Monthly Archives: July 2018

legalmatters Chichester Legal Walk

The Chichester Legal Walk 2018…

We’re taking a walk around Chichester to raise money for free legal advice services…

On 12th September 2018, our legalmatters and Legal Workflow team – including Lucy Thomas, Martin Langan, Andy Saych, Lindsay Dobson, Sarah Reed, Terry Walsh, Lauren Bain, Mel Bloomfield and Gus (the cockapoo) – will be taking part in a sponsored walk to raise funds for The Citizens Advice services in South and West Sussex and Havant.

Please sponsor us now to help us meet our target amount.

We head off from The Fountain, South Street in Chichester at 5.30pm for a 10k circular walk, which funnily enough ends up back at the pub. No doubt we’ll be doing a bit of nibbling and much munching of chips as we compare blisters and funny stories while we recover our strength and before we wend our way homewards.

Between now and then I have no doubt there will be some training walks – between pubs I expect. These will be led by Gus, our very own Chief Welfare officer, acting trainer and motivator (pictured) who’ll be sharing some doggy pep talks, leading from the front and always nosing about in pockets for treats.

We do take charity giving seriously though at legalmatters, and every year we take part in various fund-raising and partnership activities to raise both awareness of charitable giving and funds through sponsorship.

In October 2017 alone, we helped to raise about £57,900 of future income from legacies for the Guide Dogs.

It’s not all altruistic – you might not be aware that a charitable legacy in your Will can help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax your estate is liable for. Look at these posts for more information – and do talk to us about your own Will.

See what legacy giving can do for your tax bill – read our post.

And if you like a little light-hearted banter and want to get an idea of what that all means at celebrity level, take a look at our blog here following rumours in the press after Sir Bruce Forsyth’s death:

You can see just some of the reasons why other celebrities are planning charitable legacies in this post.

More about the Chichester Legal Walk: Across South and West Sussex and Havant there are areas of high poverty and need, and many vulnerable people. Access to legal advice helps those people to get out of poverty and distress. The Chichester Walk raises much needed funds for advice agencies who support vulnerable people in our community and help them access justice.

Our house

What happens to your house when you die?

While you might think it is easy to leave your house or flat to someone you love, bequeathing property is not always as straightforward as you would think. So, how can you ensure that your home is passed on as you would like?

When someone dies and leaves behind a home, there are a few things that need to be considered. Some things you’ll need to think about include:

Is there an outstanding mortgage?

Unless insurance is in place to pay off a mortgage in full when someone dies, the monthly payment will still need to be paid. If the remaining mortgage is small, the beneficiary may be able to take on that debt. But, if there is a large mortgage outstanding, and the beneficiary cannot afford the repayments, the lender is likely to require that the home is sold.

Whether the deceased owned the legal title to the property

When someone owns a property, the legal title – registered with the Land Registry – will clearly show their name as the owner. If the property is not registered correctly, an investigation will have to take place to prove how the title passed to the deceased before it can be given to the intended beneficiary.

How the property was owned

In England and Wales, when a property is co-owned (e.g. by a husband and wife), the way it is registered will impact what happens to it when one owner dies.

There are two ways to own a property with someone else:

  • As joint tenants: This means both (or all) owners own 100% of the property. So, when someone dies their name is removed from the title and the home automatically belongs to the surviving co-owner(s).
  • As tenants in common: This means each owner owns shares in the property. These shares can be for the same, or different amounts. When someone dies, that person’s share can be left to someone other than the co-owner.

Is the property freehold or leasehold?

If a home is a leasehold, there will be an agreement from the freeholder (sometimes called the landlord) to use it for a set number of years. With a leasehold, there might be conditions on who can own or occupy the property, and this can prove problematic when leaving it in a Will.

If the property is freehold, things are more straightforward. The property and the land it is built on are owned outright and can be passed on however the deceased wished (as long as they are the sole owner).

Is there a Will in place?

If someone dies without leaving a Will, the state decides how your estate is distributed. Often this does not reflect what you wanted to happen. As such, the best way to make sure your house goes to those you want it to, is to write a Will.

For expert advice on amending or drafting a Will, speak to one of the team at legalmatters today. Call us on 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk.

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Critical Event Protection…

What is Critical Event Protection and is it relevant to me?

If you are a member of a Death in Service Scheme, if you have a separate Critical Illness and Life Insurance Policy or even if you have a Pension Plan, you should look at Critical Event Protection.

What are these schemes and policies for?

Death in service schemes are often part of your employers’ group policy scheme which provides a lump sum for family or to cover the death of a shareholder in a business.

Critical illness policies produce an income supplement in the event of a critical illness and on death there is usually a lump sum paid.

Life insurance policies may make provision to cover inheritance tax, provide a lump sum for family or to cover the death of a shareholder in a business.

An occupational or self-invested pension plan may have a lump sum which will be paid on death.

What happens to these assets when I die and why would I need Critical Event Protection?

These valuable assets usually only pass to your next of kin if you’ve nominated them. If you haven’t, they go into your estate and may then become subject to Inheritance Tax at 40%. In this way, sometimes funds are wasted or end up with people you don’t even know yet, for example if your current partner or next of kin starts a new relationship.

How can I protect these assets for my dependents?

Using a trust preserves the use of these funds for your dependents, avoids direct ownership, can avoid the need to incur estate administration costs and may save inheritance tax. A trust protects and ringfences these lump sum proceeds and means a quick claim by the trustees upon your death can make the funds available in a protected trust environment to meet family costs.

At legalmatters, we have put together a simple solution, which will enable you to deal with these valuable assets, called Critical Event Protection.

To find out more, download the Critical Event Protection Guide or speak to one of our legal team on 01243 216900 or e-mail info@legalmatters.co.uk.

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Make it happen

Legalmatters to offer Cancer Research UK’s free Will Service

Legalmatters are proud to have joined Cancer Research UK’s Free Will Service.

The Free Will Service helps people aged over 55 to write or update their Will free of charge. It also gives guidance for people considering leaving a legacy gift to Cancer Research UK. The service is now being provided at legalmatters where trained solicitors will be able to offer support to people living in the UK and assist with drafting a Will.

Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its research and relies heavily on the generosity of people leaving gifts in their Wills. Over a third of its research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer is funded through supporters leaving a legacy to the charity.

A legacy gift can be anything someone wishes to leave in their Will. Traditionally this is money, but it could be anything that has a monetary value like an estate or specific item. Anything that is left to Cancer Research UK can be marked to be ring-fenced for research into a specific cancer type or research within a local area.

Lucy Thomas, Legal Services Director at legalmatters, says: “Another bonus to doing this, besides simply helping a good cause, is that legacy giving can also reduce your inheritance tax bill. Take a look at our blog “What can legacy giving do for your tax bill” to find out more, or give us a call on on 01243 216900 for expert advice on amending or drafting your Will.”

Clare Moore, Director of Legacies at Cancer Research UK, explained: “We all reach a stage at some point in our lives where we start to look ahead and consider what will happen to our financial affairs in the future, when we may no longer be around.

“At Cancer Research UK, we work with a number of local solicitors, including legalmatters, to offer the Free Will Service to anyone aged 55 or over, helping individuals to make an all-important first Will or update an existing one.

“One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. The generous gifts left by people in their Wills are so important as they help us continue the work that we do to beat cancer sooner. Without the money we receive from gifts, the progress we make through research would be a far slower.

“We are always so grateful to anyone who leaves a gift in their Will to Cancer Research UK – legacy gifts help us find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.”

Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. Every step taken by its doctors, nurses and scientists relies on donations from the public and the kindness of supporters who choose to leave a gift in their Will.

The Free Will Service has been running successfully for over 20 years across a network of solicitors in the UK. Anyone who wishes to use the service is asked to consider leaving a legacy gift to Cancer Research UK but under no obligation to do so.

Legalmatters looks forward to offering the Free Will Service to help the people in the UK and working with Cancer Research UK to help beat cancer sooner.

For more information about leaving a legacy gift and Cancer Research UK’s free Will service, visit www.cruk.org/freewillservice or call legalmatters on 01243 261900.

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