Tag: berkshire solicitor

Conveyancing process – flowchart for buyers

To discuss this and to obtain more information contact:

Dickins Hopgood Chidley Solicitors,
The Old School House, 42 High Street, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 0NF 01488 683555

What is probate?

Probate legal advice in Berkshire, image shows a person reading documents

Probate, what is it? When a person dies, someone has to deal with their affairs and decide what will happen to the things they owned.

Executors

The executors are the people appointed in a Will to deal with the estate of the person who has died. An administrator is the person who deals with the estate of a person who has died without a Will (intestate). They can both be called personal representatives.

Executors can arrange the funeral and take charge of the house and possessions, unless they automatically pass to a joint owner.

If there are sufficient assets the executors will have to apply for probate. This is the legal document proving the Will and authorising the executors to deal with the assets and liabilities of the estate.

Applying for probate

To apply for probate, the value of all of the deceased’s possessions, assets and debts has to be ascertained.

If there is, or could, be Inheritance Tax to pay, the executors must report the value of the estate to HM Revenue. If the estate is not liable to IHT the executors must still complete a form giving details of the assets and certain gifts made by the person who died. This must be arranged before an application is made to the Probate Registry.

Once the matter of inheritance tax is resolved, an oath is sworn by the executors or administrators, confirming that they will administer the estate. When probate is granted, the executors have the right to deal with the assets and property of the deceased, including closure of bank accounts, sale or transfer of shares, transfer or sale of property, and payment of debts and expenses etc.

Executors are responsible for distributing the estate to the beneficiaries of the Will. Administrators must follow the ‘rules of entitlement’, which govern who will benefit from the estate of a person who has died intestate (without a will).

Instructing Us

Instructing a solicitor to act for you if you are an Executor or Administrator has the following advantages: –

1. It reduces the distress of dealing with the property and assets of a close relative or friend.

2. A solicitor advises on whether or not Inheritance Tax is payable and if so, how and when it must be paid. Inheritance Tax is complicated and in most cases you will need specialist legal advice. A solicitor will complete the lengthy inheritance tax return.

3. Financial institutions have different requirements to be met before they will release the deceased’s assets. A solicitor will be familiar with these procedures.

4. Administering an estate can be lengthy and complicated. A solicitor will be used to the complexity and be able to commit the time needed to sort out the estate.

5. A solicitor can deal not only with Inheritance Tax but also with income tax and capital gains tax arising during the administration of the estate, for which tax returns are required.

To discuss this and to obtain more information contact:
Emily Payne at Dickins Hopgood Chidley Solicitors,
The Old School House, 42 High Street, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 0NF 01488 683555

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Berkshire solicitors, a person signing a document giving someone lasting powers of attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) allows you to appoint an attorney to look after your affairs if you become incapable of doing so. It can only be made in advance, by a person who is still capable of making decisions.

Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

If no provision is made, and you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself, there would be no-one with legal authority to manage your affairs. The person wanting to help you with this task would have to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order. Whilst we are happy to assist with this, it is a time-consuming and expensive process, and means that your appointee can do nothing until a Court Order is made. The person wishing to be appointed may not be the one you would have chosen!

If an attorney has been appointed in advance, and the document registered, they may carry out your wishes and act on your behalf without delay or further formality.

A Lasting Power of Attorney also helps relieve those close to you of responsibility for trying to guess what you would have wanted, and will help in the situation of there being conflicting views within a family, or indifference, as to the best way to care for you if you are unable to look after yourself.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

The Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows decision making to be delegated to your chosen attorney or attorneys, so that they can make decisions for you when you are unable to do so. attorney or attorneys, so that they can make decisions for you when you are unable to do so.

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:-

1. Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Property and Financial Affairs LPA enables your attorney to manage and sell your property, manage your bank accounts and investments, and pay bills on your behalf.

2. Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Health and Welfare LPA enables you to set out how you want to be cared for if you lose your mental capacity. It covers medical treatment, where you live, what sort of care you receive, and day-to-day decisions about your welfare.

How do I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

We will go through the forms with you and help you to decide what type of power of attorney is right for you, and the conditions you wish to place on it. When the Powers are created, an independent person has to certify that you are signing it of your own free will and that you understand what you are doing. We can do this if appropriate. In some circumstances, a Doctor may be asked to certify the LPA.

The LPA then has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used, even if the donor (the person making the LPA) still has mental capacity. As part of the registration process, at least one person can be notified of the LPA so that they can raise any concerns with the OPG. The registration process takes between 6 and 16 weeks, depending on the workload of the Office of the Public Guardian, so we recommend registering straight away, so that the LPA is available to be used as soon as it is needed.

To discuss this and to obtain more information contact:
Emily Payne at Dickins Hopgood Chidley Solicitors,
The Old School House, 42 High Street, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 0NF 01488 683555

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