Tag: wills and trusts

The importance of Wills for Cohabiting Couples

January 6, 2021, By

When it comes to the law, married or civil partnered couples’ rights and inheritance rules tend to make much more sense. Often, couples who live together, or ‘cohabiting couples’, can assume that their estate will be passed onto their partner after their passing. Sadly, this is not always the case, even if they have been living together for decades.

In this blog, we explain legal rights of cohabiting couples when it comes to wills and estate planning. We highlight the importance of watertight wills for couples who live together, so that your loved ones are looked after as you wish in the future.

It may feel slightly morbid to think about making provisions for after your death. In reality, planning now can help you to rest assured that your loved ones will be cared for and supported without going through difficult disputes with family members in future.

“Common Law Spouse”

There remains a myth that people who have lived or been together for a longer period of time are entitled to more. Unfortunately, this is not true. Legal rights for cohabiting couples are the same whether they have lived together for one year or one decade.

For long-term cohabitees, especially when there are children involved from a current or previous relationship, it is vitally important to make a will that explains exactly which people you want your assets distributed between.

In a worst case scenario, a partner may not get a penny from an estate with it all being inherited by a sibling or child. This is why a will must be created for cohabiting couples, no matter how long they have been together.

Inheritance Tax

Another area where unmarried couples can often lose out is inheritance tax (IHT). Did you know that people who are married or registered civil partners do not have to pay any Inheritance Tax on assets or gifts left to them by their spouse?

There remains no exemption for cohabiting couples.

Where assets exceed a value of £325,000, IHT is paid at 40% on anything above the threshold. Intelligent planning of your assets to best fit within the threshold may be one valuable way in which you can avoid heavy taxation on assets in death.

Click here for further guidance on inheritance tax planning.

When creating a robust will, we can talk you through the best approaches to IHT planning to suit your circumstances. This can help you to save a significant amount of money in the long run.

Laws of Intestacy in UK

Simply put, rules of intestacy come into action when someone dies without a will.

Under these rules, unmarried couples have no right to inherit when someone dies with no will in place. This should be warning enough to get a will written at the earliest opportunity!

  • Where both partners own a home as ‘joint tenants’, the property will be passed onto the other person upon death. If however, you are ‘tenants in common’, it is not automatically assumed that one half of the property will be passed onto the other partner. If you and your partner are looking to buy a house in the near future, this is a key consideration.
  • If you share a joint bank account, the money on death will pass to the surviving co-owner.
  • If you are divorced or have had your civil partnership dissolved, your ex cannot inherit under rules of intestacy
  • Children can inherit different amounts of the estate in different circumstances. Depending on the complexity of the family situation, they could inherit it all without any going to a cohabiting partner. Children can also often be favoured over a legally married or civil partnered spouse.

With all this in mind, making arrangements for whom your estate will be split between is crucially important to avoid upset and lengthy, costly disputes in the future.

Revoked Wills

When cohabiting couples marry or form a civil partnership, any will already in place is revoked. In most straightforward circumstances, this works well.

If, however, there are any children from a previous relationship involved, any will written in the past is eradicated upon marriage.

In order to ensure that all of your loved ones are catered for, it is so important to update your will immediately after marriage, or even prior, ‘in contemplation’ of marriage.

Lots of Considerations

We are well aware that there is a lot to take in, here. We hope to have highlighted how vital it is to create a thorough will, and to update it in line with any changes to your life or family setup.

What may seem overwhelming in the first instance, our expert team will explain in terms that are easy to understand. We’re here to help you make the best provisions for your loved ones, so you can rest assured that you will receive the highest quality guidance when it comes to estate planning.

Our wills, trusts and probate team comes extremely highly recommended by clients on Review Solicitors. Read some of our reviews here.

If you would like to speak with our team, please call us on 0161 969 3131 or fill in our confidential contact form and one of the team will be in touch.

Legal Services for people with disabilities, and their families

November 24, 2020, By

We have a breadth of services available to assist people with disabilities and their families. From planning for the future and getting finances in order, to personal injury claims, our cross-departmental team of legal experts can offer expertise and guidance. We will be with you every step of the way.

A snapshot of services for people with disabilities and those who have suffered significant injuries

Scroll through a selection of our services which may be helpful. This resource was used for a Disability Awareness Day we exhibited at recently. We thought we ought to share it with a broader audience so that people with disabilities and those who have suffered significant injuries can find legal services in one place.

– Court of Protection

Many people don’t know where to start when it comes to protecting their, or a loved one’s, finances whilst in care.

  • Who is managing the property & finances?
  • Has a full financial assessment been carried out?
  • Are the right benefits being claimed?

We can help.

At Slater Heelis, we have a dedicated Court of Protection team, which includes two Court appointed Panel Deputies, who can take on cases where a financial Deputy is required.

As Court of Protection specialists, the Private Client department act on behalf of people with disabilities or individuals who lack sufficient mental capacity to make important decisions for themselves. They will manage day-to-day financial affairs to ensure the protection of short and long-term care needs.

– Wills, Trusts & Power of Attorney

Our friendly experts can help with:

  • Court of Protection Applications
  • Acting as your Attorney, Deputy or Trustee
  • Financial planning & management, including trusts
  • Liaising with the Local Authority on your behalf
  • Power of Attorney
  • Tax planning
  • Wills

View our full range of Private Client services here.

– Birth Injury Claims

If you, your partner, or child has suffered an injury during the birth process then it is crucial to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

Many people know all too well that injuries during birth may be life-changing and require long-term, or lifetime, care, assistance and rehabilitation. This can apply to either the mother or the child.

While we can adapt to the circumstances we find ourselves in, there may be scope for compensation from a legal perspective.

Our experienced team of birth injury solicitors will work hard to secure an effective treatment plan, and ensure your family can focus on the most important aspects of physical and psychological recovery. For further peace of mind, you can rest assured in the knowledge that you will be dealing directly with a personal injury lawyer, not a junior.

Plus, the team operates on a no win, no fee basis. They will only take on cases with a strong chance of success.

– Brain Injury Claims

When a loved one suffers a brain injury through no fault of their own, families must seek immediate legal advice to safeguard that person’s health and recovery. Our specialist brain injury solicitors are here to support the injured person and their family, and to guide them through the claims process.

Beyond the immediate physical damage, brain injuries put a huge strain on finances, quality of life and family relationships. Our brain injury claims specialists will help to secure you the best possible care and maximise compensation for the injury.

We specialise in coordinating medical assessments, occupational therapy sessions and long-term rehabilitation. Our specialists save families a lot of stress by working directly with insurance companies and serious injury case managers throughout the claim process.

The team also liaises closely with our Court of Protection colleagues to advise on arrangements when a client can no longer make decisions by themselves.

– Clinical Negligence

If you, or somebody close to you, has suffered poor quality treatment at the hands of a medical professional, our clinical negligence solicitors can advise whether you have a claim.

Our clinical negligence solicitors deal with cases involving both the NHS and private sector. They understand how clinical errors and malpractice often put significant strain on families, finances, careers, and home life.

The team will strive to support recovery by helping you access expert analysis and treatment, and take the stress out of the claims process.

After an initial free consultation, we will be able to evaluate the most appropriate action to take. We can assist you with the NHS complaints process or private healthcare claims process covered by ISCAS (Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service), in addition to representation at inquest hearings.

With clinical negligence claims, it is important to act as quickly as possible, preferably within three years of an incident, to ensure we can progress your claim and secure early interim payments where due.

– Serious Injury Claims

If you have suffered a serious injury or illness because of somebody else’s negligence at work, on the road or in a public place, it is very important to get advice and support from a solicitor at an early stage.

Our specialist serious injury solicitors draw on decades of experience in relation to brain, spinal cord and many other serious injury claims when providing a clear assessment of your case and prospects of success.

Naturally, you may be concerned about the financial burden that comes with being absent from work for a prolonged period of time. We work directly with insurance companies to arrange an initial medical assessment, to secure early interim payments and to make sure that Insurers comply with every aspect of The Rehabilitation Code.

Our team puts just as much emphasis on the rehabilitation as it does the compensation. We will ensure you have access to first class medical care from the earliest possible stage.

With our support, you will have access to the physiotherapy, surgery or psychological treatment that can make a significant difference to your health and well-being, as well as the medical reports necessary to support your claim.

Get in Touch

Whether you are looking to speak with a specialist for more information of you know which legal service you require, please do not hesitate to contact us.

You can call us on 0161 969 3131 or fill in our contact form and the team will be in touch.