Monthly Archives: April 2018

A right royal birth…

Unless you have managed to avoid all forms of media – both social and otherwise – this week, it can’t have escaped your attention that the newest addition to the House of Windsor has arrived.

The son of the future king of England was born, with exceptionally patriotic timing, on St George’s day. What a gloriously poetic and symbiotic meeting of all things English. Only Hugh Grant Morris dancing to God Save The Queen could have made the event more of a celebration of the Empire.

Within hours, both parents appeared at the door of the Lindo Wing looking impossibly flawless and presenting their gorgeous squishy bundle to the world’s expectant press. Catherine exchanged surgical stirrups for sling backs in less time than it takes the average mama to savour her buttery NHS toast and post natal cup of tea. Whilst undoubtedly proud, healthy and happy, not a single person would blame the Duchess if she were to scrape her hair back in a top knot, chuck on some comfy pjs and settle down with her newborn, a box set and a family size packet of Hob Nobs as soon as the doors of Kensington Palace closed behind her.

The Duke and Duchess are now officially outnumbered and life will be all the busier, noisier, messier and more filled with love as a result.

Any life changing event, especially the arrival of a new addition, is an excellent opportunity to consider your current legal arrangements. Future generations can even be catered for, without having to specifically name them within your estate planning documents. Which is handy when it takes a little while to decide on a moniker (although ‘Prince Gus’ certainly has a majestic ring to it if the Cambridges’ are looking for some suggestions).

Legalmatters are always available to review any existing documents in place or advise on new arrangements, to ensure that your family are considered and looked after in your lifetime planning and in your Will. Call us on 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk.

Why do I need a Trust?

A Trust can be used to help manage your assets, to protect your legacy, and look after those you care about. And today, while the tax advantages of a Trust have been reduced, they are becoming increasingly popular.

What is a Trust?

Trusts are used to hold and manage money or other assets on behalf of its beneficiaries. There are various types of Trusts and many different reasons for using them. For example:

  • To provide a secure way of holding money for children who are too young to handle a large inheritance
  • To pass on assets when you are still alive
  • To protect vulnerable or disabled people who are incapable of looking after their own affairs
  • To minimise estate and inheritance tax (IHT) liabilities
  • To create a contingency fund to look after you during your lifetime (e.g. should you become unable to take care of yourself due to mental or physical health).

Once assets are placed in a Trust, they are no longer owned by the person who set it up. Therefore, they are protected from claims from creditors, family disagreements, financial setbacks, lawsuits etc.

Who is involved?

There are three main parties involved in a Trust:

  1. The settlor. The person(s) who puts assets into a Trust.
  2. The beneficiary. The person(s), organisation or anything else (e.g. a pet) that benefits from the Trust
  3. The trustee. The person(s) who manages the Trust

Beneficiaries and trustees are appointed by the settlor. While in most cases these parties are all different, in some circumstances the settlor or trustee may also be a beneficiary.

Who can be a trustee?

A trustee can be a person the settlor knows and trusts. For example, a friend or family member. The trustee can also be an entity such as a solicitor’s firm. A Trust must always have at least one trustee. Multiple trustees can be appointed – this is recommended in case something happens to an individual trustee. Ideally, you should have at least two trustees, but no more than three or four.

The role of a trustee is to:

  • Deal with assets according to the settlor’s wishes
  • Manage the Trust on a day-to-day basis
  • Pay any tax due (from the Trust)
  • Decide how to invest or use the Trust’s assets.

What are the rules?

When you create a Trust, you establish the rules by which the trustee must manage it. However, the legal wording needs to be exact, so you should ask a qualified professional to set it up for you.

To find out more about Trusts and what they can do for you, speak to one of our team at legalmatters on 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk for further details.

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What are the benefits of GDPR for consumers?

Data protection has become a huge concern in recent years, and now more than ever, customers are worried about how their data is being used and by whom.

This is where the new General Data Protection Regulation comes in, introduced in the hope that this new level of transparency will lead to customers putting more trust into organisations and having the confidence to share more of their data.

Although many businesses will find initial compliance with the GDPR technically challenging the new regulations are beneficial to both consumers and businesses in the long run.

How will the new regulation benefit customers?

The purpose of the GDPR is for customers to ultimately become more confident in the knowledge that their data is being stored safely and in line with legal standards. For example: the GDPR outlines that data is to be deleted if: it was unlawfully obtained; an individual no longer wants their data to be retained, providing there are no legitimate reasons for keeping it. This will be known as ‘right to be forgotten’.

With cybercrime GDPR requires data processors and collectors to be more vigilant about safeguarding personal data against loss, theft and unauthorized access. Another benefit to note is the ‘new mandatory data breach notification rule’. This means that if a breach occurs, it must be reported to its supervisory authority within 72 hours. And if it is likely to pose a high privacy risk for individuals, they must also be informed.

Another essential element is ‘data protection by design and by default’, meaning that safeguards will be built into most products and services, and privacy-friendly default settings will be soon be the norm. Now, companies will have to supply consent forms that are plainly worded and transparent. This means that you must explicitly agree before you are subscribed to anything.

Under the GDPR, customers will also have the ‘right to rectify mistakes’. This means they will be entitled to have their personal information corrected if it’s inaccurate or incomplete. This could be vital if, for example, a financial institution input the wrong information concerning your credit history.

Here at legalmatters we are already preparing for GDPR. Your data, including your Will and associated documents, will always be held securely. We’re also inviting clients and interested parties to subscribe to legalchatters, our news, views and update service direct to your mailbox. Or Follow us on FaceBook.

For help with writing your Will, please give us a call at legalmatters on 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk for further details.

Bitcoins – are they properly covered in your Will?

Digital currency such as bitcoins are relatively new. However, they still form part of your estate when you die. They’re classed as “digital assets” similar to frequent flyer points or gaming credits. They might have dipped in value recently, but they are still worth money so you want to make sure they’re included in your will.

There are two key things to consider about this digital legacy.

The first thing relates to bitcoins being properly defined in your Will. If you already have a Will in place, you should check this. If they’re not covered, then you need to make an amendment. If you’re writing a new Will, then a professional Will-writer will be able to advise you on this from the start.

The other important factor to consider is how your beneficiaries are going to access your bitcoins. Passing on digital currency is more complex than passing on money stored in a traditional way such as a bank or savings account.

Bitcoins are stored in an encrypted electronic wallet which can be accessed only by an electronic key or password. Unlike banks and building societies, cryptocurrencies do not store names and addresses against the electronic wallets, so aside from the electronic key there is no way to identify who a wallet belongs to.

It’s vital then to make sure that you keep a secure copy of the key for your executors. Without it, it will be virtually impossible for them to access the wallet and the money will be lost.

You could consider entrusting the key with a secure storage service, in a safety deposit box or with your executor or a trusted family member. The main thing here is that it needs to be someone you trust as you are handing them access to your money.

For help with this or any aspect of Will writing, please give us a call at legalmatters on 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk for further details.

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