Legal

Exploring legal issues and topics to help and guide you

06th Jun 2024

Succession and tax planning for high-net-worth families

‘Whether you have built up a portfolio of assets through business activities, savings and investments, or you have inherited a significant wealth, it is important to plan efficiently in order to minimise tax implications,’ says Susan Owens, Senior Partner at Borneo Martell Turner Coulston. To make sure your family are adequately provided for throughout your lifetime and after your death, you should also consider succession planning carefully. It is important to think about how your wealth will pass and any adverse tax effects this will have on your loved ones. When should you consider your estate to be high net worth? ‘High net worth’ or ‘HNW’ is a term which tends to differ from industry to industry and across different organisations. There is no legal definition. HMRC’s high net worth department considers estates that are worth £20 million or more. Meanwhile, professional advisors tend to consider estates that are worth..

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06th Jun 2024

Family mediation: a free choice and often a good one

Discover why family mediation might be your best option with Wilson Browne solicitors. Learn about the benefits of choosing mediation over court battles, understand the process, and find out how it can save you time, money, and emotional stress. For the time being, the Government has ruled out compulsory mediation in family cases. As a result those wanting to apply to the Courts to sort out finances within their divorce proceedings, or seeking to set out arrangements for their children in an Order, will still have to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This is subject to certain exemptions, primarily around domestic abuse. Is this a good thing? The Court system is in a dire state with backlogs and delays resulting in a final trial hearing taking a substantial time to reach, with the accompanying significant costs and emotional distress. Alternatives are necessary – and in so many..

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01st May 2024

Providing for a pet in your will

‘Your pets are an important part of your family, but providing for them in your will is not as straightforward as providing for other family members,’ says Shannon Carpenter, a solicitor in the wills and probate team with Borneo Martell Turner Coulston ‘Whilst a cat or dog might be relatively easy to care for, pets such as tortoises, llamas, or horses will likely require specialist care by someone who has sufficient time, knowledge and property to give your pet the care they need.’ Pets do not have a distinct legal personality and are technically belongings, but they sit in their own category between possessions and dependants and need to be considered carefully. This means that you need to leave instructions about them in your will, and any financial provision you want to make for them cannot be a gift to the pet. Leaving instructions about a pet in your will..

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30th Apr 2024

Can I reduce my Council Tax...

Explore the lesser-known Council Tax benefits for disabled individuals with Wilson Browne solicitors. Learn about Disability Band Reduction and Severe Mental Impairment Reduction eligibility and how to apply. Many people are unaware of the different types of benefits they are entitled to if they are disabled or live with someone who is. One that regularly goes unnoticed is Council Tax. Disability Band Reduction If you or someone you live with is disabled, you may be able to apply for a reduction in council tax. You must be able to show that a disabled person lives in the property and that the property has either: An extra bathroom or kitchen for the person who is disabled to use. A room which is predominantly used by the disabled person. For example, a room specifically adapted for the disabled person to use. Sufficient floor space so that the disabled person can use a..

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02nd Apr 2024

How are gifts treated in divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership...

The Government’s 2022 English Housing Survey reported that 27 per cent of first-time buyers used gifts from family or friends to fund their house deposit. With the average deposit now required exceeding £43,000, it is hardly surprising that so many seek the help from their family to get their foot onto the property ladder. Well-intended parents will often gift large sums of money to their adult children without taking any legal advice or having any formal documentation drafted. “As family lawyers, we regularly see sizeable gifts being made by family members to help newly married couples starting out,’ says Connor Williams, a litigation executive in the family team with Borneo Martell Turner Coulston. ‘Difficulties can arise if that marriage or civil partnership later breaks down. The spouse or civil partner whose family have been so generous may expect to see a larger share when it comes to dividing the matrimonial..

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14th Mar 2024

Postponing the sale of the family home when separating

When a couple separates, the value of the family home is often the largest asset that they have to divide, and it can also be the most contentious. This can be for a multitude of reasons, for example, one spouse or partner may feel emotionally tied to the house, or you may be concerned about having to move children from the home they have grown up in. ‘While a clean financial break is normally what separating couples aim for, at times it may be appropriate to consider postponing the sale of the family home. This can be achieved through what is known as a ‘Mesher’ or ‘Martin’ order,’ explains Connor Williams a Litigation Executive in the family team with Borneo Martell Turner Coulston. What is a Mesher order? A Mesher order allows for the postponement of the sale of the family home until either a certain period of time has..

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14th Mar 2024

All’s fair in love and war with Wilson Browne Solicitors

Wilson Browne Solicitors expertly navigate divorce’s emotional and financial complexities. Their team offers clear guidance on asset division and settlements, emphasising transparency and tailored advice. They aim to simplify the divorce process, empowering clients to make informed decisions. This month, they delve into “All’s fair in love and war,” focusing on the nuances of divorce and asset allocation. Divorce can be an extremely stressful experience for many people, involving the inevitable emotional upheaval of ending a long-term relationship, and the practical challenge of securing your future financial situation. Once mediation has been considered, if it’s not possible to agree a financial settlement, divorcing couples are able to make an application to court, as to how any assets should be divided. Disagreements obviously occur regarding how assets should be divided (completely understandable in what can be a stressful and emotionally charged situation) which causes delays to the divorce which in turn,..

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15th Feb 2024

Navigating the costs of selling or buying property in the UK

Wilson Browne Solicitors offer invaluable advice for those embarking on property transactions. Understanding the intricacies of conveyancing fees is vital, whether you’re buying or selling. Their expert team demystifies the process, ensuring clients are well-informed about land registry, stamp duty, and various legal requirements. Emphasizing transparency, they caution against misleading low-cost offers and pledge to provide clear, upfront cost estimates, removing the stress and surprises from property deals. If you’ve just had an offer accepted on a property or are considering selling your home, it’s time to start thinking about conveyancing fees in the UK. Involving a conveyancer in your transaction is crucial for ensuring the smooth and correct transfer of legal ownership and to identify relevant legal issues to avoid any nasty surprises later. A conveyancer will review the relevant title deeds, land registry records, and any other legal documents/public records to ensure your sale or purchase proceeds without..

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15th Feb 2024

Options if your former partner is not complying with a child arrangement order

Facing a breach of a child arrangement order (CAO) after parental separation can be distressing. This article guides on handling non-compliance, from direct communication to court enforcement, and explores the financial implications in such scenarios, with expert legal advice. A child arrangement order (sometimes referred to as a CAO) is a court order which stipulates the contact arrangements for a child following parental separation. This type of court order is normally only needed when parents cannot reach agreement between themselves on what is best for their child. ‘Breach of a child arrangement order can cause distress for a parent, but also results instability for children. At times it can even mean children are not permitted to see one of their parents, so it is important to understand your options when a breach occurs,’ says Connor Williams, a Litigation Executive in the family team with Borneo Martell Turner Coulston. What is..

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14th Feb 2024

Students urged to ‘consider both sides of the story’ to aid careers in law and politic

The importance of having a thorough understanding of both sides of the argument is key to a successful career in law and politics, according to lawyer-turned-MP Michael Ellis. The former Attorney General, who has served as MP for Northampton North since being elected in 2010, was speaking to students during a visit to Northampton College. He delivered a 30-minute talk looking back at his career before fielding questions from law, public services and criminology students. He said: “No matter what side of the debate you are on, whether you are prosecuting or defending, or speaking on behalf of the Government or the opposition, it’s so important to fully understand both sides of the story. That will help you articulate your argument and foresee any flaws in your opponent’s line of reasoning. “Knowledge is power and the more you can learn the better placed you are to present an argument.” Michael..

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09th Jan 2024

Distributing the gifts in an estate after probate

When dealing with the administration of an estate, distributing the gifts is one of the final stages. It is important that executors do not make distributions too soon, to protect themselves and the estate against debts or claims. “Often executors and beneficiaries alike do not realise exactly how many different steps are required to administer an estate, but there are several parts of the process before distribution will be possible,” says Susan Owens, senior partner with Borneo Martell Turner Coulston. “Once you are in a position to make distributions from the estate, there are various considerations that will need to be made.” Beneficiaries Even though you will not be able to distribute the estate until late in the process, you should already have located all the beneficiaries and notified them that they are due to receive items or money from the estate. You must take all reasonable steps to locate..

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09th Jan 2024

Making a Will is one of the most important things you can do

Making a will means you take control of who you leave your possessions and money to when you die. Explore the importance of making a Will with Wilson Browne Solicitors. Learn about the importance of a properly witnessed and signed Will, and the misconceptions about inheritance in the absence of a Will, especially for unmarried couples. Whilst it may not be the most pleasant subject to discuss within your family, making a Will is important. Let’s take a look at some myths relating to Wills. Even if you do not have a Will, you can still specify who you want to inherit your estate once you pass away, as long as you have written it down. Unfortunately this is a Myth. A Will isn’t valid unless it has been witnessed in accordance with Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. This requires the Will to be in writing and signed..

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10th Dec 2023

No Time Like the ‘Present’: Children Arrangements During Christmas

In cases of separated parents, timely discussions about Christmas arrangements are crucial. A leading Family Judge urges using court as a last resort, criticising parents who expect courts to ‘micromanage’ these plans. With a thoughtful approach, Jess Leech of Wilson Browne Solicitors guides parents through the delicate process of creating a harmonious festive period for their children. In situations where parents are separated, every year some parents take advice too late regarding issues about Christmas arrangements. A leading Family Judge provided clear advice that only as a last resort should parties bring any disputes about arrangements for the children over Christmas to Court and was also critical of parents who brought the matter before court expecting it to ‘micromanage’ arrangements. The festive period always comes quicker than expected so start the discussions as soon as possible. This is so that you can identify whether an agreement is likely to be..

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07th Nov 2023

Adultery and divorce advice from Wilson Browne Solicitors

If David Beckham did have an affair, would it be relevant to divorce proceedings? In the spotlight, the Beckham saga raises questions about alleged affairs. Since ‘no-fault’ divorce’s introduction, the landscape has transformed, eliminating the need for blame. Ed Rawlins from Wilson Browne Solicitors unravels the impact and broader implications of these changes on today’s divorcing couples. In a four-part TV series, titled ‘Beckham’, ‘Posh’ addressed the speculation that David allegedly had an affair while he was playing for Real Madrid. The questions is…Did he? Didn’t he? Is there any evidence, or is it all media speculation? Before 6th April 2022 adultery was a fact that could be relied upon to issue divorce proceedings – if it was admitted or there was evidence that it had taken place. However, since then ‘no fault’ divorce has been introduced. The traditional process for divorce entailed one party providing a specific reason for..

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06th Sep 2023

How do we deal with our mortgage during a divorce...

Untangling the emotional threads of a relationship during a divorce is challenging, but unraveling the financial knots, particularly when it comes to shared assets like a home, can feel daunting. The family home, a symbol of shared dreams and memories, suddenly becomes a pressing financial concern. With fluctuations in the economy and the ever-looming cost-of-living crisis, many separating couples find themselves pondering: ‘What happens to our mortgage now?’ Navigating this delicate terrain requires understanding, clarity, and timely advice. Let’s delve into the options and considerations you need to keep in mind. With interest rates and the cost-of-living crisis in the headlines daily, mortgage affordability is a concern for many homeowners, not least for couples who are separating and wondering how this will affect their mortgage arrangements. ‘Most couples prefer to negotiate a clean financial break so that they have no ongoing financial ties, but if you have a joint mortgage,..

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