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Wills, Trusts & Estates FAQs in Northampton

Declaration of Trust
What is a Declaration of Trust, and why is it important in Northampton?
A Declaration of Trust is a legal document that sets out the terms on which a property is held. The document will record how the property is owned as well as any other terms agreed by you so that it protects your investment in a property if your relationship subsequent breaks down or one of you dies prematurely.
Declaration of Trust
What happens if one person wants to be bought out in a co-ownership arrangement in Northampton?
No matter who you are a joint owner with whether that be with your partner, family member or a friend, relationships can break down or circumstances change, which can mean that one of the joint owners wishes to sell the property. Typically, if one person wants to sell the property then both parties need to agree in order for the sale to go ahead without having to involve the Courts. If the other owner of the property would like to sell the property but you do not want to then you could consider buying their share. Buying their share would mean that you can remain living in the property and full ownership would be transferred to you. To buy their share you would of course need to have enough cash to the value of their equity in the property and they will need to agree. If they don’t agree then an application could be made to the Court for an order under the Trusts of Land Appointment of Trustees Act (known as TOLATA) requiring them to transfer their interest to you. The Court, based on evidence put forward, will determine the value of their share and then you will need to show that you are in a position to purchase their share for the required price. In the event that you are not able to purchase their share the Court may order that the property is sold unless there are some specified circumstances which could prevent it (usually in relation to children).
Probate
How do I know if there's Inheritance Tax to pay in Northampton?
You will firstly need to obtain valuations of assets and liabilities as of the date of death and calculate the overall gross value of the Estate as well as net value of the Estate. Thereafter, you will deduct available allowances (Nil Rate Band and Residence Nil Rate Band and transferrable allowances if applicable). If the value of the net estate exceeds the available allowances, Inheritance Tax will be payable.
Probate
Do I need probate to sell a house in Northampton?
Yes, the Grant of Probate is required to sell property in Northampton as well as in the whole of England and Wales.
Probate
How long will probate take in Northampton?
The time to obtain a Grant of Probate will depend on the complexity and the value of the estate, and if inheritance tax is payable. At the moment Grants of Probate are taking on average of 16 weeks to obtain once applied for.
Probate
How do I calculate the value of the estate in Corby?
To calculate the value of an estate, you will need identify the deceased’s assets and their date of death value. Assets include property and land, bank accounts and investments, business interests, as well as personal belongings such as a car. Once you have this figure you will take away the deceased’s liabilities such as funeral costs, debts and outstanding bills. This is something you can do yourself or instruct a solicitor to do on your behalf. Other professionals will also be able to help, for example an estate agent would be able to carry out a property valuation.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
What are the costs associated with Lasting Powers of Attorney services in Northampton?
We charge a fixed fee for the preparation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). To prepare and register one LPA we charge £495 plus VAT (one type for one person), for two LPAs we charge £695 plus VAT (both types for one person or one type each for two people) and for four LPAs we charge £995 plus VAT (both types for a couple).

In addition to the above the Office of Public Guardian charge a fee of £82 per LPA however if you are in receipt of certain benefits or your annual income is less than £12,000 then you may be able to apply for an exemption or remission of their fees.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Do I need legal assistance when assessing mental capacity for an LPA in Northampton?
To make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) you need to have the requisite mental capacity. The person who will confirm (certify) that you have the required metal capacity in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to make a Lasting Power of Attorney is known as a Certificate provider.

The Certificate provider is an independent person who will certify that you are making the LPA of your own free will, without pressure (‘duress’), that you understand the implication of what you are doing, and that you have mental capacity to do so.

Your certificate provider can be either one of the folllowing:
  • Independent – someone you know well (independent, not related to you, over 18, and known you for at least 2 years);
  • Professional – a professional (GP, solicitor, social worker, independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA).
  • There are restrictions as to who can act as your certificate provider. For example, although not an exhaustive list, it cannot be any of the attorneys, a relative of the donor, a relative of an attorney, a partner of a donor or attorney, an employee of a care home where the donor resides.

    Taking on the role of Certificate provider is very important as it provides one of the main safeguards in the Lasting Power of Attorney process.
    Lasting Powers of Attorney
    What is a Lasting Power of Attorney, and why is it important in Northampton?
    Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which you can create to appoint someone to make decisions and act for you in case you were to lose your mental capacity to make decisions yourself. There are two types of the LPAs: Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare. LPAs are important because you are in charge of appointing your attorneys and how and when they can make decisions for you. It will allow for a smoother transition of the decision making powers to the attorneys when they are needed the most.
    Lasting Powers of Attorney
    How can an LPA attorney assist in protecting my assets in Northampton?
    The assets can be protected by the LPA for Property and Financial Affairs. By creating this LPA, you are allowing your attorneys to deal and have access to your assets to ensure that they are looked after. Your attorneys will have powers to obtain property and assets insurances .
    Lasting Powers of Attorney
    Can Lasting Powers of Attorney be used for end-of-life decisions in Northampton?
    Yes, the LPA for Health and Welfare allows your attorneys to make all decisions relating to your health and wellbeing. In your LPA for Health and Welfare, you can decide as to who makes decisions regarding a life sustaining treatment as well as you can include any preferences and instructions to assist your attorneys in making such decisions.
    Lasting Powers of Attorney
    How long does the Lasting Power of Attorney application process typically take in Northampton?
    The paperwork to prepare Lasting Power of Attorney can be prepared within a matter of days or hours. Your attorneys will then need to sign the document. The Office of the Public Guardian will then have to process these forms. Currently, the waiting times for the registration to be completed is up to 20 weeks.
    Lasting Powers of Attorney
    What are advance healthcare directives, and how do they relate to LPAs in Northampton?
    Advance healthcare directives can allow you to refuse specific medical treatment (such as resuscitation, surgery or a blood transfusion.) If you no longer have capacity when this treatment is required, the Advanced healthcare directive will act as a refusal of consent, meaning treatment cannot lawfully be given. A Lasting Power of Attorney offers more flexibility and provides your attorney with authority to make decisions on your behalf. It is possible for both an Advance Healthcare directive and a Lasting Power of Attorney to be made, however the timing is crucial to ensure that the two do not conflict, so it is imperative to take specialist advice.
    Lasting Powers of Attorney
    How do I choose the right legal advisor for Lasting Powers of Attorney in Northampton?
    It is recommended that you choose a legal advisor who specialises in dealing with Lasting Powers of Attorney. Using a legal advisor ensures that the LPA is drawn up correctly and is valid.
    Lasting Powers of Attorney
    How can an LPA attorney assist with health and welfare decisions in Northampton?
    An attorney can only use the Health and Welfare LPA if the Donor(the person who created the LPA) no longer has capacity to deal with their own affairs. Attorneys are able to assist with decisions such as washing, dressing, what they eat and what care home they reside in. They can also refuse to consent to life sustaining treatment, such as being artificially fed.
    Lasting Powers of Attorney
    What are the steps involved in applying for an LPA for property and financial affairs in Northampton?
    Once the LPA has been completed the donor or one of their attorneys needs to apply to the Office of the Public Guardian to register the Lasting Power of Attorney before it can be used. This is done by completing a form and sending it, together with the Power of Attorney itself and the application fee.
    Lasting Powers of Attorney
    What legal aspects should I be aware of when designating an LPA attorney in Northampton?
    When appointing an attorney, you should consider that they will act in your best interests at all times, and following the main principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This means that they should help you make as many decisions as they can, and not just simply take over should they use the power under the LPA. Your attorneys must also be over the age of 18, and have mental capacity. They must also not be bankrupt or subject to a debt relief order. Your attorneys must also comply with any restrictions included in the LPAs.
    Lasting Powers of Attorney
    What are the legal capacity requirements for creating an LPA in Northampton?
    What are the legal capacity requirements for creating an LPA in Northampton?
    Inheritance Tax
    How can individuals in Northampton minimise their IHT liability?
    There are various ways in which an individual can minimise the inheritance tax which may need to be paid by their estate when they die. Some options include:
    • Making gifts during your lifetime;
    • Investing money in investments which may be exempt from inheritance tax;
    • Giving it away to charity to qualify for charity exemption on the gift;
    • Choosing the right beneficiaries to benefit from the right assets;
    • Creating a trust during your lifetime;
    • Spend it; and
    • Most importantly Make a Will to plan and manage who will receive your assets.

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