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13 August 2018

Not many parents are aware that if they have children together and then marry each other afterwards, they are required in law to re-register their children’s births. There has been quite a lot of confusion about this on social media and parents’ forums and groups. Our blog aims to help clear up that confusion. 

The relevant legislation is Section 2 of The Legitimacy Act 1976, which requires parents to legitimise their child after their marriage. This dates back to an age when illegitimate children (those born to unmarried parents) were unable to inherit from their parents. Registering children born before their parents’ marriage means the children would be legally recognised as “children of the marriage” and therefore able to inherit their parents’ estate. 

09 August 2018

The Legal Services Board have now approved proposed new rules by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority which require law firms offering certain service  to publish their fees online.  Those who offer probate, motoring offences, immigration, debt recovery of amounts up to £100,000, and employment tribunals will have to implement these rules in December this year.  

The published fee information must also include details of disbursements, and whether they may be subject to VAT; and details of what is included in the services such as “key stages of the matter and likely timescales for each stage”. The fee information must be displayed in a “prominent place” on the website, and the information must be “clear and accessible”.

The action on transparency follows on from the Competition and Markets Authority’s recommendation in 2016.

07 August 2018

When a loved one has passed away, the very idea of navigating through the probate process can be overwhelming. Ideally, finding the right legal help for probate should be quick and easy so that you have much more time to focus on other matters.

But the process of administering an estate can be long and stressful, and although law firms should be doing all they can to help make the process as straightforward as possible for all their consumers at such a difficult time, the fact is many aren’t, and a lack of transparency in pricing means it is not realistic for a grieving legal customer to easily compare probate quotes while also finding the time to sort out all the other crucial matters involved with the death of a loved one. Recently released statistics have shown this.

New research has shown that clients in need of a probate solicitor are still not shopping around for the best deal on the right legal service for them. The Legal Service’s Consumer Panel’s annual Tracker Survey found that many customers were failing to make good use of the available resources to help them compare prices from many firms, such as comparison websites and customer review websites. One of the survey’s main findings is that the number of consumers who shop around for a legal service continues to remain low, with just 27% of respondents reporting they search the market for the best option. Worryingly, with only 16% comparing prices, probate is an area where customers appear to shop around the least.

31 July 2018

Digital assets are now a part of our everyday lives, such as social media accounts, income-generating Instagram, blogs or YouTube accounts, online-only money accounts, or cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

It is estimated that there are around £25 billion of UK assets which are digital. While most of these are of sentimental value, such as photographs and social media accounts, there are digital assets that are, or have the potential to be, of significant value and provide an income stream for many years to come.  Music, books, commercially valuable photographs and videos are more frequently published online rather than in a physical form such as CDS or paper books and can sell for many years after the creator has died. In addition to the issue of ownership of digital assets after death, there is also the issue of what the owner would wish to happen to his digital assets should he die – for example, closing down social media accounts or retaining a “legacy” page.

25 July 2018

There are many common misconceptions surrounding divorce, here we dispel some of the most common myths.

 

My spouse has cheated so they will receive less of the marital finances as a result.

The fact used in the divorce petition, in this case "adultery", has no bearing on the fair division of marital finances. Only in extreme cases would the behaviour of one spouse affect the financial settlement. While morally it may seem unfair to the non-adulterous party, the Court is primarily concerned with reaching a fair settlement that meets the needs of the spouses and their children and the behaviour of the parties is not judged.

I can’t get a divorce as my spouse won’t agree.

Consent from the respondent isn’t always necessary for a divorce petition to progress.  If you believe your spouse will ignore the petition and not return the acknowledgement of service, don’t panic, as there are still ways in which you can progress the divorce. In most cases, once the respondent understands that they do not have to admit to behaviour cited in the petition, they will eventually cooperate with the process.

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