Tim Dakers of Dakers Solicitors of Brighton, is our resident legal expert; below are some questions asked and Tim's answers.
Q. What are the implications of not making a will, we have never done this as feel our circumstances are simple, and it might be costly!
A. A will is essential if you have specific bequests to make, otherwise your property simply goes to your immediate family on intestacy. You should not expect to pay more than £100 plus VAT for a simple will.
Q. I am 70 years old and fit, recently widowed. A friend advised me to effect a Power of Attorney – I have 2 adult children who I am sure would look after me if necessary, what would be the advantages of having a Power of Attorney, and is this expensive to set up?
A. A Lasting Power of Attorney is effective to make sure that your chosen attorney can make decisions for you if you become incapable of doing so yourself. Without this it would be necessary to go to the Court of Protection which is expensive. A Lasting Power of Attorney should cost about £450 plus VAT.
Q. My neighbours have a very noisy dog that continually barks when anybody goes into the garden, comes to the door, leaves the house etc! Is there anything we can do – we’ve spoken to them but they don’t see it as a problem
A. The first port of call would be the local authority environmental health officer – it would also be possible to get an injunction from the court but this would be very expensive.
Q. To try and save Inheritance Tax I feel it would be a good idea to give my children my house, there is no mortgage and it is valued at approximately £400,000 , I would continue to live here with my children’s blessing, they are aged 30 and 35, one is married. I am 68 and single – is this a good idea?
A. You would not save any inheritance tax if you benefited from the property by continuing to live there rent free. You need to discuss methods of saving Inheritance Tax with your solicitor.
Q. If my husband died before me would I be responsible for his credit card debts – he is a big spender and doesn’t always clear the balance each month!
A. Your husband’s estate would be liable – not you personally.
Q. We are getting divorced (we are both 58), do we need to rewrite our will – our intentions would be to leave our assets jointly to our mutual children
A. Divorce would invalidate any provisions made in a will for the other spouse – so your children would benefit automatically – but it would still be desirable to make another will.
Q. Is it a good idea to give our grandchildren a monetary gift each year (and what is the maximum), intention to reduce eventual Inheritance Tax? Should this be recorded with our solicitor?
A. You can do this up to a total of £3,000 per annum. It does not necessarily need to be recorded with your solicitor so long as it is recorded properly somewhere. As grandparents, additionally you may give £2,500 as a wedding or civil partnership gift which would be exempt from Inheritance Tax.
Dakers Solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (No. 49488)