Will Disputes: What If You’ve Been Left Out?

Losing a loved one is always an upsetting time. That upset is only heightened if you later discover that you have been left out of their Will, or in some way under-recognised.

There are options open to you if you wish to contest a Will, thanks to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The Act allows people to bring a claim against the estate in certain circumstances, when they feel that “reasonable financial provision” has not been made for them.

The courts will then evaluate where such provision has been made for you, and if not, what provision needs to be in place for you. In order to make a successful claim, you will need to demonstrate to the courts that you had a reasonable expectation of having your living costs met by the deceased.

All sorts of factors will be taken into account here, such as your financial position and needs (both now and in the future) the size of the estate and even your conduct.

There is a host of different circumstances where someone may wish to challenge a Will, for example a former spouse or a child of the deceased, or simply someone who was financially dependent on the deceased before they passed away.

There is a time limit on making a claim though – it must be issued at court within six months of the date of the grant of probate.

The court has the power to step in and revise the way that the estate has been divided – this may mean you receiving a lump sum or even the entitlement to a regular payment from the net estate of the deceased.

The issue has enjoyed a lot of press coverage in recent years, primarily down to a case where a mother left her £486,000 estate to three charities, leaving out her estranged daughter entirely.

While the daughter succeeded in challenging this, winning a six-figure settlement, that has now been overturned by the Supreme Court.

Jon O’Brien, “The 1975 Act opens up the possibility of challenging a Will if you believe you have been unfairly left out, though it is important to get legal advice first. You will also need to prove that you could rightfully have expected some sort of contribution from the deceased.”

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Cheshire Office – 0161 771 2056
Staffordshire Office 01782 963 303

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Why a Lasting Power Of Attorney Is Essential For Carers

According to figures from Carers UK, around one in eight adults in the UK acts as a carer for a loved one. That’s a massive 6.5 million people in total, and that’s only set to continue to grow in the coming years. Every day a further 6,000 people take on caring responsibilities, with the total likely to pass nine million by 2037.

However, a recent survey by YouGov on behalf of Carers Trust has highlighted the lack of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) agreements in place for carers. The survey found that a massive 82% of respondents had not made an LPA, while even among those who had there were concerning gaps in the understanding of the different types of LPA.

But in truth, an LPA is a sensible move in these circumstances. LPAs allow an appointed ‘attorney’ to make certain decisions on behalf of someone if they are no longer able to make those decisions for themselves. They come in two distinct forms – a property and financial affairs LPA, and a health and welfare LPA – though you can go for a combined version which encompasses both.

Having an LPA in place can make life much easier for carers. For example, it may be that the person you care for needs to make changes to their home in order to continue living there, such as the installation of a ramp for wheelchair access. Without an LPA, the carer would not be able to use your money to pay for that ramp, so may end up turning to expensive credit, adding to their worries.

Carers are often best placed to know exactly what is best for the people they care for and what decisions they would make if they still had the ability to do so. An LPA empowers carers to make just those decisions with confidence.

Jon O’Brien our Power of Attorney specialist said: “Millions of people act as carers for loved ones across the nation, which can be a stressful role at the best of times. But without an LPA in place, it can make looking after that loved one so much harder. Arranging an LPA is very simple, inexpensive and can deliver peace of mind.”

Read more here about making a Lasting Power of Attorney.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Cheshire Office – 0161 771 2056
Staffordshire Office 01782 963 303

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What Is Business Property Relief?

Inheritance tax is often named as one of the UK’s most hated taxes. While there are a number of ways to reduce your eventual tax bill, many people are unaware of business property relief.

Business property relief allows relief from inheritance tax at a rate of 50% or 100% on certain business assets.

You can get 100% business relief on a business or interest in a business, while 50% relief is available on:

  • shares controlling more than 50% of the voting rights in a listed company;
  • land, buildings or machinery owned by the deceased and used in a business they were a partner in or controlled;
  • land, buildings or machinery used in the business and held in a Trust that it has the right to benefit from.

It’s important to remember that you can only get this relief if the person who has died owned the business or asset for at least two years before they passed away. You also can’t claim business relief if the asset is not needed for future use in the business.

What’s more, business assets can actually be given away while the owner is still alive and qualify for business relief. However, certain criteria needs to be met – for example, the recipient must keep them as a going concern until the death of the donor.

Clearly, timing is extremely important when it comes to business property relief, so plans should ensure it’s available at the relevant time.

Business property relief can make a huge difference to the eventual inheritance tax bill of your loved ones and can also help with succession planning. But it requires careful planning in order to ensure it is available when you need it. Dictating exactly what happens to your assets after you die is incredibly important, whether you own a business or not, and a Will is the best way to do that. It is a terrific way to reduce the uncertainty and upset your loved ones face after you pass away.”

If you own a business or are interested in becoming a business owner, and would like advice on how to include this within your Will, talk to Finance North Estate Planning Services today on 0161 771 2056 or email help@FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Cheshire Office – 0161 771 2056
Staffordshire Office 01782 963 303

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Reasons for a Property Protection Trust

A Property Protection Trust is designed to help and protect your property from creditors including an assessment for long term care fees.

Our Property Protection Trust will ensure that your estate is kept intact by protecting your share of your home (or other property, if required) or the value in it.

We do this by firstly changing Joint ownership of the property to Tenants in Common usually each owning 50% this then enables you to “Will” your share to your chosen beneficiary via your Family Trust.

By leaving your share of the property in a Trust with a life interest to your partner/spouse you safeguard your assets from being lost should your partner re-marry, or be diluted if that partnership ends in divorce. It also protects the trust property from bankruptcy and care costs in later life for the surviving partner.

Importantly the Trust also protects the interests of the survivor, allowing them to live in the property until their death, (or, if required, until they cohabit or remarries.) If the survivor then goes on to remarry, they cannot leave the whole of the property to their new spouse, as a portion is already owned by the Trustees on behalf of the chosen beneficiaries. The survivor can also move house if they so wish, using the whole of the proceeds towards another property, or raise capital by purchasing a smaller property, a greater proportion of which will then be owned by the Trustees.

  • Typical Example

On first death, the Deceased’s share of the property is passed into their Trust via the Will. The surviving spouse/ partner continues to live in the property and is still able to move home if they choose to do so.

In the event that the survivor enters Care, the survivor only owns a half share of a house

 

PPT1

  • Benefits

Care
Holding the assets in the Trust ensures that they do not add onto the Beneficiaries’ own estates and so cannot be assessed for their Care costs.

Marriage After Death
Placing half of the family home and other assets into a Trust on first death ensures that, should the surviving spouse/partner marry in the future, those assets cannot
be taken into the marriage and removes the threat of your own children being disinherited. The survivor is still able to use the assets in the Trust.

Creditors or Bankruptcy
Similarly, if any of your Beneficiaries are subject to Creditor Claims/Bankruptcy then their inheritance would not be exposed to these claims.

Divorce
Placing the assets into Trust ensures that, if your children/ chosen Beneficiaries are subject to Divorce proceedings then what you intended them to receive is protected from any Divorce settlements.

Further or Generational IHT
Holding the assets in the Trust ensures that they do not add to the Beneficiaries’ estates and impact on their own Inheritance Tax

Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB)
Our trusts ensure that if there are lineal descendants as beneficiaries, the trust will still qualify for the RNRB.

Remember that making a basic double Will
only guarantees what happens on 1st death

 

Without the correct planning, some or all of your children’s or grandchildren’s  inheritance could be lost. However, with a few simple strategies we can protect you and your family from needless expense and worry.

Consider the Facts…

  • Everyone should have a Will, but 2 out of 3 people have not yet made a Will and those that have, may not have the correct Will in place
  • Many of the population lose their homes and / or savings to pay for care.
  • A large proportion of any inheritance is lost in future divorce settlements, to creditors or bankruptcy and unnecessary taxation.

Peace of mind is just a phone call away! Call us today on 0161 771 2056 or enter your details below…

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Cheshire Office – 0161 771 2056
Staffordshire Office 01782 963 303

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This page contains only general planning advice and is not to be construed as advice for any specific personal planning. Each strategy recommended is based on individual circumstances.

 

How to prevent things going wrong with your Lasting Power of Attorney

With dementia continuing to rise, the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) cannot be overstated. An LPA can be a vital tool, giving a friend, loved one or solicitor the power to make decisions on your behalf should you reach a position where you are unable to.

Safeguards are built into them to ensure they are used appropriately, but there are steps you can take to ensure things do not go wrong.

Choose the right attorney

If you want to prevent any future issues with an LPA, then choosing the right attorney at the outset is crucial. There are many duties involved in acting as an attorney for someone, so you need to pick someone responsible and organised, as well as someone who knows you well and can be trusted to act in your best interests.

You may want to select more than one attorney – this will make abuse of the powers associated with an LPA much harder.

If you do choose more than one attorney, you can set out whether they need to act together or separately for certain issues.

Informing loved ones

One important safeguard is the fact that the ‘donor’ (the person handing over their powers to their attorney) can name up to five people who must be informed before the LPA is registered. It’s important to do this – these loved ones can then step in and dispute the registration, should they believe that the donor was put under undue pressure or the attorney is set to behave in an inappropriate way

It’s a good idea to speak to your friends and loved ones who aren’t named on the document in advance of organising an LPA too. You can explain why you are doing it and how you want the powers to be used – this can help reduce the chances of fraud and should also reduce the chances of conflict between family members later on.

Guidance

Another safeguard is the ability for donors to have certain guidance for the attorney written into the LPA. For example, this may suggest that they meet a couple of times a year to go through bank details and discuss financial arrangements for the next six months. This should also make it harder for any fraud to take place.

Organising an LPA can give you peace of mind that you will have someone you trust making decisions for you, should you lose the ability to do so.

Choosing the right attorney, and getting the right LPA in place, can take some time, but it is time well spent.

If you’re struggling to choose an LPA or would like advice on how to appoint one, feel free to get in touch with us at Finance North Estate Planning Services on one of the numbers below.

Cheshire Office: 0161 771 2056 or Staffordshire Office: 01782 963 303

Or simply complete you details below and one of our consultants will call you back.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Pole Farm Cottage, Pole Lane, Antrobus, Cheshire, CW9 6NN
The Dudson Centre, Hope Street, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5DD

www.FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk