We undertake work in the following areas:
Family Law Solicitors UK
We specialise in dealing with all aspects of relationship breakdown, whether that be following divorce or same/opposite sex cohabitation. We also give advice to those starting new relationships and are increasingly asked to advise on and draft cohabitation and prenuptial agreements. We can adopt a gentle approach, but we will not hesitate to take all steps necessary to ensure that your interests are fully protected with the use of talented and experienced counsel. Many of our services apply as much to same sex couples as they do to opposite sex couples.
Divorce and Separation
We can advise in relation to all aspects of relationship breakdown. We will endeavour to ensure the process is as painless as possible, both emotionally and financially.
If you are living together and are not married, you need to seek appropriate advice. Many people are surprised to learn that there is no notion of the “common law spouse” in English law. We can prepare Cohabitation Agreements and Deeds of Trust.
We can advise you on all financial issues arising in relation to divorce and separation as well as the complicated rules of the Child Support Agency, top up fees, school fees and other financial issues relating to children.
We can either draft or advise about Pre-Nuptial and Cohabitation. We also draft Separation Agreements if you do not wish to proceed to a divorce.
Wills and Probate
We provide a range of services before and after a loss.
Is a Will necessary?
The simple answer is “Yes”. Every adult should make a Will and review it regularly, particularly if their circumstances change, such as they get married, have children or get divorced. (In fact, it is important to note that marriage invalidates any Will made before marriage).
There are a number of reasons:
1. The main reason is so that you can decide who should benefit after your death. If you fail to make a will you are said to have died intestate. Your estate will then follow the intestacy rules so that the people to whom you would like to leave your estate may receive little, or nothing at all, and others may benefit.
2. The second reason is to avoid inheritance tax. This may be payable by your estate on assets over £325,000 (2014/15 tax year). You need to take into account your house, savings, life insurance policies and all other belongings. There are some simple things that can be done within your Will to counter or reduce any inheritance tax burden.
3. If your children are still under the age of 18 when you die, then you may wish to appoint guardians who will be responsible for their upbringing and education. You will also be able to select someone you trust to look after your belongings until your children become old enough to take responsibility for themselves.
Dying without a Will
If you die without leaving a valid Will then the law decides who gets what? Here is a guide to what would happen. This is a simple guide only. There may be exceptions to the general rule which are not set out below.
Married person with children
Your husband/wife will get everything up to £250,000 as well as your personal possessions. Anything remaining is divided into two:-
a) Half to the children at 18 or earlier marriage.
b) Half in trust during your partner’s lifetime – he/she will get the income. On your partner’s death this half will go to your children.
If your child dies before you leaving your grandchildren, then they will take your child’s share between them.
Married person, no children
If there are parents, brothers or sisters of the whole blood, nephew or nieces:-
Your husband/wife will get everything up to £450,000 as well as your personal possessions. Anything remaining is divided into two:-
a) Half of this goes to your husband/wife
b) Half goes to your parents (if no parent is living then it goes to the brothers/sisters or their children).
Married person, no parents, brothers or sisters of whole blood, nephew or nieces
Your husband/wife will take the whole estate.
Unmarried person with children
Estate goes to children at 18 or earlier marriage. If your child dies before you leaving your grandchildren, then they will take your child’s share between them.
Unmarried person with no children
Estate goes to your parents. If you do not have parents, then there is a predetermined order as to who receives the estate starting with your sibling, grandparents and uncles/aunts. If you have no relatives the Crown takes your money.
Living Wills and Powers of Attorney
A Living Will allows you to make decisions about your health care in advance in case you are ever are incapacitated and unable to do so.
A Power of Attorney is a document by which one person (the donor) gives another person (the attorney) the power to act on his behalf and in his name. It is restricted to financial matters and may be completely general, entitling the attorney to do almost everything the donor could do himself or it may be limited to certain matters or issues.
The purpose of a Power of Attorney is not only to supply the attorney with power to act for the donor, but also to define the extent of his authority, which he can produce as evidence to someone with whom he will deal.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is one which gives an authority which continues even if the donor becomes mentally helpless.
The Next Step
There is a great deal of information that needs to be collated in order to satisfy the authorities at the Inland Revenue and Probate Registry.
Let us know if you are an executor, administrator or beneficiary of an estate and are not happy with the way in which it is being administered. We may be able to help you.