This week, the SRA has announced as part of its “Looking to the Future” programme that it will widen the areas of law where firms will have to publish their prices, as well as what those fees cover, online. The areas affected are probate, motoring offences, immigration, debt recovery of amounts up to £100,000, and employment tribunals. Firms will have just 6 months to comply with the new requirement. The SRA stated, “Our ‘Better Information, more Choice’ reforms are designed to improve public access to legal services by making information on price, protections and services more easily available.”
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has also recently announced that it will instruct its members to publish their fees on their websites, along with whether they have any referral arrangements, as part of a drive to improve transparency and choice for consumers.
Being asked to be the executor of a friend or family member’s estate is an honour but also a major responsibility, as you could face a charge for hundreds of thousands of pounds if you make a mistake.
By Harvey Jones
The danger has come into focus after executor Glyne Harris was ordered to pay £340,000 to HM Revenue & Customs from his own
Mr Harris passed on proceeds from the £1.2million estate assuming the beneficiary would pay any IHT due, but instead they disappeared to Barbados with the money.
Once you have agreed to be an executor you cannot back out, so make sure you understand your responsibilities in full.
Q: My ex-husband and I divorced five years ago; we have one daughter aged eight who lives with me. Things are amicable, up to a point. I have been offered a fantastic new job that would allow me to provide our daughter with a much better life, but it would mean moving about 40 miles away. The new area has better schools and housing stock, and our overall life would be improved as there are excellent facilities in the new town. However, my ex is adamant he can stop me moving – can he?
A: Congratulations on the job offer and for having kept matters amicable for such a long time. In short, no, he can’t prevent you from moving, but he could seek a Prohibited Steps Order to stop you taking your daughter out of the area you currently live in. This would be a rather extreme step to take, and the Family Court would have to be convinced that the move to the new town would not be in your daughter’s best interests.
The myth of common-law marriage is one that persists year after year.
There are now more than 17.5% of families in the UK where the parents are not married but cohabitating, and with cohabitation rising from 1.5 million couples in 1996 to 3.3 million couples in 2016 (according to figures from the Office of National Statistics), there has never been a greater need to dispel the common-law marriage myth than there is now.
Despite the long-running myth, many cohabitating couples do believe that, if they live together for a certain number of years, they will be afforded the same legal protection as a married couple and that the law will recognise their relationship as a marriage. However, this isn’t true, and cohabitating couples have no automatic entitlement to make a claim on each other’s assets should the relationship end.
With the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel only hours away, wedding fever is high. Planning the big day is a huge focus for many brides and grooms, with cakes, venues, vows, rings, flowers, attendants, and, of course, the dress all being carefully considered and discussed. Love, romance and dreams are very much at the forefront of the minds of the couple, their family and friends.
However, what about more practical issues, such as protecting their personal assets? There are many reasons why couples should have a serious discussion about their individual assets and how they should be shared (or not, as the case may be) should they go their separate ways in the future. Older people who have accumulated property, shares or other wealth during their lifetime or who are marrying for the second, or perhaps third, time have a good reason to ensure that they won’t be left poorer if the worst should happen. Couples where one – or perhaps both – has a significant amount of family wealth, accrued over many generations, or where they are both likely to be very successful in their careers may wish to make sure that they will reap the financial benefits of their own hard work. Even couples who don’t have a significant amount of money may wish to consider making sure that if one of them contributes a much larger amount towards a deposit on a house, the deposit will be returned in full to the payer should they separate at some point in the future.