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Foster Harrington honoured by Cancer Research UK

Avril-Turner---Cancer-Research

We are proud to announce that we have received a Gold Award from Cancer Research UK after facilitating over £1 million from clients pledging a gift in their Will for the charity.

"Gifts in Wills fund over a third of Cancer Research UK's life-saving research" explains Clare Moore, Director of Legacies at Cancer Research.  "We're so grateful to Foster Harrington Solicitors for supporting Cancer Research UK.  Whenever their clients express a desire to support Cancer Research UK Foster Harrington staff act with great sensitivity to explain the different options so individuals and families can make the right choice for their circumstances"

"Cancer Research UK has played a role in developing 8 out of 10 of the world's top cancer drugs, with gifts in wills making a significant contribution to what we can achieve.   Its quite astonishing to think that by simply combining enthusiasm with the highest professional standards Foster Harrington has helped secure over £1 million worth of legacy gifts which will go a long way towards helping our scientists, doctors and nurses to beat cancer sooner"

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Choose your Executors wisely

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Wills and Probate Administration

Choose your Executors wisely; are they competent to deal with all the law and any taxation?    When appointing lawyers are you confident they will deal efficiently and promptly with all matters; the Personal Representatives of the deceased have a legal duty to collect in all the deceased's assets with due diligence and if this takes longer than a year, the burden is on the Personal Representative to show good reason.    

(remember also the duty to pay all debts and all tax due; on occasion the Personal Representatives if they fail to adequately do this, they can be found personally liable for these payments!)

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Inheritance Tax

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The IHT nil rate band is £325,000.   For those of us who are married or in a civil partnership, any unused nil rate band can be passed to our surviving spouse or civil partner, producing a total tax-exempt band of £650,000.

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Important changes to intestacy rules

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The Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 came into force on 1 October 2014.

One of the main principles of the Act was to abolish the life-interest trust of the Spouse established by the Administration of Estates Act 1925. In future therefore, the surviving spouse of an intestate with children will get the £250,000 statutory legacy, the deceased’s personal chattels and half the balance of the remaining estate outright. Children or other descendants share the other half of the balance. Furthermore, the Act provides that the Spouse when intestate without children will in future inherit the whole estate.

These new rules apply even to estranged Spouses or Civil Partners and thus it is even more important for individuals to prepare Wills.

Please note that marriage revokes a Will and therefore if it is a second or third marriage, and a new Will is not prepared, if there are no children, the surviving Spouse on intestacy will take the entire estate.

Please contact Avril Turner for advice on this matter or any other concerning Wills, Probate, Lasting Powers or issues concerning the elderly.

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The risks of DIY probate applications

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Some people believe that by making an application for a Grant of Probate themselves rather than instructing solicitors will save them fees and ensure that the process does not become a lengthy, protracted one.  Very much the opposite.  Servicing your own car would be considered dangerous and the same applies with Probate Law and Tax.  Mistakes by a Personal Representative could be very expensive.  Executors/Personal Representatives are personally responsible to the Estate and the beneficiaries if anything goes wrong. 

Cases abound as Executors being sued by beneficiaries or being personally liable for outstanding tax.  Remember, you do not know what you don’t know.

Dealing with the estate of a loved one is very time-consuming at an emotional time.  The Executors/Personal Representatives have to be willing to invest time to ascertain the extent of the assets and liabilities of the estate to prepare the probate papers and possibly to attend at an interview at the Probate Registry to obtain the Grant of Probate.  Once the Grant of Probate has been obtained they will then need to collect in all the assets and distribute them in accordance with the Will  or Letters of Administration on intestacy.  Clearly there is a risk that certain things will be overlooked, in particular such things as the income tax position of the deceased with HM Revenue & Customs, protecting the Estate from any claims by advertising and minimising any tax payable.

Instructing a solicitor to act on your behalf could actually save the Estate money.  An experienced probate solicitor ensures that the minimum amount of tax on the Estate is paid and the savings can be substantial.  It is possible to prepare a Deed of Variation varying the terms of a Will to ensure that the Will is tax-efficient at the time of death and instructing an experienced probate solicitor ensures not only that the correct tax is paid on the Estate and kept to a minimum but the Estate is protected from any future claims.  We can ensure the most tax-efficient outcome for the Estate meaning that the beneficiaries may actually receive more than if the application was made personally.  Any mistake made by a Personal Representative or an Executor could be a very expensive one and the beneficiaries are entitled to pursue the Executors and Personal Representatives for any loss to the Estate caused by any unnecessary tax payment or failure to carry out a relevant step in the process.

Instructing a probate solicitor is especially important if the Estate is taxable, if the beneficiaries are under the age of 18 or if there is anyone likely to dispute a Will.  Instructing a solicitor will ensure you are advised of any tax saving measures available which will provide a more tax-efficient outcome for the Estate meaning this would be passed on to the beneficiaries.

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Foster Harrington is the trading name of Foster Harrington Solicitors Limited. Foster Harrington Solicitors Limited is a limited company registered in England and Wales (with registered number 08472565) and its registered office is at the above address. It is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA no 599319). VAT Registered No 384 3092 44.

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Foster Harrington Solicitors Limited
22 Park Street, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3PL

Call us on 01276 692233 or email info@fosterharrington.co.uk