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01

2017

September

Lasting Powers of Attorney in the news

Lasting Powers of Attorney have been in the news recently following comments made by a former Court of Protection judge.

Here, Carolyn Monaghan, explains some of the differences between having an LPA in place or leaving the Court of Protection to sort out your affairs if you become incapacitated.

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03

2017

August

The problem of Japanese Knotweed

Is Japanese Knotweed causing an issue in buying or selling your home?

Here, Keely King discusses how it can affect you and what you can do about it.

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17

2017

July

Reducing delays in Family Law proceedings

Anything which can speed up the legal process, particularly in Family Law cases, is welcome.

Our Family Law solicitor, Helen Starmer, talks about some recent developments,

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21

2017

June

Pudsey Legal 10k

We were delighted to sponsor the Pudsey Legal 10k race on Sunday 18 June 2017.

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07

2017

June

Small debt, big impact

Do you run your own business?

How much time do you spend chasing bad debts?

Our Business and Commercial law solicitor, Kiran Virdee, explains the impact of bad debtors on a business and what we can do to support you when this situation arises:

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30

2017

May

Pudsey Carnival

Pudsey Carnival took place on Saturday 20 May this year. The question is 'did it rain?'

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25

2017

April

Business Lasting Power of Attorney

Do you run your own business? Do you have a business distaster recovery plan?

Carolyn Monaghan explains how a business Lasting Power of Attorney can help your business overcome an emergency.

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28

2017

March

Challenging a Will - an important judgment

It is generally assumed that when you make a Will you can leave your estate to whomever you wish.

Here, our Wills specialist, Carolyn Monaghan explained why it is not always that straightforward.

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15

2017

February

Family Law – some myths rebuffed

Family Law expert, Helen Starmer discusses some myths surrounding matrimonial issues

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16

2017

January

The insolvent estate – beware of the pitfalls

Being appointed as an executor in a Will carries responsibilities.

Wills & Probate specialist, Carolyn Monghan, looks at the potential pitfalls faced by executors when the estate is insolvent.

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19

2016

December

Settlement Agreements – When employment ends

When employment ends, for example through redundancy, often the employer will ask the employee to sign a 'Settlement Agreement' to bring an end to the contract.

Our Business & Commercial Law specialist, Kiran Virdee explains what these are.

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15

2016

November

Looking after your business

Kiran Virdee explains the importance of getting your business terms and conditions right.

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11

2016

October

Care fees and how they could affect you

Now that more of us are living longer, the prospect of needing to go into a care home looms larger in most of our minds.   Most of us feel that we have worked hard to have something to leave for the children and we don’t want it all to go on paying for years and years of care. But there are a lot of myths surrounding paying for care fees, and it’s worth putting these concerns into perspective.

Currently there are about 291,000 people living in care homes, representing about 3.2% of over-65s.  This percentage has been roughly stable since 2001.  This shows that the vast majority of us will never go into a care home.

If we do, many people fear that the local authority will immediately take the house to pay for it.  However,  this is not the case.  Firstly, any income you have – state pension, occupational pension, state benefits – will first be used to fund your care.  If there is a shortfall, a financial assessment will be made, looking at how much capital the person going into care has.  If the house is needed for the person’s spouse to live in, it will not count as part of this assessment, and there are other assets that may be disregarded too.  If the person is assessed as having more than £23,250 in capital, the Local Authority will not contribute to care fees, and will leave it up to the person to fund their own care.  If the person has capital between £14,250 and £23,250, then the Local Authority will make a contribution to the fees.

Many people think that the only solution to avoid the sale of the house is to give it to the children.  But this has its own drawbacks – your children may get divorced, or go bankrupt, giving third parties a right to a share of your home.   In addition, the Local Authority can ignore a gift if they can show that it was made only or mainly to avoid care fees, and treat you as still owning the property.

There are ways for joint owners of a house to use a trust in their wills to protect at least half of the house for the children.  Every person’s circumstances are different, and it is always wise to take legal and/or financial advice when making plans for your future.

Please call me if you would like to make an appointment for advice on any aspect of this article.

Regards
Carolyn

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08

2016

September

Your Will is important for your children

You may be thinking that after paying out for all those children essentials like toys, clothes and birthday parties there would be nothing left to leave in your Will.  But remember - a Will doesn’t just cover your financial wishes.

It’s something we don’t like to think about, but if you don’t make a Will at all and both you and your partner die, any member of your family can apply for parental responsibility for your children – imagine Great Auntie Rose, who is lovely but no match for your boisterous little terrors, or what if both sets of grandparents wanted responsibility? This could set off world war three!  If you make a will with provision for the children, you can make your own wishes clear to your family and make sure your children have the most suitable guardians. 

If there is any money, the law says that if you have no spouse, or your spouse has died before you, the money will be divided equally between your children and will be held in trust until each child reaches the age of 18.  You may prefer that the children have to wait until they are 21 – or maybe 30 – before they can take control of the money.

For some families, it may be fairer not to divide the money equally. For example, if you have a disabled child who may have greater financial needs, you might wish to give that child a larger inheritance.

There might be a large age gap, say, one child is 10 and the other 20. Here, you may wish to leave more to the 10-year-old to help the guardian with bringing a young child up – you can make provision in the Will that this changes to an equal share when the youngest reaches 18.

If your family is a complex one, where you each have children from a first marriage and you also have children together, the need to make a Will is even more important.  If you have raised your blended family together for some years, you probably want to keep them together if you both die, but the former spouses’ families may have other ideas.  Also your assets may not pass equally to the children -  step-children are not entitled to any assets if a step-parent dies without making a Will, so who gets what will depend on the accident of who dies first.

If you make a Will, you can avoid all of these problems and make sure that your children are secure.

 

Please do call me to arrange an appointment if you are thinking of making your first Will or updating an existing one.

Regards

Carolyn Monaghan

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22

2016

August

How do you own your home?

The way you own your home could have implications you might not be aware of.

It is important to understand how this could affect you, particularly in relation to your inheritance planning.

When two or more people own property together, there are two ways they can hold the property:

Green Bullet Beneficial joint tenants - if one of the owners dies, the survivor will own the whole property.

Green Bullet Tenants in common -  each owner owns a share of the property, which can then pass to whoever they wish under the terms of their will.


As with most things, there can be pros and cons to each method and your own circumstances can often dictate which is most advantageous for you.

It is possible to change from one method to the other. If you hold a property as beneficial joint tenants, you could make a declaration (known as severing the tenancy) to convert your ownership into tenants in common.

If the ownership is by way of tenants in common you could transfer to beneficial joint tenants (so long as all the owners agree) by making a Declaration of Trust.

Examples of how the different methods can affect you can include:

If a couple separate, one may decide to sever the joint tenancy so as to protect their share of the property and ensure it passes under the terms of their will, rather than automatically to the other joint owner.

Fred and Freda have been married for 20 years, have three children and own their home as Joint Tenants. However, they decide to divorce and neither remembers to sever the joint tenancy

Immediately after the divorce, Freda marries Jack and makes a will leaving everything to him.  Fred dies at the age of 90 and Freda dies 2 months later. The family house passes to Jack and the children receive nothing. 

A married couple may choose to hold the property as tenants in common for various reasons:

Tax – you don’t have to own equal shares in your property, and there may be tax advantages in holding the property in unequal shares.

Janet, a company director, pays 45% tax.  John is a full-time house-husband with no income from employment. They own a second home which they rent out at £1,000 per month.  Whilst they own this house as beneficial joint tenants, they are each entitled to half of any rental income.  John pays 20% tax on his share (£100 per month), but Janet has to pay 45% on hers (£225 per month).

They decide to sever the tenancy, with Janet making a gift to John of most of her share of the house, leaving her with a 10% share.  Now, John receives 90% of the income, on which he pays £180 per month in tax, and Janet receives 10% of the income, paying £45 per month in tax.  As a couple, they now save £100 per month.

Securing the children’s inheritance - this can be threatened either by care home fees, or perhaps by the remarriage of a surviving partner who is not the parent of the children.  If the home is owned as tenants in common, each partner can make a will which leaves their half share in trust on whatever terms they wish.


Mick and Joan own their home as tenants in common.  Theirs is a second marriage, and each has children from their first marriage.  They want to make sure that their own children get their share of the house.  They have made wills which, in the event of the death of one of them, leaves their share of the house in trust for their children, but with a right for the surviving spouse to live in the house for the rest of their life.  

Another example might be……

Donald and Edith were childhood sweethearts.  In their 80s, married for 60 years and with 2 children, they decided to make wills in which each left their half of the house in trust for the children, with the right for the other to live in it as long as they wish.  When Donald sadly dies, Edith moves into a nursing home.  Donald’s half of the house then passes to the children, because Edith is no longer living there.  Edith's half of the house now pays for her care, but the children have the other half of the value of the house.

If you would like further advice on any aspect of this article, please do call me to arrange an appointment.


Regards

Carolyn

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Contacts

Telephone
0113 254 9733

Pudsey Legal
Cringlebar House,
415 Bradford Road, Pudsey,
Leeds, LS28 7HQ

Pudsey Legal
Trinity House,
32 Church Lane, Pudsey
Leeds, LS28 7RF


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