Dartford Legal Services Logo

Dartford Legal Services Logo
Dartford Legal Services.

About Me

My photo

I am a self employed Licensed Conveyancer, Probate Practitioner and Will Writer.   I own my own small firm which is client centered. 

Dartford Legal Services Limited is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and has 2 million pounds in indemnity insurance.

Excellent client care and attention to detail.  Client consultations are available at a reasonable rate.

DLS is also a Commissioner for Oaths which means we can witness Statutory Declarations, Probate applications, ID1s etc all at a reasonable rate.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Protect your property with a restriction on the register of title.

Registration of a restriction on your property at the Land Registry to prevent Fraud
If you own your own property you can take steps to protect your property from being fraudulently sold or mortgaged.

You’re more at risk if:
##your identity’s been stolen

##you rent out your property
##you live overseas

##the property’s empty
##the property isn’t mortgaged

##the property isn’t registered with Land Registry
Your property will be registered if you bought it or mortgaged it since 1998 - check the register if you’re unsure.

You must tell Land Registry if information in the register is incorrect, eg if you change your contact address.
You can track changes to the register or put a restriction on your title if you think you’re at risk.

Track changes to the register

You can sign up to get property alerts     if someone applies to change the register of your property, eg someone tries to use your property for a mortgage.
This won’t automatically block any changes to the register but will alert you when something changes so that you can take action.

You can get alerts for up to 10 properties - there’s no fee.
Put a restriction on your title

You can stop Land Registry registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies the application was made by you.
Dartford Legal Services can do this for you – please ask for details.

If you don’t live at the property Business owners

 If you own business premises but don’t live at the premises you can ask for a restriction to be put on the title to the property so that no fraudulent dealing can take place with the title to the property.  

Fill in a request for a restriction if you’re a company owning property.

Dartford Legal Services can deal with this on your behalf.

If you live at the property

Dartford Legal Services can help with this. 

Don't get caught out like Rik Mayall!

If you haven’t made a Will yet, read the situation about the comedian Rik Mayall who died of a heart attack in 2014.   Rik Mayall did not make a Will so his estate passes under the intestacy rules prior to the 2014 Powers and Trustees Act. 

This article emphasies the fact that everyone should make a Will, especially single people, considering the new IHT rules which will be coming into force over the next five to six years.

"Rik Mayall's family face huge tax bill - because he failed to make a will to deal with his £1.2million estate

The comedian, who died suddenly at 56 last year, failed to leave a valid will

Could mean complications for wife, Barbara, and their three adult children

His £1.2million estate could be liable for tax of tens of thousands of pounds

Comedian Rik Mayall failed to leave a valid will to deal with his £1.2 million estate, which experts say could leave his family with a large inheritance tax bill.

Mayall, who played scheming Tory MP Alan B’Stard in ITV series The New Statesman, and a host of other comedy characters, died suddenly aged 56 last June.

But probate records reveal he had no will – even though he suffered serious head injuries and nearly died in a quad-bike accident in 1998 – which could mean complications for his wife of 29 years, Barbara, and their three adult children.

His estate could be liable for tax of tens of thousands of pounds which would not have been payable if he had left everything to his wife.

Lawyers have always advised that people should have a valid will to avoid tax pitfalls.

His personal estate would be divided according to Government intestacy rules, which take into account marital status, children or surviving relatives.

Andrew Kidd, a specialist probate solicitor and partner in London law firm Clintons, said that Mayall’s children would be automatically entitled to a share of his net estate of £1,192,701 after funeral and legal expenses, meaning they could inherit an amount liable for inheritance tax.

But Mr Kidd said the amount of any tax payable would depend on the value of Mayall’s chattels or personal belongings which would go to his wife under intestacy rules.

Mr Kidd said that the rules for a married father like Mayall meant his wife would be due to receive £250,000 plus all his ‘chattels’, which would include any personally owned cars, furniture, ornaments, books and jewellery.

 By law, Mayall’s children would then automatically get half the remaining value of the estate, creating a potential tax bill if the amount is more than the inheritance tax limit of £325,000.

 Mayall’s widow would have received a life interest in the remaining half – meaning she could not touch or transfer that money but could claim interest on it.

Mr Kidd added that Mayall’s family could seek to avoid the tax by drawing up a deed of variation to split up his estate, reducing any sum left to the children so it was below the tax threshold.

Please ask Dartford Legal Services about a Will or Trust which may help to avoid liability to IHT.  

Friday, 4 September 2015

Single people

Being single is a favourite topic of mine as I am single and have no children.   What do you do then in the case of making a Will. 

You should consider the following when thinking about a Will if you are single:

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) latest data showed that 51% of people in England and Wales are single – half the population.*
In reality, as we know in will writing circles, the definition of “single” is people who are not married.
Therefore this demographic will include cohabiting couples, single parents, those divorced or widowed – which means there are significant groups of society that may not be aware of the consequences of not having a will in place. More thought needs to be dedicated into life planning when there is no spouse to bequeath their estate, or even no next of kin at all.
This is the first time that figures have shown that there are more “single” people than not, indicating a trend. It is consequently more important than ever for will writers to be handling such cases with great care, as with any client, to ensure their wishes are carried out after death. Even though their partners or loved ones may be a significant part of the person’s life, and as though married or a member of the family, this doesn’t always mean they have the right to inherit.
As a result, will writing professionals will need to put specialised consideration into how a single person's estate will be distributed. This will include the following considerations:
  1. Professional executors: unless your client has friends they trust, or believe are qualified to carry out your clients wishes then the professional executor route may be an attractive option.
  2. Pre-paid funeral plans: these ensure that your clients’ funeral expenses will be paid should something happen to them.
  3. Certainty: the national will writing register will allow friends or family to determine whether a person has made a will.
  4. Intestacy: the rules of intestacy need to be made clear to the customer. Your client may not want their family to inherit, which they would do under the laws of intestacy.
  5. Charity: your client may wish to leave their estate to a charity.
  6. Pets: if your client has pets they may wish to make allowance for them in their will.
Are there any standard or even additional considerations or processes you conduct for single clients? Are these cases particularly challenging, more so than with married clients?

There is also the question of IHT.   The allowances recently announced in the Budget in July 2015 will only take effect if you have direct descendants.   The following is a question which I have taken from a reader sending in a question about the IHT rules for single people:

I have assets worth £600,000 which include my home. I am single, never married and have no children. I intend to leave my assets to my brothers and sisters. Do they qualify as direct descendants and, in turn, will I qualify for the extra £175,000 family home allowance?
AH, via email
The draft legislation states that the relief will only be available where the family home is passed to children. This includes stepchildren, adopted and foster children, plus grandchildren. Therefore the family home allowance will not be available to you. Other readers have asked if they qualify for the additional relief if they leave their house to nieces and nephews. Again, they would not qualify.

So if you are single and have no children you will not get any extra tax relief in order to leave your home to relatives.   Is this discrimination?   I think it is.