Monthly Archives: September 2018

Claim your refund

Are you owed money from the Office of the Public Guardian?

If you applied to register a power of attorney in England or Wales from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2017, then you may well be owed money from the Office of the Public Guardian.

The background to this is that the Office of the Public Guardian – the people you paid a fee to in order to register a power of attorney in England or Wales – is not supposed to make a profit. So when the registration fee per power of attorney was reduced from £110 down to £82 fairly recently, they had to admit they’d been making a profit on the fees for some time, hence the reduction in the price of the fee.

But what about the profit they’d been making in years gone by?

Well, they’re not allowed to “keep” that profit. So, anyone who applied to register a power of attorney between the above dates, can go online and register a claim. Although the payment will only be made to the “donor” (which is the person who made the LPA), if you’re a an ‘attorney’ (someone appointed by the donor in an LPA or EPA to make decisions on their behalf) or have been formally appointed as a replacement attorney, (and are now able to make decisions on the donor’s behalf) then you can make the online claim. If the donor has died, then only the executor of the will or administrator of the estate can claim a refund.

Filing the claim should only take about 10 minutes online and they’ll let you know in about 12 weeks as to whether you’re claim has been successful. You must however claim your refund by 1 February 2021.

When it doesn’t pay to improve efficiency

The Office of the Public Guardian said that they hadn’t ‘fessed up to it before because the volume being processed hadn’t initially produced a profit. But now that they have a greater number of powers of attorney going through the system and they haven’t had to increase the number of staff to manage them (because it’s a heavily computerised process) this has led to them making a profit.

What would you do with £34…

The refund amount ranges from £34 to £54, depending on when you applied to register the power of attorney. It might not be an earth-shattering amount, but what would you do with yours?

Find out more about it here: https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund

For further information or to arrange an appointment to discuss any aspect of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Trusts, please call one of our expert team at legalmatters on 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk.

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Back To School…

Whether you sent your pride and joy to school for the first time this September, or they’re into their second, third or fourth year, most parents feel a flutter of apprehension when letting go of their hand on the first day.

Doing everything to protect your child comes naturally. From planning a safe route for your kids to get to or from school and ensuring they know the green cross code to protecting them from bullying.

Protection comes in many shapes and forms. At this time of year, once they are safely in school, now is the time to make sure they are protected should something happen to you.

24,000 children a year experience the death of a parent according to charity Winston’s Wish.
Did you know that if both of a child’s parents die and there’s no valid Will and therefore no appointed guardian, children could be put in foster care until the courts decide who they should live with?

Added to which, most of us don’t live in the nuclear family of the past which adds additional complications.

Making a Will allows you to:

  • Decide who will take care of your children should something happen to you
  • Make it known how, and where, your children should be educated
  • Ensure that there won’t be any family disputes or court battles over who takes care of your children
  • Plus, any other wishes you have from what they eat to what they should receive as pocket money….

As parents, we all want the best for our children, and this is probably one of the easiest ways of protecting them. Making a Will also costs less than you may think. To discuss writing a Will speak to one of our expert team at legalmatters by calling 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk.

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Mecca – The Journey Of a Lifetime…

September marks the largest gathering of people in the world.

Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for all Muslims. It is considered a once in a lifetime trip, and serves as 1 of the 5 pillars of Islam. Muslims save for, prepare and embark on their travels, with faith that this journey along with 2 million other pilgrims will bring them closer to their beliefs and unite them in worship.

It is specified in the Holy Quran that Muslims must leave a Will in their lifetime, but pays particular reference to Hajj. Historically, before modern transport and medicine, many pilgrims would die on their travels.

To learn more about it, see this article from The Independent.

Biblical economics tell us; It has been said that a person will spend fifty or sixty years accumulating earthly treasure, then spend another 20 years or more trying to keep from losing it, but will not spend two hours planning the distribution of it when he dies.

Hesitation to write a Will runs throughout the ages, with superstition playing a huge role. To discuss writing a Will speak to one of our expert team at legalmatters by calling 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk.

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Online accounts

What happens to your online accounts when you die?

One thing many people forget about when making their Will is what will happen to their digital assets once they die. But, in today’s online world, this is something we should all now consider.

What is a digital legacy?

Your digital legacy is all of the online information you will leave behind after you are gone. This may include:

  • Your websites and blogs
  • Your social media accounts
  • Your online photos and videos
  • Your gaming/forum profiles
  • Seller accounts on platforms such as Amazon, eBay, etc.
  • Things you have purchased that are stored online (e.g. music, photos, eBooks etc.)
  • Access to online financial accounts and/or utilities.

Do you own your digital legacy?

Many of these items cannot be left through your Will (because you do not actually own them). Take social media accounts; these are yours by license only. So, when you die, the contract is over. But, you can leave instructions for your executor, setting out what you want to happen to them.

For example, Facebook will let a person of your choosing change your account to “memorial” status. This means it can still be viewed and people can leave messages on it. Alternatively, you might want someone to post a final tweet or blog post on your behalf (and establish in advance what you want that post to say).

Other assets, such as music, photos, movies, or other digital files can often be passed to beneficiaries. But to do this, you will need to leave instructions on how to access them. You may also decide to pass on any seller-accounts (if transferable), along with the items for sale in your Will.

For banking and other online accounts, it is more important than ever to provide clear instructions on how to access these to help with the Probate process.

Ultimately, different online platforms have different rules and, as such, it’s important to understand the policies for each online service you use to ensure you know who owns what, and who has access rights to your digital legacy.

Who can help protect your digital legacy?

You should leave instructions on how to deal with any online accounts and assets with your lawyer as part of the Will-writing process. This can include your log-in information.

To find out how to protect your digital legacy, speak to one of our expert team at legalmatters by calling 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk.

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