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My spouse is disposing of assets: Can I stop him?

Running-Away-with-Mone_20210715-153207_1

All too often does a client present to us concerned that their spouse is disposing of matrimonial assets. It might be that they have cashed in a policy with a view to going on a spending spree or perhaps they have transferred funds to a third party.

The law can offer relief in such circumstances. First there needs to be a petition on foot. Second there needs to be a financial application in Form A made. One can normally only file a Form A when one has undergone a mediation and information assessment meeting. However, there is an exemption where the case needs an urgent hearing.

Under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, section 37, one must satisfy the court that the other party intends to defeat the claim for financial relief. The section enables an applicant to restrain anticipated dealings that may defeat the applicant’s financial claim. The court may also set aside a reviewable disposition.

Can I get an order urgently? This can happen without notice only in limited circumstances in emergency cases or where there is a real risk that if the respondent is tipped off they will take steps to defeat the court’s order.

The injunction order made by the court must set out clearly what the respondent can and cannot do. The court may make whatever order is necessary to protect the claim including a freezing injunction.

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Inheritance Tax - Deed of Variation

will-pic-1 Tax Planning - Deed of Variation

Well- informed beneficiaries of an estate will know of the wonders of beneficiaries varying the terms of a Will after death to legitimately save tax; as ever, knowing something exists and having a fully operational understanding of a law are two entirely different things; Take this neat example of a saving that can be made since George Osborne's introduction of the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) in 2015 and which is currently a £150,000 allowance (and come 5th April will reach its maximum of £175,000):-  In his will Testator gave his £300,000 home to his unmarried cohabitee and £300,000 cash to son.  Whoops! Total estate £600,000 and Inheritance Fax of £110,000 payable (being 40% of £275,000 (£600,000-£325,000 being Nil Rate Band (NRB).
Foster Harrington would advise the two beneficiaries to alter the will by a Deed of Variation switching the two gifts. Why? The RNRB is only available to lineal descendants of the deceased; the son is one such and the co-habitee isn't!  By switching gifts the RNRB is fully utilised and the Inheritance Tax payable is reduced from £110,000 down to £50,000 (£60,000 being 40% of £150,000 RNRB)  Deeds of Variation are technical and have options taking into account Inheritance Tax with or without Capital Gains Tax implications . We have specialised in such documents since the 1980s and are well-positioned to save inheritance tax for the familyIt is worth noting that wills should be revisited periodically ( every 5-10 years and certainly after a major Inheritance Tax change like the introduction of RNRB).   In addition wrinkles and qwerks from new legislation appear gradually and we are on top of all such developments for you.  

Well- informed beneficiaries of an estate will know of the wonders of beneficiaries varying the terms of a Will after death to legitimately save tax; as ever, knowing something exists and having a fully operational understanding of a law are two entirely different things; Take this neat example of a saving that can be made since George Osborne's introduction of the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) in 2015 and which is currently a £150,000 allowance (and come 5th April will reach its maximum of £175,000):-  In his will Testator gave his £300,000 home to his unmarried cohabitee and £300,000 cash to son.  Whoops! Total estate £600,000 and Inheritance Fax of £110,000 payable (being 40% of £275,000 (£600,000-£325,000 being Nil Rate Band (NRB).

Foster Harrington would advise the two beneficiaries to alter the will by a Deed of Variation switching the two gifts. Why? The RNRB is only available to lineal descendants of the deceased; the son is one such and the co-habitee isn't!  By switching gifts the RNRB is fully utilised and the Inheritance Tax payable is reduced from £110,000 down to £50,000 (£60,000 being 40% of £150,000 RNRB)  Deeds of Variation are technical and have options taking into account Inheritance Tax with or without Capital Gains Tax implications . We have specialised in such documents since the 1980s and are well-positioned to save inheritance tax for the familyIt is worth noting that wills should be revisited periodically ( every 5-10 years and certainly after a major Inheritance Tax change like the introduction of RNRB).   In addition wrinkles and qwerks from new legislation appear gradually and we are on top of all such developments for you. 

 

 

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Conveyancing and Potential Fraud

fraud alert Potential Fraud

Everyone is increasingly aware of fraud potential anytime we transact online; Some clients and solicitors have been duped and entire sale and purchase monies have ended up in the fraudsters bank account (from whence it immediately disappears abroad never to return!) Often the scam centres on a last minute change of bank account details.

We at Foster Harrington can help to avoid this potential scam by 1. Confirming at outset to our clients and all relevant parties that we will not be changing our bank account details (which have remained the same since 1983) 2. Confirming at outset to clients that full Identity and account  details must be presented to us in person by the client and no account details of the client can be changed unless and until a client physically attends at our offices with all the appropriate new documentation .

The above is a demonstration of the failsafe policies we operate at Foster Harrington .

We also have policies in place to help protect you and us from organised crime and other common fraud threats which often centre around impersonation, vulnerable or deceased owners, empty properties etc .

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Court Fees

Court Fees

The controversial hefty increase in the court fees has been delayed as Brexit squeezes the life out of everything and there has been no time for it to be approved by Parliament;   the proposed increase is controversial (and very possibly illegal) as it clearly would be a massive revenue-earner (and therefore constitutes a tax);  fees are supposed to relate merely to the cost of providing the service.

Potential higher fees can be avoided by applying for Probate now at the current (very reasonable) fee level.

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Wills & Probate - Digital Assets

bitcoin-activity-computer Digital Assets

We all don't like the idea of dying and certainly not the idea of dying now.

The Boss of a crypto-currency exchange died suddenly in 2018 giving no digital keys to his crypto-assets and over £100 million has therefore been lost .

That is exceptional but each of us  should keep a safe record of how our online assets are accessed We can help you think practically about the management of your estate digital and otherwise.

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Keep your Will safe and choose Executor wisely

The perils of depositing your Will with a lay executor were highlighted in case of Tessa Amstell deceased reported November 2018; in 2009 the deceased made her Will gifting her bungalow to her nephew, making gifts to charities and appointing her niece as executor; When the deceased died in 2011 the niece couldn't find the Will.

The bungalow was left vacant until the local council asked heir hunters to get involved; they tracked down lots of relatives, took out a Grant and started dealing with the administration including selling assets and taking money until finally stopped by the Court; imagine the stress and the costs - reputedly £250,000.

Morals of the tale -

  1. For a modest fee have your Will done properly by your solicitor who should keep it safe and to your order (in the firm's safe!) for no extra charge.
  1. Appoint your Executors wisely - generally either the main residuary beneficiary if the estate is simple or your solicitors, if the administration requires legal expertise (which it frequently does and always does when Inheritance Tax is involved).
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30 Minute Free Consultation

UP-OFFICE-MEDIUM 30 Minute Free Consultation

Take advantage of our offer of a free half hour consultation at our offices for Family and Matrimonial , Wills , Probate.   We also offer a free initial half hour conveyancing consultation at our offices on the proposed transaction should this be of interest to you. 

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