016

One day Son, this will all be yours…

Do you understand exactly what you need to do to ensure your children receive what you want them to have when you die?

Do you own land which is part of your family business? Who will run things when you are gone and who will be the owner of the land? Is it a family affair wherein you rely on your children to make a valued contribution and is there an assumption that one day it will all be theirs?

Have you included this assumption in your Will? Do you even have a Will? ‘Proprietary Estoppel’ is a legal doctrine which would apply where there was no Will or where a person had been left out of a Will, but had relied upon their receiving something and this reliance has been to their detriment – in other words they have lost out,

As recently as 2009 there was a case which demonstrates an instance where a ‘broken promise’ has been remedied by Proprietary Estoppel. In this instance a second cousin worked unpaid on a family farm on the assurance that he would inherit the farm, the owner died and the Will made no reference to the second cousin inheriting the farm – the estate therefore went to the owner’s immediate family. The cousin had to go through the upheaval of court and the case even went to the House of Lords for a final decision before the cousin received what was always thought to be his.

Despite the situation eventually being resolved and the property getting to the rightful person, do you wish to risk the possibility of distress within your family once you are gone?  No one wishes to die and leave behind disharmony amongst loved ones. In order to ensure that your family receive what you intend, and in many cases what someone may have been relying upon, then contact us and speak with people who understand, care and have experience in this area.

We offer expert advice on:

  • Disputes about entitlement to benefit from property, where those persons may not be the same as the legal owners.
  • Making Wills.
  • Claims that a property has been promised to a person (proprietary estoppel)
  • Disputes regarding co-owners’ respective shares in a property
  • Protecting property interests by entries on the title of the property, and Land Registry proceedings for disputed entries on the title.

Find out more about protecting your family business call 01243 216900 or email info@legalmatters.co.uk

One in Three Rely on Inheritance

I’m going to retire some day and live off my savings!’…. Optimistic or possible?

We have all thought it. The idea of being able to rely on an inheritance from our parents to secure our financial future. Whilst dreams of being able to live comfortably and clear debts will be a reality for some but for many it might never happen. Relying on the bank of mum and dad will not be an option for the vast majority.

Recent figures indicate that around 1 in 5 of us would actually struggle in retirement. 28% of retirees, when questioned, said they did not expect to leave much to their children with many citing they wanted to enjoy their golden years rather than leaving it to others. And why not? Working hard for most of your adult life, it would only seem logical to assume that in retirement you can enjoy life without the worry of whether or not you can afford to live for the remainder of your life.

Retirement Solutions provider Liverpool Victoria carried out research and their findings revealed   that 35% of working age adults would rely on an inheritance to pay off debts and clear mortgages. Only 16% of those polled said they would use it towards their actual retirement.

During a speech after joining the regulator in July this year, Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority said “workers should avoid putting all their eggs in one basket and should not rely on property to fund their retirement. Retirement saving and pensions is one of the largest issues we face. It needs to be considered broadly”. Would you agree with his comments?

Aviva’s latest Real Retirement Report indicates that 46% of those over the age of 45 admitted that property would be key to funding their retirement. And 69% of those questioned owned a home that is worth more than their pension, savings and other investments combined.

One in three surveyed said they wanted to leave money to their children to help them purchase a property and more than half said they expected to use the equity in their home to pay for care in later life. 80% of respondents questioned stated they would like to remain in their home for as long as possible before having to sell. However, experts have warned that house prices are likely to be volatile in the future due to the Brexit factor.

To discuss more about making a Will to protect you, your family and your finances, call 01243 216900 or email info@legalmatters.co.uk

Selling A Probate Property

Having to sell the home of a loved one, especially if it’s somewhere you have happy memories, can be poignant. Lucy Thomas shares a few pointers on how to make the process less painful…

The lion’s share of a person’s estate is normally their home, but at a time when family and friends are grieving, preparing the property for sale is often the last thing they feel up to. It’s a tough one because, unless you’re a millionaire, with the best will in the world that property needs selling – utilities and council tax bills have to be paid even though the house is unoccupied and then there’s the question of maintenance. Pipes burst and gardens become overgrown in empty properties.

My advice to clients in this situation is to speak to a few local estate agents (at least three) early on, to form an idea of the market – this has to be done anyway, to value the owner’s estate and assess whether inheritance tax should be paid. Then take a look at furniture and other household items – a rough lump sum of their worth will suffice for probate purposes but it’s probably a good idea to get any pieces priced at around the £500 mark professionally valued.

Undertaking that, admittedly often painful process, actually provides a good time to clear the house of any unwanted items too. In fact, some of my clients find selling or giving away a loved one’s things to a new home quite life-affirming.

As for the locks, change them. It’s unlikely the keys have been handed out to every Tom, Dick and Harry in the village but better safe than sorry.

Unless you’re a massive fan of Kirstie and Phil – when it comes to the question of updating a house pre-sale you may judge that you simply do not have the appetite for this. Yes, properties sell for less when the decor is old-fashioned but they often sell fast too, as buyers appreciate a home they can put their stamp on. It’s amazing how much more polished a house looks after a good, deep clean – often that’s enough.

If you do decide to take your time selling the property and don’t live nearby, it can be wise to find an agent to manage it. Also, you’ll have to look at insurance – most insurers will not pay out on a property that has been left unoccupied for over 60 (and in even more extreme cases 30) days.

To discuss this, or any of the other issues around selling probate property, call us now on 01243 216900 or email us on info@legalmatters.co.uk – we’re your local experts in will writing and probate. And remember that your loved one’s home is going to a good home – a new owner who will love, cherish and build their own lifetime of memories there.