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21 September 2016

 In the wake of Brexit, everyone knows that the political world has been in uproar. So much is happening that the spotlight is, understandably, firmly fixed on those entering and exiting the key political roles. But this huge change doesn't just affect politics; what about the further layer upon layer of repercussions resulting from the UK's exit from the EU?

Sadly, some malignant, unseen forces are now at work, taking advantage of the chaos and, unfortunately for the UK, this means that cybercrime is on the rise. If Brexit could be encapsulated in one word, it would be uncertainty and there is a tidal wave of change looming; increases in cybercrime identity theft and financial fraud may slip under the radar - unless we are careful.

20 September 2016

It is that time of the year again, when we see everyone around us with a golden tan and we have just arrived back to the miserable England weather from a fantastic holiday abroad. It is usually around this time of the year when the English think about owning a holiday home abroad and make their dream a reality.

However, so the dream doesn't turn into a nightmare, follow these top tips to make sure that buying a holiday home is plain sailing before you follow your dream. Unfortunately, we have seen far too many households disrupted when clients have chosen to ignore professional advice.

1. Make sure you have a Will in England dealing with your English assets

A Will ensures that your affairs are in order in England and if the worst should happen to you, your loved ones will be looked after.

2. Take advice about your inheritance tax position in England

You should take advice about your inheritance tax position in England and how this interacts with your assets worldwide. For example, someone who is domiciled in England (i.e. born and live in England) he/she is subject to pay inheritance tax on his/her worldwide assets. Each individual in entitled to a Nil Rate Band of £325,000. Anything above this is taxed at 40%! (subject to a few exemptions and reliefs).

3. Take advice about your domicile status

If you are not domiciled in England, you could still be "deemed" to be domiciled here for tax purpose. If this is the case, the inheritance tax rules are different. Individuals domiciled in India, Pakistan, France and Italy can take advantage of a favourable tax treaty and avoid paying additional inheritance tax.

4. Take advice about a Will in the country where you are thinking about purchasing your home

An English Will is not necessarily recognised abroad, so it is imperative that your assets abroad are dealt with under a Will. You should see a local solicitor specialising in this area of law, in the locality that you are thinking of buying your house.

5. Take specialist advice from the country where you are thinking about purchasing your holiday home

You should ensure that you speak to a specialist about your tax affairs. You could be subject to income tax, inheritance tax and capital gains tax abroad and it is important that you familiarise yourself with this before you purchase your property.

The way that you purchase your property could have a huge impact on how you are taxed in the future, so it is important to obtain the correct advice before you sign on the dotted line!

6. Ensure that both countries advisors communicate with each other and your English Will does not revoke your foreign Will and vice versa.

In England it is common to have an opening clause in the Will "revoking all previous Wills", and this could be the case abroad also. If you have two Wills, i.e. one in England and one abroad, it is important that this clause is altered; otherwise you could be left without a valid Will.

 

Contact Oratto on 0845 3883765 to speak with an adviser or use our contact form to arrange a call-back.

 

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20 September 2016

In the last few years, the scale of the problem posed by dementia has become all too clear. According to the most recent statistics, some 800,000 men and women are currently afflicted by the condition, and that number is set to double within the next few decades.

Unsurprisingly, more people are making sensible arrangements should they also lose the capacity to manage their own affairs.

They are making documents giving nominated individuals what is known as Lasting Power of Attorney (or LPAs, for short), allowing decisions to be made on their behalf either about their property and finances or their health and welfare – or, in fact, both. However, such has been the popularity of LPAs that the Office for the Public Guardian (OPG), the body charged with registering them, has admitted struggling to cope.

Figures which my colleagues and I have uncovered show that the number of LPAs has almost doubled in the last two years.

The OPG has claimed that the demand for the documents has outstripped its “ageing technology” and resulted in it taking longer than planned to process them.

As we have discovered, that has resulted in cases in which people have made LPAs setting out their intentions to refuse life-prolonging treatment only to be treated against their wishes. It’s a topic which I’ve spoken to the Daily Telegraph about.

Despite such difficulties, though, there are distinct benefits to making an LPA or ‘living Will’ as they have become known.

They enable someone to have a say in what should happen to them even if they are prevented from exercising full control because of a deterioration in their health.

I have been advising those making LPAs to inform their GPs and hospital consultants so that the documents become part of their medical record, thereby avoiding the potential for confusion and complication.

 

Contact Oratto on 0845 3883765 to speak with an adviser or use our contact form to arrange a call-back.

Click here to return to the main Wills area.

 

20 September 2016

Just over a week has passed since the sudden death of the musical pop icon Prince Rogers Nelson – commonly known as ‘Prince’- and a number of questions have emanated from his death, such as the Purple Rain star’s suspected prior health issues and the cause of his shock passing.

However, one question which resonates most prominently and holds importance over any other centres around the confirmed reports that Prince did not leave a Will and specifically who will inherit his vast fortune, estimated to be worth in the region of $800,000.00 (£551,781.00).

This net worth amount is expected to grow by millions of dollars with the increase in sales of Prince’s music and merchandise following his death. A large catalogue of unreleased music is expected to add to the sizable fortune.

Prince was one of relatively few recording artists to have possessed ownership of his master recordings and his own music publishing and therefore the heir(s) to his fortune will benefit from the future sales of his already issued music.

According to Minnesota law when an unmarried person with no children who dies without a Will, the parents, grandparents and siblings of the deceased inherit their wealth. Prince was pre-deceased by his parents, and half-brother Duane Nelson. He was married and divorced twice and leaves no children behind. It is believed his sister, Tyka Nelson, is his only living full blooded relative. The singer also has five living half-siblings and under Minnesota law surviving half-siblings are treated the same as full siblings, raising the possibility of a drawn-out family battle.

There are rumours that Prince wanted to leave his entire estate to the Jehovah Witnesses. However, to successfully contest the probate of an estate, it must be proved that the plaintiff is entitled to the entire or a portion of the estate by demonstrating that the deceased’s final, express intent was to bequeath what is claimed to the plaintiff. Only by producing a Will, or some other operative legal document, that names the plaintiff as a beneficiary can the plaintiff prove that he or she is entitled to the estate. The deceased’s alleged intent needs to be documented and verifiable.

Tyka has recently filed probate documents with the Carver County District Court in Minnesota, asking the court to name an affiliate of the Bremer Bank in St. Cloud, Minn., as the special administrator, saying that the bank had provided financial services to Prince and had knowledge of his business affairs. What is interesting to note is that the five half-siblings are listed as heirs to Prince’s estate.

Whether Prince intended to leave his estate to his sister and 5 half-siblings equally is a question we will never really know the answer to, one which highlights the importance of executing a valid Will to ensure the administration of your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes.

 

Contact Oratto on 0845 3883765 to speak with an adviser or use our contact form to arrange a call-back.

Click here to return to the main Wills area.

 

20 September 2016

During my involvement with Dementia Awareness Week, I learnt that there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and over 21 million people know someone affected by the condition – that’s 1 in 3 of the population whose lives are touched by this disease. My limited experience of people with dementia told me that they are “sufferers”, lonely and excluded by society.

But then I hear about Dementia Friends. Dementia Friends is a social action movement run by The Alzheimer’s Society that aims to give people an understanding of dementia, and the small things we can all do that could make a difference to people living with dementia in our communities. There are over 1.5 million Dementia Friends already in the UK.

After doing some investigation, I decided to become a Dementia Friend, which changed my understanding of Dementia completely. I learnt that dementia is not a natural part of the ageing process but a disease that attacks the brain. I also learnt that dementia is not just about losing your memory – it can affect any function of the brain. But the most important thing I learnt was that it is possible to live well with dementia. People with dementia are not sufferers, with a few adjustments and more understanding from the community where they live they can continue to live a positive life.

At the end of the session, you are asked how you will put your new knowledge into practice. I committed to become a Dementia Friends Champion, because I want other people to understand more about dementia, as the more of us who know a little bit more, the better life will be for the millions whose lives are touched by the disease.

 

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