Trust Registration Deadline Extended

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has stated that it will extend the Trust Registration Service (TRS) deadline as they have revealed that the service will not meet the original March 2021 deadline. The Trust registration deadline has been extended to some time in the Summer, according to a report by Today’s Wills and Probate.

Last July, the government set a March 2022 deadline for existing trusts to register on the TRS, or to update their records if they had already done so. The transition period had to be an extended one not just because it would take a long time for the millions of UK trusts to register, but also because HMRC had to fundamentally redesign the existing TRS to cope with the expansion.

Trust Registration and the Extended Deadline

Currently, trustees or their agents must register a trust using the Trust Registration Service (TRS) if the trust has been deliberately created by a settlor (it is an ‘express trust’) and it is currently liable to pay any of the following taxes:

  • income tax
  • capital gains tax
  • inheritance tax
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • Stamp Duty Reserve Tax

Some estates also have to be registered if the personal representatives need to complete a Self Assessment Trust and Estate tax return. The Trust registration deadline has now been extended so all Trusts that need to can register in time.

Trust and Inheritance Disputes

The cause of trust and inheritance disputes can vary enormously. However, at the centre of every challenge is a person who believes they are victims of unfair treatment. For instance, trust suffers from improper management. Additionally, the trustees may interpret the intentions of the trust.

People make challenges in a number of ways. For instance, they target the value of the assets within a trust, or there might exist a fundamental disagreement between beneficiaries.

We can help if you:

  • Want to remove a trustee.
  • Disagree with the reported value of assets a trust holds and want to query it.
  • Need to make a claim against a trust for money it owes to you.
  • Want support and guidance on how to best carry out your duties as a trustee.
  • Find that the trust has ambiguous wording, and you want to clarify the structure.

We can also help you if you are considering challenging the terms or the management of a trust if you have yet to register it. We can advise you if you’re unsure whether you have legal grounds to do so. The team at The Inheritance Experts can help you understand your rights and options.

How we Can Help

Here at The Inheritance Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with all manner of Inheritance claims. Contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

Writing A DIY Will

There are many things to consider when writing your Will. Whether to use a professional Will-writing service or write a DIY Will is one of the considerations. If you choose to write your own Will, there are a number of things you must do in order to make sure it is legally valid.

The most important thing that you need to do when writing your own Will is make sure you know what the law requires. If you do not do this correctly, your Will may be invalid or ineffective.

To be valid, a DIY Will, or holograph Will, as it is known in legal terms, must be executed in accordance with the requirements of section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. In this, the Will must be “Signed by the testator (the person making the Will) with the intention of it giving effect to their Will in the presence of two witnesses, who each sign the Will in the presence of the testator.” There are new rules due to the pandemic, which state you may now also use video witnessing for your Will.

You also need to be of sound mid to write your Will. It is important when writing your Will as it proves that what you write in your Will is what you actually want.

You must also make sure that, when you write your Will, you use terminology that is clear and avoids ambiguity in the eyes of the law. The Will must clearly state your wishes and you must use the correct terminology to avoid the Will being found to be invalid.

What Needs to go in a DIY Will?

If you choose to write your own Will, there are a number of things that you must include. These things are:

  • Your personal information (full name, current address, date of birth, details of any children you have and their dates of birth, relationship status)
  • Your estate (the items of value you own, either alone or joint with someone else. This includes property, accounts, stocks and shares, or any foreign property)
  • Any debts
  • Your beneficiaries (including the names and addresses of the beneficiaries)
  • If you wish to leave any gifts to charity
  • Your executors (you can choose one or more than one)
  • Legal guardians for your children (if you have any under 18)
  • Your other wishes (such as Trustees or funeral wishes)

If A DIY Will is Invalid

When a DIY Will is invalid, then the previous Will, if there was one, would be the legal Will. If there is no previous Will, then the Rules of Intestacy come into effect. These rules place family members in order of who should inherit your estate. This order is decided by the law.  It can also lead to lengthy legal disputes for families. So it is vital to make sure that your Will is written exactly how it would be if you used a professional Will-writing service.

How we can help

Here at The Inheritance Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience in dealing with all manner of inheritance cases. This includes issues with DIY Wills. Contact us today by filling in our contact form or by calling us on to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

Mental Capacity and Contesting A Will

For a Will to be legally valid, the person must have the required mental capacity at the time of writing. This is also known as being of sound mind. It is important for the person to be of sound mind to ensure that all of their wishes are carried out the way they want them to be.

Mental capacity and contesting a Will go hand in hand, as, if the person did not have the mental capacity to make their Will, then it is one of the stronger reasons to contest the Will. If you believe that they did not have the mental capacity to make or change their Will, then you may be able to contest the Will.

What is Mental Capacity?

Mental capacity, also known as testamentary capacity, means that the person must have the mental ability to understand what they are doing. They must also understand the impact that this will have on their estate and beneficiaries.

Because a lot of people make or change their Will later in life, they can have problems with mental capacity. It can be affected by many conditions and injuries.

Mental Capacity Examples

One of the most common diseases that may affect a person’s mental capacity is Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s Disease is known to affect the brain, and memory. So if a loved one was suffering Alzheimer’s, there is a chance that they may not have been of sound mind when the Will was written. Another example of a condition that may affect a person’s mental capacity is Dementia. If they were suffering from dementia, for example, you may be able to make a case that the last will is invalid.

Injuries can also affect a person’s mental capacity. Examples of this include brain injuries, which can happen at any point in someone’s life. Serious injuries can also affect mental capacity, as can mental illness.

Mental Capacity and Contesting A Will

There are a few reasons you may be able to contest a Will based on the person lacking mental capacity. These include:

  • If the Will contradicts earlier promises or agreements
  • The Will does not accurately reflect the deceased’s wishes
  • It does not provide for those expected, such as grandchildren
  • You know the deceased was suffering from a condition such as Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia

A mental capacity will contest is one of the stronger cases you can make for contesting a will. This is because when you do, there can be evidence they were not mentally well when the last will was made. In this case, the previous Last Will and Testament would instead be the valid Will.

To prove that the deceased lacked mental capacity when making their Will, a solicitor will get their medical records. They will then work with a medical expert. The medical expert can help determine the state of mind that the person was in when they made or changed their Will. This will help in contesting the Will.

How We Can Help

Here at The Inheritance Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with all manner of inheritance claims. This includes contesting a Will based on mental capacity. Contact us today by filling in our contact form, or by calling us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

Possible Inheritance Tax Increases

There may be Inheritance Tax increases on the way according to a report by the Express. This may be used in the effort to recover the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the proposed tax increases that the Chancellor could potentially be planning.

This tax increase could happen as the UK has once again entered recession, with a 20.4% contraction. There are several taxes that may increase as part of the chancellor’s plan, and inheritance tax is only one of them. We will therefore be keeping a close eye on what the chancellor says regarding this subject.

Inheritance Tax Increases

Inheritance Tax is an important factor when you are writing your Will. The current rules of inheritance tax are as follows:

  • There is usually no inheritance tax to pay if the value of your estate is below the threshold, which is currently £325,000.
  • You also do not need to pay if you leave everything above the £325,000 threshold to your spouse, civil partner, charity, or a community amateur sports club
  • Inheritance tax has a rate of 40%. This is only charged on the part of your state that is above the threshold.
  • If you donate more than 10% of the value of your estate to charity in your Will, then the inheritance tax may reduce to 36%.
  • When you leave your home to your children, stepchildren, adopted or fostered children, or grandchildren, the threshold for Inheritance Tax may increase to £500,000.

Some gifts that you give whilst you are still alive may also be taxed. This depends on when you gave the gift and what it states in your Will.
These may also rise in the potential new rates that the chancellor is considering, and it may affect you and your Will in different ways.

What the Inheritance Tax Increases May Mean for You

We do not know what the plan is for inheritance tax yet, and we also do not know when these rules may come in to force. However, they could affect a lot of people. The increases are likely to mean that your loved ones get less than you would like when you die. This is why it may be essential to speak to a legal expert to see what your options may be. There may also be changes to the threshold, which could also affect your Will.

Whilst there may not be anything you can do about the Inheritance Tax increases if and when they do happen, seeking legal advice may help you to understand the whole process of inheritance. It may also help you understand what the increase can mean for inheritance.

How We Can Help

Here at The Inheritance Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience in dealing with all manner of Inheritance matters. Contact us today by filling in our contact form, or call us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

LPAs During the Pandemic

COVID-19 has undoubtedly had an impact on everything in our lives. Making Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs) during the pandemic was an aspect that the government needed to address. This is because the subject of Wills and other legal documents is likely to be on people’s minds during this time.

Why LPAs Are Important

A Lasting Power of Attorney document is a document which allows you to appoint people to make decisions for you. This is if you lose the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of LPA; a property and financial LPA and a health and welfare LPA. They are both important, as they allow people you trust to make decisions on your behalf regarding your finances, property, where you want to live, and how you would like to be cared for should you lose mental capacity.

Many people think that if they lose mental capacity, then their Next of Kin can make decisions for them. Unfortunately, that is not the case. If you do not have an LPA set in place, then your family have to go through a long application process for someone to be appointed your deputy. In this case, the law will choose someone to be the Deputy, so it is important that you have chosen someone already.

Changes in Making LPAs During the Pandemic

We reported earlier in the year when the government temporarily made video witnessing for Will writing legal due to the pandemic. This change will last for two years. The change was also backdated to include any Wills written from January 2020. Unfortunately the same rule is not in place for LPA documents, which has left a lot of people unable to make LPAs during the two lockdowns.

There have, however, been some changes when the lockdown restrictions lift. According to the government’s website, you can now make the documents. The LPAs can now be witnessed in a safe, socially distanced manner. This is in accordance with the tier guidelines that are currently in place up and down the country.

Rise in People Making LPAs During the Pandemic

There has been a rise in people making Wills due to the pandemic, and many of these people are also making LPAs. This is likely due to people now thinking about getting their affairs in order. The pandemic has affected many areas of our lives. So people are now focusing on making sure that they take care of everything the way they would like.

This rise has led people to start seeking out legal advice when it comes to making their LPAs. We may be able to help if you are also looking to get your affairs in order.

How We Can Help

Here at The Inheritance Experts, we work with solicitors who deal with all manner of inheritance cases. This includes Lasting Power of Attorney documents. They have years of experience dealing with inheritance matters. Contact us today by filling in our contact form, or call us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

Rise in Making A Will due to the Pandemic

Before the pandemic, less than half of UK adults had made a Will. This has since risen during COVID-19, with a rise in enquiries concerning making a Will of 75% since the start of the pandemic. The Financial Times reported in March that some law firms saw enquiries double in the first few weeks of lockdown.

This is no surprise as the worry of losing a loved one has been at the front of many minds during the pandemic. Many people may have also thought about making sure they care for their loved ones should something happen to them. Thus leading more people to think about making a Will.

Making A Will During the Pandemic

We reported back in August that video Will practices have now been made legal. This is a temporary measure until January 2022. This refers to the fact that it is now legal to have a witnessing of a Will made by video, by two witnesses. The video will witness news comes amidst an effort to limit the necessity of in-person witnessing of wills due to social distancing precautions. The temporary measures include any Will written from 31st January 2020

There are certain rules to this temporary amendment of the law. These rules include:

  • Making sure the audio and video are both clear
  • Ensuring that the witnesses can actually see them signing the Will
  • There must be a clear line of sight of the Will
  • Treat this option as a last resort

There are also some exclusions from the temporary change. You can find out more information about the temporary rules here.

Rise in Gifts Left to Charity in Wills

Not only has their been a rise in people making a Will, more people have been donating to charity in their Wills. This could be thanks, in part, to people like Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised over £33 million for the NHS during the first lockdown. People wanting to remember a charity that means a lot to them could be another contributing factor.

We have written previously about leaving gifts to charity in Wills, and, with many charities having to pause or stop their work due to lockdown or restrictions, they may now need donations more than ever.

There are statistics that state that, during lockdown, the amount of money left in Wills as legacy donations surged to £35 million. This is compared to around £4 million previously. This is a positive step, as charities rely heavily on legacy donations to continue the work that they do.

How We Can Help

Ultimately, people want to make sure that they care for their loved ones after they die. This is the main reason that many people choose to make a Will. Here at The Inheritance Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with all manner of enquiries. This includes enquiries about Wills. Contact us today by filling in our contact form, or by calling us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly, knowledgeable advisors.

A Brief Guide to Trust Wills

A Trust Will is one of the three main types of Will that you can make. They provide an extra level of protection of your assets for the people you want to leave something to.

When is a Trust Will Used?

A Trust is a legal structure that you can include as part of your Will. They are most seen in circumstances such as:

  • Where you wish to protect your estate against possible future care fees
  • When you have a spouse or partner, but have children from a previous relationship
  • When you wish to leave some of your estate to a vulnerable or disabled person

Types of Trust Wills

There are three types of trust Will. These are property Wills, life interest Wills, and discretionary Wills.

Property

A property trust Will can help you if you have a property which you wish to protect for future generations. It can guarantee who benefits from your property if your surviving partner remarries after you die, or if they write a new Will after your death. It can also help reduce the potential impact of future residential care fees on a home.

Anyone who owns property with someone else can have a property trust Will. This is true whether they are married, unmarried or in a civil partnership.

Life Interest

A life interest trust Will can help if you have significant investments or assets as well as property which you wish to protect for future generations. It can guarantee who benefits from cash assets and investments if your partner remarries after your death, or writes a new Will after your death. It also allows you to pick a nominated person to benefit from the income generated from your investments if you die, whilst also protecting the capital value.

Anyone who holds cash assets and investments who wishes to take care of a nominated person, but also help protect the value of investments for a specific person can have a life interest trust Will.

Discretionary

A discretionary trust Will can help if you wish to appoint trustees to manage the inheritance of vulnerable people in your Will. It can guarantee that there is someone to help any vulnerable people manage their inheritance. It also reduces the potential risk of their inheritance compromising their state benefits.

Anyone who wishes to leave inheritance to loved ones who lack the mental or physical capacity to look after their own affairs, loved ones who have a disability and run the risk of their benefit entitlement being compromised, or loved ones who are in a vulnerable position can have a discretionary trust Will.

Trust Will Disputes

Unfortunately, there are situations where a trust Will may be disputed. This can happen when one of the trustees misinterprets the intentions of the trust, for example. If you want to challenge a Trust, then talk to The Inheritance Experts, as we may be able to help.

Here at The Inheritance Experts, we know how important it is for people to get their Will in correct order. If you are looking for advice on Wills, contact us today by filling in our contact form, or by calling us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

George Michael: Ex is Reportedly Suing His Estate

A recent report by The Mirror states that Kenny Goss, the ex of George Michael is suing his estate. He states that he did not believe George was of sound mind when he made his last will in 2013. He also states that, because he was financially dependent on George for the 13 years they were together, that provisions should have been made for him in the star’s will. If you have experienced something similar, then you may be able to make a claim.

George Michael Case: Mental capacity

Goss states that he believes George Michael lacked mental capacity when writing his last will. Sadly, this case is all too common nowadays, with the rise in diseases such as Dementia. Due to this, there are often cases where the person may not have had the mental capacity to write a will. If you have experienced something similar, then you may be able to make a claim.

We have written before about legitimate will disputes. Contesting a will based on lack of mental capacity is one of the cases you can make. This is important if there is strong evidence that the person was not mentally well enough when the last will was made. In this case, the previous will would be the valid one. In the example of George Michael, as with others, the will may be invalid.

However, you must provide proof that the person was not of sound mind, or lacked the mental capacity. So we recommend that you contact us to see if you are able to make a claim.

George Michael Case: Financial dependence

There are also provisions that can be made in a will to those who are financially dependent on the deceased. In the George Michael example, Goss is claiming that he was financially dependent on the star during their time together. Because of this, he believes provisions should have been made in the will for him.

Under The Provision for Family and Dependants Act, people who are financially dependent on the deceased may be able to make a claim if they were left out of the will. Certain factors will be taken into consideration, these are:

  • The age of the dependents
  • The nature and duration of the relationship with the deceased
  • Their expected quality of life if the person were still alive

In the case of George Michael’s ex, he can argue that, because George provided for him financially when they were together, that this provision should continue. He also states that and that he gave up his career to look after George during their relationship. If you were financially dependent on someone, and they passed away not leaving adequate funds for you, which you need, then you may also be able to make a claim.

How We Can Help

Here at The Inheritance Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience in dealing with Inheritance claims. This includes claims where the person did not have the mental capacity to make a will. It also includes claims for dependents. Therefore, this means that they are extremely well placed to help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to. Contact us today by filling in our contact form, or by calling us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

The Role of Mediation in Contesting A Will

Mediation is a very important tool in inheritance cases. Due to the sensitive nature of a lot of cases involving inheritance, it provides a level of care in what can sometimes lead to a very messy situation.

What is mediation?

Mediation is defined as intervention in a dispute in order to resolve it. In legal cases, it is a procedure in which the parties discuss their disputes with a trained impartial third party, who assists them in coming to an agreement, or settlement. This often happens out of court and therefore can make the process of contesting a will much swifter. It is also less formal than a court setting, which can be daunting.

What are the benefits?

  • Cost- The process of mediation still involves costs, including solicitors and mediators’ fees. These costs, however, are very likely to be significantly lower than the cost of going to trial.
  • Time- you can start mediation at any point during the proceedings. It happens out of court, meaning that it can save the time it takes to go through a trial.
  • Effectiveness- mediation is effective in 80% of cases.
  • Control- in mediation, the parties involved have more control in the outcome of a case. The main part of mediation is negotiation, whereas in court, this will be decided by a judge.
  • Confidentiality- The discussions involved in mediation are completely confidential. This does not happen in a court, and the settlement agreement will include a confidentiality clause. This keeps the terms of the settlement confidential.
  • Preserving relationships- in inheritance cases, you are far more likely to have a personal relationship with the other parties, or at least know them. As mediation is a means of negotiation, you are far more likely to be able to keep a relationship with the other people involved.

The process of mediation

The process can be as short as half a day. The parties involved agree on an independent mediator and venue in which to have the mediation. At the mediation, each party usually has their own room, where they discuss their views. The mediator will then go between the two to discuss what the other has said. The mediator will then work with the parties to come to an agreement that is suitable for all involved.

If the parties fail to come to an agreement during the mediation, then neither party can bring anything forward to the court case. It is free from prejudice, and the mediator will not discuss anything with the other party that they have not been authorised to say.

Mediation is less stressful than a court case. It allows you to voice your opinion and be heard, but in a less formal environment than a court room. Will cases particularly suit this method, as the parties discuss subjects that are sensitive. While there is more of an element of compromise, you will usually receive a settlement that is more favourable than one you would receive in a court. You will also be more actively involved in the settlement that you get.

We know that mediation may not always work, and some cases will end up having to go to court. The solicitors we work with are experts in settling matters both in and out of court. Contact us today by filling in the form or calling us on 0161 413 8763 to speak with one of our friendly expert advisors about your potential claim.

GUIDE: When is Probate Not Necessary for the UK?

The following guidelines can help to answer one frequently asked question we face: “When is probate not necessary in the UK?” However, we won’t spend too much time consuming the details of this question, either. That’s because, in effect, probate is required primarily when there is a piece of property in question.

Suppose you become responsible for the administration of the estate of a recently deceased family member. As a result, you’re also squaring the loss with the prospect of spending a long time stuck in the process of handling a probate’s many ins and outs. 

However, you might be surprised to discover that not all estates must go through formal probate in the first place.

Moreover, some of the testator’s assets – even for small estates – avoid the probate process altogether.

But to apply for a grant of probate on your own without inheritance plan attorneys is foolhardy and ill-advised. In truth, you should always speak with a capable probate attorney. Especially before reaching the conclusion that an estate doesn’t have to go through probate.

When is Probate Not Necessary? Some Examples

Yet we’ll explore these matters, and other parts of the estate, as well as we, guide you through whether probate is necessary in certain situations.

Joint Tenancies

In short, you do not need probate with regard to jointly owned property. Effectively, probate is excluded regarding those scenarios in which property in the estate is owned as beneficial joint tenants. By law, such property will automatically become wholly in the possession of the other owner.

As a result, there’s nothing to sort out through any probate courts – on the face of it.

There’s one critical exception, however: If there remains a mortgage on the jointly owned property in question.

Joint Tenancy vs. Tenants in Common

It’s worth noting the importance of a difference between joint ownership and tenants in common. Truthfully, whether a property is held as joint tenants or as tenants in common makes a difference to what happens to the property on the death of a joint owner. Be sure to speak your solicitor about this when it comes to estate planning, inheritance tax and letters of administration.

Joint Bank Account

You might sense a theme here: jointly-owned entities tend to be free from any need to apply for probate. Such is the case regarding bank accounts with beneficial joint owners. In essence, a joint bank account becomes entirely the asset and dominion of the remaining joint owner.

The rule of survivorship is the guiding principle on what happens to a joint bank account in the event of someone’s death. There is a couple of conditions, however, to consider.

  • In essence, it must be safe to assume that all monies that the deceased joint owner contributes will automatically be part of his/her estate in the first place.
  • Alternatively, probate or letters of administration might become necessary if other assets are not jointly owned.

The surviving account holder, in turn, holds all the cards in taking full ownership. To wit, they can simply show the bank/building society the death certificate of the other joint owner. Accordingly, the bank transfers the account into the survivor’s name.

It’s worth noting that exceptions to this might be if both joint owners come to an agreement to do otherwise.

Certain Types of Life Insurance

Indeed, some kinds of life insurance may also be exempt from probate laws. Citizens Advice advises that some life insurance policies can pay out the remainder of the outstanding balance regarding a mortgage, too.

If there is a mortgage on the property, there might be a life insurance policy, an endowment policy, or mortgage protection policy which will pay the outstanding mortgage if the person with the mortgage dies. In this case, you should write to the company, asking for a final statement.

Moreover, such scenarios might lead to the sale of the property and that which comes with such a major change. If that does occur, the mortgage is covered out of the sale of the property.

The Amount of Money in the Estate is Small

Now is where things tend to get a little bit more tricky. Smaller estates, in terms of the monies up for grab, do not tend to require probate either.

One huge factor affecting this might lie in funeral planning and other burial costs. These, in turn, can affect the size of the remaining money still part of the estate.

After the funeral expenses have been paid, the amount of money remaining is under a certain amount. Therefore, those controlling the estate (that is, banks and building societies) might be ready to release it to you without requiring the need to apply for probate or letters of administration. In effect, it’s quicker (and simpler) for them to just do this than to go through the entire probate process.

Also, some banks and building societies will release money needed to pay for a funeral, probate fees and inheritance tax.

From one estate to the next, however, please note that what constitutes a “small amount of money” will vary. As a result, it’s difficult to set a benchmark as to what constitutes “small.”

Insolvent Estate

In the tradition of the small money estate, the insolvent estate is also rather precarious. Effectively, in this scenario, you discover that the estate is insolvent. As a result, there is not enough money in the estate to pay all the debts, taxes and expenses.

This potentially devastating effect on the estate’s viability also doesn’t require the pursuit of probate.


Need to find when probate is not necessary? Call us!

Contact The Inheritance Experts if you’re considering contesting probate or the respondent in a probate dispute. We listen to your story and offer capable legal advice on whether you have ground to contest probate. If that is the case, we’ll be glad to show you the proper way to proceed with your claim.

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