Will and Probate Solicitors Cardiff and Barry

Creating an effective and valid Will

A Will is an important legal document that allows you to express your wishes as to how your Estate is to be distributed when you pass away.

In order for a Will to be legally valid, it has to meet certain criteria as stipulated in the Wills Act 1837 (as amended). An example of this is section 9 which states that no Will shall be valid unless:

(a) it is in writing and signed by the testator, or by some other person in his presence and by his direction; (b) it appears that the testator intended by his signature to give effect to the will; and (c) the signature is made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time; and (d) each witness either: (i) attests and signs the will; or (ii) acknowledges his signature, in the presence of the testator (but not necessarily in the presence of the other witness), but no form of attestation shall be necessary.

In light of the above, we would always recommend that you instruct a trained and regulated professional to not only prepare the document, but to also oversee its execution. If a Will fails to meet the above criteria then it may be found to be invalid and your Estate may be distributed to individuals whom you did not intend to benefit.

In addition to failing to meet the criteria under the 1837 Act (as amended), it is important that your Will is technically accurate as any misinterpretation or omissions can impact upon the distribution of your Estate. For example, you may wish to include clauses to re-direct gifts should the intended recipient predecease you.

Should you fail to have a valid Will at the date of death, then your Estate will be distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules; it is, therefore, of particular importance to execute a Will if you wish to benefit your unmarried partner or children from a previous relationship.

We here at Passmores Solicitors are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and we adhere to the standards set by the Law Society; meaning you can be confident that any Will drafted by us will accurately reflect your wishes and be legally valid. In addition, Miss Carli Evans (Head of Private Client) is a member of both the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and Solicitors for the Elderly.

For further information on obtaining a Will please contact us on 01446 721 000 or on 029 20 786 618.

Should you be unable to contact us, we have an online Will questionnaire that you can submit; we will then review your requirements and arrange a mutually convenient time to discuss your Will.

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Probate: an overview [by Miss Carli Evans, Partner]

Dealing with a person’s Estate following their passing can be a daunting and stressful experience. There is generally a great deal of paperwork to deal with which can seem even more burdensome mixed with feelings of grief and distress.

This article aims to give you a basic understanding of the Probate process to assist in alleviating the fears of administering an Estate.

The first task is to establish whether the person whom has died has left a valid Will, and secondly, what assets the person held and whether a Grant of Probate would need to be obtained in order to deal with those assets. As well as knowing the extent and the value of the Estate, the liabilities would also need to be established and later discharged from the Estate.

A Will may be held with the Solicitor that drew it up or in a safe custody box with a Bank. A Personal Representative is usually appointed in the Will to deal with the deceased person’s Estate, also known as an Executor. If no Will was held, the position is slightly more complicated. We at Passmores are able to act on behalf of an Executor to carry out this role and responsibility, whether there is a Will or not, and to take steps to protect you against any future liability.

If needed, a Grant of Probate is issued by the Probate Registry which gives the Personal Representative authority to deal with the deceased person’s Estate and allows them to access money held in Banks, Building Society’s or other investments. It also authorises the Personal Representative to sell the deceased person’s home. In respect of small estates of nominal value, sometimes a Grant of Probate is not needed.

Once all funds have been collected in and all commitments have been paid, the Personal Representative may distribute the Estate to the beneficiaries as set out in the Will, or if no Will, then in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy, which we are able to help you with.

The Personal Representative may also have to deal with the payment of Inheritance Tax if the Estate exceeds the current threshold. Recent changes in the law may mean that an Estate can take the benefit of an additional allowance which increases the threshold further, meaning that no or little tax will have to be paid.

Other responsibilities may include defending a claim against the Estate. Our team of experts can assist with this complex process, whether proceedings have been issued at Court or if the dispute is still in its early stages.

If you are an Executor and require advice on administering an Estate, or indeed any of the above issues, then our qualified solicitors with a wealth of experience in this area will be able to properly and comprehensively advise you in a face to face meeting; whether that is at our Barry or Cardiff offices or at another convenient location of your choice.

We at Passmores are also very competitive and unlike others, do not charge a percentage of the estate. We can provide you with a quotation upfront which reflects the work which you would like us to carry out on your behalf.

Passmores offers a sympathetic and efficient service when dealing with Probate and Estate Administration. If you live or work in Barry, Cardiff or the Vale of Glamorgan and would like further information then please call 01446 721 000 and ask to speak to Miss Carli Evans, Head of Private Client, or email direct to ce@passmores.com.

Residential Conveyancing Barry and Cardiff

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014: An overview of a Landlord’s obligations

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (the “Act”) received royal assent on 17 September 2014. The Act deals with a whole range of issues including the private rented sector, homelessness, and the provision of sites for gypsies and travellers.

This article aims to give private landlords a brief overview of their obligations under the Act, as the provisions dealing with the private rented sector are now fully in force.

The Act states that all private landlords who are involved in the letting of a property in Wales must register themselves and their property with Rent Smart Wales; this is the designated licensing authority for private landlords for the whole of Wales and is hosted by Cardiff Council. At the time of writing, landlord registration costs £33.50 if completed on-line, and £80.50 if completed via a paper application. A landlord’s registration lasts five years, after which time they must re-register. A landlord who fails to register commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine.

In accordance with section 6 of the Act, a private landlord that self-manages their property must be licensed to carry out letting activities. As such, without a licence, a private landlord should not:

(a) Arrange or conduct viewings;
(b) Gather evidence for the purpose of establishing the suitability of prospective tenants;
(c) Prepare / arrange the preparation of a tenancy agreement; or
(d) Prepare / arrange the preparation of an inventory for the property or schedule of condition of the property.

A landlord who self manages and is not licensed to carry out letting activities commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine.

In accordance with section 7 of the Act, a private landlord that self-manages their property must be licensed to carry out property management activities. As such, without a licence, a private landlord should not:

(a) Collect rent;
(b) Be the principal point of contact for the tenant in relation to matters arising under the tenancy;
(c) Make arrangements with a person to carry out repairs or maintenance;
(d) Make arrangements with a tenant or occupier of the property to secure access to the property for any purpose;
(e) Check the contents or condition of the property, or arrange for them to be checked as part of a current tenancy or for one which has ended; or
(f) Serve notice to terminate the tenancy.

A landlord who self manages and is not licensed to carry out property management activities commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine.

In order to become licensed to carry out letting activities and property management activities, a private landlord must complete an application via Rent Smart Wales. In order to become licensed, a private landlord must complete appropriate training either via Rent Smart Wales or via an approved and authorised trainer. As with registration, a private landlord’s license lasts five years; during that time a private landlord is obligated to keep the information in the licence application up to date.

If a licence holder fails to comply with any condition of their licence, or is no longer deemed to be ‘fit and proper’, then their licence can be revoked. In determining whether a private landlord is deemed to be ‘fit and proper’, Rent Smart Wales must have regard to such factors as contained within section 20 of the Act.

If you are a private landlord and you do not self-manage your property, you must ensure that the agent that you appoint holds the relevant licenses. A private landlord who appoints an un-licensed agent commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine.

It is important to note, should a private landlord fail to register, or fail to be appropriately licensed, they may not terminate a tenancy in accordance with section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

Should you require any guidance on your obligations as a private landlord in Wales, please get in touch with our Mr Ahmed who will only be too happy to assist with your enquiry.

Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitor Cardiff and Barry

Vacancy – Legal Secretary

We seek an experienced Legal Secretary to join our busy Private Client team.

Essential skills required:

1. Audio typing;

2. IT literate

Desirable skills required:

1. Wills & Probate experience

We are looking for an enthusiastic Legal Secretary to join us at our office in Barry, South Wales, on a full time basis.

Audio typing experience is required and the applicant must have a good degree of IT literacy. Familiarity with a legal office including case management systems would be an advantage.

Please forward CVs to ce@passmores.com.

 

Taking Children Abroad – what is the law?

You must get the permission of everyone with Parental Responsibility for a child OR the permission of the Court before taking a child abroad. Taking a child without permission is Child Abduction.

We here at Passmores Solicitors are specialists in domestic and international children matters (including Hague Convention and Wardship matters).

Should you be seeking to move to another country with your child, or, you simply wish to obtain advice on international or domestic travel, do not hesitate to contact us on 029 20 786 618

Equally, should you be seeking the return of your child who has been unlawfully removed from the jurisdiction, or you have concerns that your child may be imminently removed, do not hesitate to contact us on 029 20 786 618.

Whether you are seeking an informal discussion on the law, wish to know your options, or you are considering issuing an application at Court, please call us today on 029 20 786 618 where one of our legal experts will be happy to assist.

Should you seek a face-to-face meeting, we offer our clients an initial free 30 minute consultation at both our Cardiff and Barry offices.

10% off Conveyancing fees during February 2017

We here at Passmores Solicitors are pleased to offer a discount of 10% off your legal fees for all new residential conveyancing matters taken on between 1 February 2017 and 28 February 2017

Please quote the following discount code/ref when obtaining your quotation: PDS10.

Please call us on 01446 721000, email us mail@passmores.com, or complete our online conveyancing questionnaire.

Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitor Cardiff and Barry

Cancer Research UK Free Will Service

Passmores Solicitors are proud to announce that to date, our clients have pledged in excess of £972,485.00 to Cancer Research UK via the Cancer Research UK Free Will Scheme.

Cancer Research UK are the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving more lives by preventing, controlling, and curing cancer.

98% of Cancer Research UK’s research happens in key locations across the UK.

Gifts left to Cancer Research UK in Wills fund over one third of the research carried out by the charity.

If you would like to leave a gift to Cancer Research UK in your Will please contact us on 01446 721 000 for more details.

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Resolution: Code of Practice

We’re a proud member of Resolution, a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way.

Resolution membership is about the approach we take to our work. This means that as a Resolution member, we will always seek to reduce or manage any conflict and confrontation, support and encourage families to put the best interests of any children first and act with honesty, integrity and objectivity.

We know from our years working as family law professionals, that clients reach the best outcomes when they are helped to understand and manage the potential long-term financial and emotional consequences of decisions. This is why we use experience and knowledge to guide our clients through the options available to them.

As Resolution members, we have signed up to a Code of Practice that will demonstrate to clients the approach we will always take. The Code promotes a constructive approach to family issues and considers the needs of the whole family, in particular the best interests of children.

If you decide to work with us, this means:

  • Listening to you, being honest with you and treating you with respect.
  • Explaining all the options and giving you confidence to make the right decisions.
  • Helping you focus on what’s important in the long-term.
  • Helping you balance financial and emotional costs with what you want to achieve.
  • Working with others to find the right approach and the best solutions for you.
  • Managing stress in what can be an already stressful situation.

Because we’re signed up to the Resolution Code, we work with a network of other like-minded professionals, including mediators, financial planners and family consultants, to make sure we’re helping our clients find the right approach for them.

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Residential Conveyancing Offer

We here at Passmores Solicitors are pleased to offer a discount of 10% off your legal fees for all new residential conveyancing matters taken on in the month of September.

Please quote the following discount code/ref when obtaining your quotation: PDS10

Please call us on 01446 721000, email us mail@passmores.com or complete our online conveyancing questionnaire.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document whereby one person gives another person (called the Attorney) the authority to make decisions on their behalf in order to avoid problems if they later lose physical or mental capacity.

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney. Either or both can be made on your behalf:-

(a) A Property and Financial affairs LPA – which allows your Attorney to deal with your property and finances.
(b) A Health and Welfare LPA – which allows your Attorney make decisions on your behalf regarding your personal healthcare and welfare, including making medical treatment decisions and giving or refusing life sustaining treatment.

If a person loses mental capacity without having an LPA in place, a family member, or indeed anyone who is willing, would have to make an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed to deal with that person’s affairs. This is often a frustrating and expensive process for the person making the application and nothing can be done in relation to a person’s affairs until an Order of the Court has been obtained.

An LPA is an important and powerful document and you should take care as to whom you appoint as your Attorney. More than one Attorney can be appointed should you wish and you can decide how they can act; this being independently or jointly. Your Attorney should be trustworthy and possess the necessary skills to make decisions on your behalf. You may if you wish, limit your Attorneys powers, including when they can act and how.

An LPA can only be used once it has been signed by you and your Attorney and certified by a person of your choice, who is able to say that you understand what the LPA is and that you have not been unduly pressurised into making it. An LPA also has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.

Please ensure that when getting advice about Wills and LPAs that you speak to a qualified specialist adviser, such as a solicitor on the Age Connect Will writing scheme. Carli Evans is a solicitor with Messrs Passmores and a member of Age Connect Will Writing Scheme, Solicitors for the Elderly, and STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) a specialist panel of solicitors dealing with elderly client matters. Carli can be contacted on 01446 721000 or by email ce@passmores.com