There are 7 out of 10 people that die without making a Will.

If you do not have a Will then the law states who gets what. You should therefore make a Will to be certain that your assets go to the people you wish to inherit them.

Making a Will is a quick and easy process and with a Will you can:
Choose your executors
Appoint guardians for your minor children
Dispose of your assets as you wish
Make gifts to family, friends and charities
Set out your funeral arrangements
Only a Will can make your wishes legally binding and ensure peace of mind and security for your loved ones.

If you don’t have a Will call Jill
07523 963026 or 01773 549037

JH Legal Ltd
Company Number: 10592081
Registered Office Address:
40 High Street
South Normanton
Alfreton
Derbyshire
DE55 2BP

PROBATE AND ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

The loss of a loved one is a difficult time but there are legal processes which need to be followed in order to administer someone’s estate as efficiently as possible. The administration of a deceased person’s estate involves either implementing the terms of their Will or dealing with the distribution of their estate in accordance with the legal rules set out in the Administration of Estates Act 1925.
It can involve:-
Dealing with their property
Dealing with banks, building societies and other investments
Agricultural and business assets
Paying debts
Dealing with the Inland Revenue, particularly for inheritance tax
Distributing legacies
Distributing the remainder of the estate to the people entitled to it
Detailed advice can be given on all the above processes to assist you with the administration in a sympathetic yet efficient manner.

JH Legal Ltd
Company Number: 10592081

Registered Office Address:

40 High Street
South Normanton
Alfreton
Derbyshire
DE55 2BP

Testimonial

“I always intended getting my Will and Power of Attorney sorted, but never got round to it. I could not face discussing it with a Solicitor and the high cost was also a worry. Then I met Jill Hallam through a mutual friend and within minutes I booked an appointment. Jill is warm, friendly and empathetic person who treats a difficult subject in an open and matter of fact way. She comes to your house at a time to suit you and gently guides you every step of the way. This ensures you have covered all necessary details to give you peace of mind for the future. My friends and family have subsequently used Jill’s service and then in turn have recommended her to other people”. C Simpson

Contact details

JH Legal Ltd
Company Number: 10592081

Registered Office Address:

40 High Street
South Normanton
Alfreton
Derbyshire
DE55 2BP

Tel: 01773 549037
Mob: 07523 963026
jill@jhlegal.co.uk

What happens if I don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Ans: If you do not make a LPA those who wish to assist you will need to apply to the Court of Protection in order to act on your behalf. The Court of Protection will consider the facts before it and decide on what is in your best interests and may appoint a deputy to act on your behalf. Dealing with your financial affairs would be virtually impossible without someone authorised to act on your behalf, relatives can face long delays, expense and distress if they have to go through the Court of Protection to be permitted to do so.

JH Legal Ltd
Company Number: 10592081

Registered Office Address:

40 High Street
South Normanton
Alfreton
Derbyshire
DE55 2BP

Who Should I appoint?

Ans: When appointing attorneys you can appoint family or friends but it needs to be people you can trust. However if you have substantial assets or a complicated portfolio of assets then you may wish to appoint a professional attorney, for example an accountant or a solicitor.

JH Legal Ltd
Company Number: 10592081
Registered Office Address:
40 High Street
South Normanton
Alfreton
Derbyshire
DE55 2BP

Your Guide to Making a Will

Who should make a Will
If you care what happens to your property after you die, you should make a Will. Without one, the State directs who inherits, so your friends, favourite charities and relatives may get nothing.

It is particularly important to make a Will if you are not married or are not in a registered civil partnership (a legal arrangement that gives same-sex partners the same status as a married couple). This is because the law does not automatically recognise cohabitants (partners who live together) as having the same rights as husbands, wives and civil partners. As a result, even if you have lived together for many years, your cohabitant may be left with nothing if you have not made a Will.

A Will is also vital if you have children or dependants who may not be able to care for themselves. Without a Will there could be uncertainty about who will look after or provide for them if you die.

Your Lawyer can also advise you on how inheritance tax affects what you own.
You should also consider taking legal advice about making a Will if:
• several people could make a claim on your estate when you die because they depend on you financially;

• you want to include a trust in your Will (perhaps to provide for young children or a disabled person, save tax, or simple protect your assets in some way after you die);

• your permanent home is not in the UK or you are not a British citizen;

• you live here but have overseas property; or

• you own all or part of a business.

Once you have had a Will drawn up, some changes to your circumstances – for example, marriage, civil partnership is dissolved (legally ended) – can make all or part of that will invalid or inadequate. This means that you must review your Will regularly, to reflect, any major life changes. A Lawyer can tell you what changes may be necessary to update your Will.

Using a Lawyer
Although it is possible to write a Will without a Lawyer’s help, this is generally not advisable as there are various legal formalities you need to follow to make sure that your Will is valid. Without the help of an expert, there is a real risk you could make a mistake, which could cause problems for your family and friends after your death.

What your Lawyer will need to know
Once you have appointed a Lawyer, they will need the following details from you.
What you own – Details of everything you own, including property, cars, personal valuables, stocks and shares, bank accounts, insurance policies, any business you own and pensions.
Who gets what? – Who do you want to leave these assets to? How do you want to divide your property between your loved ones, friends or charities? Are there any conditions you want to attach to these gifts (for example, that young people must reach a particular age before they are paid any money you have left them)?
Family and other beneficiaries – Details of your family and status. Are you divorced or has your civil partnership been dissolved? Have you remarried or entered into a new civil partnership? Or are you living with someone without being married to them or being their civil partner? Do you have any children or any other dependants? Anyone who depends on you financially can ask a court to review your Will if they feel you have not provided properly for them. If you give your Lawyer relevant details, they can tell you about any legal pitfalls.
Guardians – If you have any children that may still be under 18 when you die, you may need to name someone as their legal guardians.
Other wishes – Do you have any particular wishes for your funeral? Do you want to be buried or cremated? Are there any other instructions? For example, if you want to be an organ donor this can be included in your Will. However, it is also a good idea to record your wishes on the organ-donor register, or to carry an organ-donor card.
Executors – You must also name people you want to appoint as ‘executors’ of your Will – the people who carry out the administration of your Will after your death. These could be friends or family members, or a professional such as your Lawyer. A good combination would be a friend or family member and a professional. Ideally, you should choose someone who is familiar with financial matters. Make sure you ask your executors whether they are happy to take on this duty as there are long-term responsibilities involved, particularly if you include a trust in your Will. It is a good idea to ask someone younger than you are.

Signing the Will
Once the Will has been drawn up it is not effective until it has been signed. There are several rules affecting the signature process which, if not followed correctly, will make your Will invalid. For example, witnesses and their husbands, wives or civil partners cannot benefit under the Will. Many people use staff at their Lawyer’s office to act as their witnesses to avoid this problem.

Where to keep the Will
It is important to keep your Will in a safe place and tell your executors or a close friend or relative where it is. People often ask their Lawyer to store their Wills for them. Most Lawyers will do this for free, but sometimes there is a small fee.

Keeping your Will updated
You should review your Will at least every five years and after any major life change such as getting married, separated or divorced, having a child or moving house. It is best to deal with any major changes by getting a new Will drawn up. But it is also possible to make minor changes (or ‘codicils’) to your existing Will. In both cases it is best to consult a Lawyer.

Costs
Charges for drawing up a Will vary between Lawyers. They also depend on:
• the experience and knowledge of the Lawyer; and
• how complicated your Will may be.
Before you decide who to use, check with a few local Lawyers to find out how much they charge. But remember that cost should not be the only consideration, It is equally important to find a Lawyer who is approachable and whose advice you understand.

Call Jill Hallam 07523 963026 or 01773 549037
JH Legal
40 High Street
South Normanton
Alfreton
Derbyshire, DE55 2BP

Your Guide to Probate

When a person dies, someone has to deal with their affairs; this is called ‘administering the estate’.

If the person who has died leaves a Will
If the person who has died leaves a Will, it will usually name one or more people to act as the executors of the Will – that is, to administer their estate.
If you are named as an executor of a Will you may need to apply for a grant of Probate.
A grant of Probate is an official document which the executors may need to administer the estate. It is issued by a section of the Court known as the Probate Registry.

If there is no Will
If there is no Will (known as dying intestate) the process is more complicated. The Administration of the Estate Act 1925 sets out who can act as administrator – that is, who has the legal right to deal with the affairs of the person who has died. The administrator will usually be a close relative of the person who has died, if there is one. There may be more than one person who has an equal right to do this.
Anyone who has this right can apply to the Probate Registry for a grant of Letters of Administration. This is an official document, issued by the Court, which allows administrators to administer the estate.
In some cases, for example, when the person who benefits is a child, the law says that more than one person must act as administrator.

Some more legal terms you may come across
Personal Representatives (PR’s) – This means executors or administrators. If there is more than one Personal Representative they must work together to decide matters between them. Disagreements between Personal Representatives can cause expensive delays.
Grants of Representation – This includes grants of Probate (when there is a Will) and grants of Letters of Administration (when there is no Will). Often people just refer to Probate even if there is no Will.

When a grant of Reprenstation is needed
A grant of Representation is not always needed, for example, if the person who died:-
• has left less than £5,000.00 in total; or
• owned everything jointly with someone else.
In other cases, some financial organisations, such as banks, may agree to pay funds to a Personal Representative without a grant of representation – it is always worth asking.
Usually, a grant of Representation will be needed when the person who has died left:-
• more than £5,000.00;
• stocks or shares;
• a house or land; or
• certain insurance policies

How to get a grant
You can ask a Lawyer to apply for the grant of Representation on your behalf. If you apply in person, you will have to go for an interview at the Registry and fill in an application form and a tax form. There is a fee for this. Staff at the Registry can help you fill in the forms.

Responsibilities of Personal Representatives
Personal Representatives are responsible for making sure that the estate is administered correctly. If there is a Will, the Personal Representative must make sure that the wishes of the person who has died, as set out in their Will, are followed. If there is no Will, you must follow the rules of intestacy (set out in the Administration of Estates Act 1925). You should ask your Lawyer to explain these.

Inheritance tax
Personal Representatives are also responsible for finding out if inheritance tax is due as a result of a person’s death. If it is, the Personal Representative has to make sure that it is paid.
Whether inheritance tax needs to be paid can depend on:-
• how much the property and belongings were worth when they died;
• the value of any gifts that they gave before they died, and who they gave these gifts to;
• the value of certain trusts from which the dead person benefited; or
• which people benefit under the Will or under the rules of intestacy (the beneficiaries).
You can find out more by looking at the HM Revenue & Customs website at www.hmrc.gov.uk or by asking a Lawyer.

Likely timescales
Dealing with the affairs of someone who has died can take a long time. It is not unusual for it to take up to a year, perhaps longer if things are not straightforward. Many organisations may be involved in the process, for example, banks, building societies, insurance companies and HM Revenue & Customs.
The estate cannot be dealt with until all claims to it have been received. Individuals have six months from the date when the Probate was granted to make claims against the estate.
Other things that may affect the time taken are:-
• whether the financial affairs of the person who died were in order;
• what the person who died owned and where it is;
• whether the person who died had an interest in a business or a farm;
• what the Will or the rules of intestacy say;
• whether there are any legal disputes (claims against the estate or claims by the estate);
• whether inheritance tax needs to be paid; and
• making sure that all HM Revenue & Customs files are closed and that matters relating to income tax, benefits agencies and pensions have been sorted out.
Arguments between family members, beneficiaries or personal representatives can also delay matters. Any disagreements must be sorted out before the affairs of the person who died can be settled.

Costs
Charges can vary between Lawyers and depends on what is involved in administering the estate. It is often not possible to know immediately what may be involved and how much advice and help is needed.
Your Lawyer should tell you what the costs are likely to be before carrying out any work. You can compare costs by contacting more than one Lawyer. Remember that the cost of dealing with the estate is usually paid from the estate.
However, cost is not the only consideration. It is equally important to find a Lawyer who is approachable and sympathetic, and whose advice you understand.

Call Jill Hallam 07523 963026 or 01773 549037
JH Legal
40 High Street
South Normanton
Alfreton
Derbyshire, DE55 2BP

What is a Deed of Variation?

Deeds of Variation

A Deed of Variation allows a beneficiary under a Will or an intestacy to re-direct his/her gift or his/her benefit to someone else. This note refers throughout to the variation of a Will, but the same principles apply to the variation of an intestacy. This may be done for a number of reasons:

  1. To save Inheritance Tax;
  2. To make a gift to someone who has been left out of the Will, or who has not received as much as he/she should have;
  3. To change the type of gift made in the Will to a right to receive a sum of money;
  4. To clarify an uncertainty or amend a defect in the Will;
  5. To have the ownership of jointly owned property or other jointly owned assets (such as a bank account) severed to avoid the jointly owned asset passing to the joint owner on death.

A variation cannot be done without the consent of everyone likely to be affected by it. So a variation cannot be done if the affected persons are minor children, as they cannot enter into a Deed. Such a variation would need the consent of the Court before it could be done, and such consent is not readily given.

 

How does one go about it?

A Deed of Variation can be done at any time, but if it is done to save Inheritance Tax or Capital Gains Tax, it must fulfil the following requirements:

  1. It must be completed within two years of the date of death;
  2. The right tax declarations must be included in the Deed;
  3. There must be no inducements (such as a cash payment) given to any beneficiary to enter into the Deed;
  4. The destination of an asset cannot be varied more than once in different deeds, although more than one deed is permissible if they deal with different assets.

The Deed of Variation ‘replaces’ the old Will with a new Will (or new clauses in the old Will) for distribution and tax purposes. A Deed of Variation can be done even if the administration of the estate has been completed and the deceased’s assets distributed.

It can be done before or after a Grant of Probate is issued.

 

The tax implications of a Deed of Variation

Inheritance Tax

The main effect of a Deed of Variation is that the alteration made by the Deed is treated as having been made by the deceased, and not by the beneficiary who has given up his entitlement under the Will. This can be an advantage, as the usual rules applying to lifetime potentially exempt transfers do not apply, and the beneficiary concerned does not have to survive seven years to avoid the value of the gift being added to his own estate for the purpose of calculating Inheritance Tax.

Similarly, the rules regarding a gift with reservation (where you cannot give something away and continue to enjoy it) do not apply as the deceased will already have died and cannot therefore continue to benefit from the gift.

A Deed of Variation can mean that the Inheritance Tax payable on the deceased’s estate is reduced (for example, if the re-directed gift is to a surviving spouse or a charity); conversely it can mean that the Inheritance Tax is increased (for example, if the gift is redirected away from the spouse to a child)

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

A re-direction of an asset by a Deed of Variation is not a disposal for CGT, as long as it is made within two years of the date of death, and a declaration is included in the Deed.

In such a case, the new beneficiary is deemed to receive the re-directed asset as though he were the original beneficiary, at its market value at the date of death.

There are however differences if the new beneficiary is a trust. Please ask for advice if this is to be the case.

Income Tax                

As we have seen above, a new Will or re-directed gift in a Deed of Variation is treated for Inheritance Tax and CGT as though it were the deceased’s Will or gift. For income tax purposes however, the situation is different.

Up to the date of the Deed of Variation, any income which the original beneficiary has received will be taxed as belonging to him/her.

After the date of the Deed of Variation, the income becomes the income of the new beneficiary, including income arising before the date of the Deed which is not distributed to the original beneficiary.

Again, there are differences if the new beneficiary is a trust.

A Deed of Variation is an important weapon in your tax planning armoury, and should always be considered as part of a family’s overall tax planning.

For help and advice contact

Jill Hallam 07523 963026 or 01773 549037

JH Legal
40 HIgh Street
South Normanton
Alfreton
Derbyshire
DE55 2BP