News & Articles
woman with lily flowers and coffin at funeral

Funeral Plans 2022 – What You Need to Know Now

As we move into 2022 and observe the ongoing pandemic, it’s important to consider the value of later life planning. So, what are the new regulations regarding funeral planning? The government is currently consulting on proposals to ensure that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme operates effectively if a regulated pre-paid funeral plan provider fails. The ...
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How to Rent Your Property

Are you planning to rent your property in 2022? Becoming a landlord is a complex process. When you take this step, it’s important to understand the costs you’ll be liable for, and the key obligations involved with owning a buy-to-let property. Here’s an indication of some of the things you need to know about becoming a ...
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Young female buyer sat at her laptop, victim of Home Buyers Fraud

Home Buyers Fall Victim to Latest Fraud

The Law Society of England and Wales have raised concerns over the current rise in fraud specifically targeting home buyers. Known as Payment Diversion Fraud, the scams involve criminals posing as solicitors to send forged correspondence, with the unsuspecting recipient conned into making a payment. With our growing reliance on the internet, scammers have become ...
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Senior couple using laptop together

Probate Experts Warn Against Online Wills

The ongoing global pandemic has prompted many to turn their thoughts to their futures and to put plans in place to ensure their personal legal affairs are in order. In December 2020, The Law Society reported that 7% of survey respondents made or updated their will during the first COVID-19 lockdown, with online services experiencing ...
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Man working on laptop

Land Registry Application Changes to Go Digital in 2022

HM Land Registry has announced that any changes required for existing titles will need to be made digitally as of November 2022. While the organisation has been working to improve its online system for several months, this is the first time that using the digital portal has been made mandatory. The agency, which falls under ...
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Older mature couple using laptop at home.

Modernising Lasting Powers of Attorney

The lasting power of attorney (LPA) was introduced in 2007. It was designed to provide more flexibility and greater protections than its predecessor, the enduring power of attorney (EPA). However, as our world increasingly shifts online, the public now increasingly want access to their services digitally. Digital channels undoubtedly improve access and speed of service. ...
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Focused mature woman writing and holding document at home

The Importance of Including Digital Assets in Your Will

Following a difficult eighteen months, many of us have reflected on our present circumstances and have felt an increasing importance to protect ourselves and our loved ones for the future. Making and updating a will can bring peace of mind that your possessions and finances are looked after for the long-term, but recent research has ...
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Real estate agent congratulations to new buyer by giving house model to client in the agency office.

Drive to Make Unique Property Reference Numbers the Norm

With ongoing pressures on the property market post-lockdown, professionals in the sector have called on the government to update and improve the system of selling, buying and renting. Most recently, this has included a drive to encourage using Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs). In a recent article published online by the Law Gazette, Andrew Knight, ...
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New Digital Developments for Land Registration

The HM Land Registry have revised their service to provide more options for online applications as well as announcing plans to begin testing their new electronic signature technology. The updates went live on 6 September 2021 and are part of an ongoing effort to digitalise the registry system. The organisation has been working towards digitalisation ...
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How to Set Up a Power of Attorney 

Regardless of age, health, and lifestyle, physical and mental incapacity can happen to any person at any moment. From deterioration due to age or an unexpected accident, there may come a time when you can no longer manage your affairs. This is where a lasting power of attorney comes in.  Abbreviated to LPA, this legal document enables ...
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Changes to Commercial Leases After Covid-19

With many UK industries returning to business as usual, commercial tenants have been expected to do the same with payment of rent under the conditions of their commercial leases. However, with reduced profitability and continued financial insecurity, many traders are finding themselves unable or unwilling to return to regular rent payments, putting themselves as well ...
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Proposed Rise to Probate Fees Receives Criticism from The Law Society

According to proposals published by the Government’s Ministry of Justice on 8th July, fees to apply for a grant of probate will increase from £215 for non-professional users and £155 for professional users to a single fee of £273 for all applicants. The Law Society of England and Wales and other members of the profession ...
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When, Why and How Should I Update My Will?

Once written, signed and witnessed, it is easy to forget about your will and put it out of your mind as a job done. In order to avoid heartache and stress for your loved ones after you die however, it is important to keep your will up to date and in line with your wishes. ...
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The Dangers of Taking on Work Beyond the Capacity of The Firm

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has imposed a fine of £2000 on a compliance officer and manager for permitting his firm to take on work in areas of the law in which his staff lacked skills or experience. The regulatory body found that the manager of London firm SLA Solicitors, demonstrated a ‘disregard for regulatory obligations’ ...
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The Future of Legal Support in the Digital Age

Last month (June 2021), The Legal Education Foundation (LEF) published a report titled ‘Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on tribunal hearings: The experience of tribunal judges’. The LEF surveyed tribunal juridical office holders who had observed remote hearings between March and July 2020 and this report provides an analysis of their experiences. The Senior President ...
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stamp duty

Everything You Need to Know About Stamp Duty

Ordinarily, Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) must be paid when property or land is purchased above a certain price in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A reduction in the levels of SDLT was introduced, however, in July 2020 in order to provide relief for buyers who suffered a loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic and ...
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A Guide to Residential Leases and Conveyancing

This article is designed to introduce buyers and sellers to the complexities of buying or selling leasehold property. Most homes are owned on either a freehold or leasehold basis. A freeholder owns the property and the land outright, whereas a leaseholder owns the property for a fixed period of time, after which it returns to the freeholder. If ...
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The Cost of Probate Delays and the Benefits of Professional Help

After being contacted by several desperate readers, the Observer newspaper printed an article earlier this month revealing the emotional impact experienced by grieving families across the UK in their efforts to apply for probate. (‘Grieving relatives tell of despair at months of waiting for probate’, Anna Tims, the Observer, 2 May 2021). Describing the process ...
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Remote Will Witnessing and the Potential for Disputes

In response to government restrictions enforced as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Justice confirmed a temporary amendment to the Wills Act 1837, enabling witnessing to be undertaken by means of videoconference or other visual transmission. The amendment came at a time when the country was experiencing a huge influx in the ...
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A Fairer Future for Pre-Paid Funeral Plans

After a challenging year during the pandemic, we have all had the opportunity and motive to reflect on the future and the security of our finances, assets, and families. Later life planning has become an increasingly important concern for adults of all ages, including pre-paid funeral plans. The main advantage of a pre-paid funeral plan ...
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Preparing for an Uncertain Future: Pre-Paid Funeral Plans

In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. A year on and official figures reveal that over half a million people have since passed away in the UK. This number comprises over 100,000 excess deaths. And while the death of a loved one can be overwhelming at any time, families ...
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Digital Developments to be Used to Aid Conveyancing Process

In February of this year the government published its draft rules governing the future use of digital identities. This is in an effort to make it quicker and easier for people to verify themselves through modern technology and to create a process as trusted as producing passports or bank statements. According to The Department for ...
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Creating a Will Made Easier by New Online Improvements

The past year has provided an opportunity to reflect on our lives and review how we can prepare for the future. Later life planning has increased not only as a means to ensure our own security but to equally provide peace of mind for our loved ones, especially when it comes to making a will. ...
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Is Legal Technology Here to Stay in 2021?

Following months of lockdown and with ongoing uncertainty about the future, digital technology continues to help businesses remain open. From the flexibility of home working to the use of video conferencing, companies and clients have both benefitted. But will technology be useful long term? When it comes to legal technology in particular, the innovations have ...
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Why Current Funeral Costs are Causing ‘Serious Concerns’

Funerals are always a difficult time, no matter what the circumstances. Covid-19, however, has made the experience even more stressful; emotionally, financially, and in terms of  making all the arrangements. With ongoing lockdown restrictions, these complications are set to continue. There are also growing concerns that some funeral providers are making the situation worse. Increased ...
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The Law and Lockdown during January 2021

It may be the start of a new year but once again we find ourselves in a familiar scenario with another nationwide lockdown. While the next few weeks will see many businesses put on hold once more, the legal profession and firms such as ourselves will continue working, with the appropriate adaptations. Changes to the ...
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New Year Reflections: Changes to the Law and Life in 2020

New Year Reflections: Changes to the Law and Life in 2020 Whether you will look back on 2020 as a year to remember or a year to forget, the past twelve months have undoubtedly had a huge impact on our lives. The legal sector has been no exception with many adjustments being made as a ...
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Including a Funeral in your Later Life Planning

Including a Funeral in your Later Life Planning Arranging your funeral may seem morbid, but it will help to ensure that you and your family have complete peace of mind for what lies ahead. Experienced funeral providers Golden Leaves have revealed interesting evidence about current consumer views on later life planning. Regardless of age, funerals ...
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The Advantages of Remote Working for Businesses and Clients

The Advantages of Remote Working for Businesses and Clients   Flexible working is entirely changing the way businesses operate. Even now, as governments around the world ease lockdown restrictions, it is far from business as usual. Until recently, the perception that the best work happens in the office has prevailed, but our solicitors have found ...
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Improving the Working Practices of the Legal Industry using Digital Innovations

Are digital innovations the answer to ongoing growth and success within the legal industry? A recent report co-funded by a number of businesses in the Leeds City Region suggests that it may well be so. Compiled by Whitecap Consulting over a period of six months, the report identifies the impact of digital developments on legal ...
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Online Probate Forms Now Mandatory

Starting this month, solicitors will submit probate forms and applications online under legislation laid in parliament on 1st October. This comes as the government promises a ‘quicker and more reliable’ probate service. The New Legislation   HM Courts and Tribunals Services have been urging practitioners to use the online service ever since the project was ...
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Supporting Jobs and Businesses Post Covid-19

While some areas of everyday life are beginning to resemble a “new normal”, the economic impact of Covid-19 still remains unclear. The government has attempted to clarify past spending and offer possible future solutions but remain inconclusive about financial recovery in both the short and long-term. Last month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak advised Conservative MPs that ...
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Arranging Your Pre-Paid Funeral Plan

Arranging Your Pre-Paid Funeral Plan Few could have predicted the sheer impact Covid-19 would have on almost every aspect of our lives. Lessons have been learned, such as the importance of making the most of the present, but also the importance of preparing for the future. Planning ahead for our own passing is one vital ...
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What You Need to Know About Probate in the UK

Probate in the UK It is a morbid topic, but one worth understanding should you ever find yourself in a position of responsibility following someone’s death. Probate is the process of dealing with a person’s property and possessions (‘estate’), which generally involves clearing any debts, paying any tax due and distributing assets in accordance with their will. ...
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Are Online Wills Leading to Inheritance Disputes?

Are Online Wills Leading to Inheritance Disputes? The number of inheritance disputes heard in the High Court is soaring. As more and more people are turning to the internet to write their wills, is this a coincidence? Probate matters are getting increasingly contentious and this does not account for the disputes that are settled before ...
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Changing of the Witnessing of Wills Following Covid-19 – Our Response

Making a will is one of the most important decisions an individual will face in their lifetime, so the recent change in the witnessing of wills has understandably been met with both intrigue and interest. In response to government restrictions enforced due to Covid-19, the Ministry of Justice has recently confirmed a temporary amendment to ...
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The Power of Oral Agreements

Be Careful What You Say The words that we use can often be taken for granted; you might well be familiar with the term ‘a throw-away comment’. At the most fundamental level, words can be reduced to the passage of air over tongue and lips, but in truth, they have tangible power that can last ...
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Simplifying the Probate Process During Uncertain Times

Why Do I Need Probate? When a loved one dies, amidst the inevitable heartbreak you will find that you are thrust into a position where you need to acquire many new skills quickly. Arranging the funeral, tracing old relatives and friends, obtaining a death certificate, handling tax affairs and obtaining a grant of probate. Sadly, ...
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probate definition

What is a Probate Solicitor?

When a person dies, they often leave a will. This is essentially a “wish list” that sums up their intentions and wishes for the property and money that they leave behind when they die. If the will has been correctly drafted, they will have appointed an “executor/s” (often family members), whose job is to action ...
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Challenges of Virtual Meetings in the Legal Sector

The Present Reality If you had been on another planet for six months and returned, landing in the middle of your local town, you could be forgiven for thinking that your spacecraft had entered a parallel universe. Very few of your usual frames of reference would be recognisable: streets virtually empty at peak times; shoppers ...
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The Symptoms of Lockdown

Unlike basic needs such as food, air, shelter and water, we as solicitors understand that our services are only ‘needed’ when our clients have some important event in their lives. Until you’re actively moving house, setting up a business or negotiating a contract, for example, we know that we are generally ‘off the radar’. During ...
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Housing Disputes – An Englishman’s Home is his Castle?

“An Englishman’s home is his castle” is a common statement, but what it actually means in practice is less simple. We call our home many things: our nest; “pied-à-terre”; sanctuary; abode; dwelling quarters or habitat. All of these terms reflect an attachment to the place where we rest our head. Forms of Home Ownership As ...
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Covid-19 and the Legal Sector

  You could be forgiven for wondering whether or not there is any subject to discuss other than Covid-19. Not only is there a global viral pandemic, there is also an anxiety pandemic that crosses all borders and institutions. We wanted to bring a little clarity during this period of great uncertainty. Here is how ...
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International Climate Change Statute: Power to the People

As an individual, it can seem at best daunting and at worst impossible to affect change in what seems like an increasingly globalised world. Money talks. If you needed proof of this, just take a casual glance at the current US primaries with the two main acts being multi-millionaires with deep pockets and hardball legal ...
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legacy

Statutory Legacy Amount Increased in England and Wales

What Is a Statutory Legacy? In the event of a person not having a valid will at the time of their death, Statutory Intestacy Rules set out the distribution of an estate. The “Statutory Legacy” was last changed when the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 came into force on 1st October 2014. A Law ...
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Beware of the Ghost of Inheritance Past

We live during a time where the past misdemeanors of people are increasingly coming to the surface. There are several contributing factors to this trend – evolving technology and changing cultural norms being examples. Take social media platforms, for instance. Celebrities are being brought to book for unfortunate – or downright inappropriate – comments made ...
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Writing a Will: A Tablet of Stone or a Movable Feast?

Writing a Will Writing a will can be a momentous event. Not usually something that is undertaken lightly or casually. It is usually brought about by life events that cause reflection or a sudden appreciation that everything can and will change. So, the thought that this precious ‘once in a lifetime’ document could be challenged ...
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bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts – Worth a Bird in the Hand?

Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts By their very nature, cryptocurrencies and smart contracts are difficult concepts to wrestle with. Being intangible and virtual there are few examples in history that can be cited as positive confirmatory precedents. Other examples of a value being apportioned, despite little hard evidence might be the ‘dotcom bubble’ or ‘pyramid selling’ ...
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Fraudulent Calumny

“Fraudulent Calumny”: You could be forgiven for wondering if this were a glorious 16th-century put-down from the pen of the Bard. Or maybe one of the latest from the canon of utterances from the mouth of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Archaic bon mots such as ‘nincompoop’, ‘ultracrepidarianism’ and ‘mandrake mymmekin’ would sit comfortably alongside. However, ...
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How to Write and Maintain an Effective Will

  As a responsible citizen, it is likely that you will drive safely, put your rubbish in the bin, pay your taxes, clean up after your dog and have made that sure you’ve written a will.  Whilst it is evident that you must drive safely every day, we relentlessly continue to create rubbish and therefore ...
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Residential Property Ownership – Capital Gains Tax Legislation Changes

A court ruled earlier this month that residential property ownership only starts when a purchase is completed. Section 28 of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992 states that where an asset is disposed of and acquired under a contract, the disposal and acquisition is made at the time the contract is made. But what ...
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writing a will can secure the future of your children

Why is Writing a Will so Important?

Last year it was revealed that six in ten UK parents (59%) either do not have a will at all or their existing one is not up-to-date. Furthermore, a quarter of those have no intention of making one. These are surprising statistics – especially given the ease with which people can access information and guidance ...
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writing a will

One in Four Prepared to Challenge a Will

In February of this year, it was reported that a quarter of British adults are prepared to challenge a relative’s will in court. This is according to a survey of 2000 people, which was commissioned by the life insurance company, Direct Line. 8159 caveats were entered in contested probate cases in 2017, rising by 8% in ...
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Law Commission Publishes Stance on E-Signatures

Electronic (e) signatures have been in existence for a number of years. However, until now the law’s stance on their use in court has been vague at best. A Digital World As digitalisation continues to transform the world in which we live, the benefits to society at large are plain to see. From instant video ...
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Justice Budget Increase Deemed Insufficient

Following years of austerity, one might have expected the Ministry of Justice to welcome the government’s latest spending review with open arms. However, critics are labelling the increase as insufficient. Javid’s Budget Increase This month, the new chancellor, Sajid Javid confirmed that the MoJ’s resources budget would increase by 4.9% for 2020-21. In addition, a ...
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Probate Fee Hike Lapses as Parliament Suspended

Controversial plans to hike probate fees have lapsed due to parliament’s prorogation. The plans were initially delayed when the Brexit deadline of March 29thwas extended to October 31st. However, with parliament prorogued by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the motion has now lapsed completely – news welcomed by The Law Society. What were the Proposed ...
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A Trust without a Deed?

Below we look at the details of a landmark legal case from earlier this year in which a trust was found to be legitimate without the presence of a deed. In April, a tribunal ruled in favour of a UK taxpayer who was holding a bare trust for a relative. The First-tier Tax Tribunal declared ...
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digital keyboard

Digital Changes to Probate Grants

Changes to probate grants are to be digitalised. The UK’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has this month introduced digital amendments to probate grants. From 8th August, the probate service has been allowed to amend any errors in probate grants digitally. Whereas the ‘old style’ of amendments (pen and ink) will continue to be valid, ...
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house with money behind

Capital Gains Tax Deadlines Change

It was announced in June that Capital Gains Tax (CGT) deadlines for residential property disposals were to change. ‘Property disposal’ is the technical term for when an inherited property is sold for cash. The new deadlines (which will be introduced in April 2020) will see CGT having to be paid just 30 days after completion ...
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Landmark Pension Ruling Sets Precedent

This month saw a landmark ruling in UK pensions, as a woman won the right to her late partner’s pension. Jane Langford had been cohabiting with RAF employee Christopher Green for 15 years at the time of his death in 2011. Although the RAF pension gives unmarried partners of employees access to their pension if ...
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Much Ado About Bitcoin

In an effort to make our digital world more secure, an increasing number of transactions are being done digitally.   This may be by converting contracts into encoded digital information or by encrypting financial transactions by the use of a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. The Digital Revolution The digital age has revolutionised the world of commerce. ...
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London in fog

Labour’s Property Crisis Pledge

Among the political turmoil here in the UK, it is difficult to see far beyond the thick fog of Brexit. It is the all-consuming topic that frustrates and angers as much as it bores and tires. However, in amongst this national pea-souper is national political news that can easily be missed; indeed, it is sometimes ...
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Hidden Legal Costs and How to Avoid Them!

Have you ever felt duped or cheated? It’s not a nice feeling is it? Unfortunately, you’ll find ‘hidden extras’ when committing to make a purchase in all manner of industries. There is often scope for these hidden extras to find their way on to your bill without you necessarily agreeing a price (or indeed realising ...
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Probate Disputes are on the Rise!

According to a recent report, the number of inheritance disputes has rocketed by 62% in the last year. The rise is being attributed to the increasing popularity of DIY wills – a trend that is clearly at the root of much unnecessary heartache. A probate dispute causes further stress and upset to family members at ...
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What are the Implications of the Delay to the Probate Fees Hike?

If you were to be on the receiving end of an estate worth £2m, you could be excused for thinking that the days of hyper-inflation in post war Germany were being visited upon us in England and Wales. Although the implementation has been delayed due to Brexit, probate application fees are set to rise from ...
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The Probate Fee Hike: A Taxing Affair

Fresh controversy has been added to the debate surrounding the fast-approaching overhaul of probate fees. The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) has stated that it expects the new fees to be classified as a tax – an assertion rejected by ministers. The new structure is expected to bring HMRC an additional £155m per year in ...
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The Growing Importance of Timely, Professional Estate Management

It was recently reported that a widow’s late application claim against her husband’s estate was refused; this is hardly news in itself, but a comment from the judge in court has had significant implications for the executors of estates. The claim, which was made nearly 17 months after the six-month time limit, was thrown out by ...
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Solicitor:

Angela Davies LL.B

T 0114 395 1048
M 0780 168 6125
E a.davies@amdavies.co.uk

Chartered Legal Executive:

Jeremy Clough FCILEx TEP

T 0114 395 1049
M 0777 172 2241
E j.clough@amdavies.co.uk