Cathy Eaton from Tollers Solicitors Kempston, had great pleasure to hand over a cheque for £1,989 to the Bedford DayCare Hospice. The money was raised during a ‘Free Will Week’ when Tollers prepared Wills in exchange for donations to the Hospice.

About The Hospice

Bedford Daycare Hospice is an independent charity working with other organisations and provides care for those with a life limiting illness in Mid and North Bedfordshire.  The Hospice was founded in 1992 and has helped hundreds of people with cancer and other life limiting illnesses and their families and carers.   The demand for this kind of service continues to grow and for this reason Tollers have been happy to assist with their fundraising for a second year.

The Hospice very much relies on the financial support and generosity of the people in the community, it is how they are able to continue to deliver such a unique service to the highest standard.

They offer respite care, counselling and psychological care. There are complimentary therapies available which include: Reiki, massage, facials, manicures. These services (amongst many others) are invaluable for patients with life limiting illness or who are in remission from disease and need help to re-build confidence. Above all the hospice provides emotional support not only to patients but to their families and carers.

Cathy Eaton says: “Illness affects us all at some time in our lives and it is important that as a community we all do what we can to ensure that there will always be the help and support there when we need it.”  Tollers have been happy to support Bedford DayCare Hospice and will continue to do so in the future.

Get Involved

The Hospice have many fund-raising events in the calendar for the year, from Coffee Mornings, Black Tie events, Quiz nights, Curry Evenings and many, many more. Keep your eye out – there is something for everyone! The Bedford Daycare Hospice event calendar can be found here.

This week Tollers are participating in ‘Remember a Charity in your Will Week’ from the 10th-16th September. The aim of the week is to encourage people to consider the option of leaving a charitable legacy in their Wills and also to raise awareness of the benefits of leaving gifts to charity when you die.

A Will is a legal document which sets out your wishes for your property and possessions when you die. There are multiple benefits to having a Will:

Whilst there are many more benefits, it is important to note that a well-drafted Will allows for flexibility in the future. Your financial or family situation may change and it is important to review your Will when such changes arise. It is strongly recommended that you have your Will drafted by a legal professional in order to avoid unnecessary errors and complications for your executors in the future and to best protect your loved ones.

Leaving a gift to charity in your will

Gifts left to charities in Wills are the foundation of most of Britain’s charities and generate over £2billion each year in total. Without these donations, lots of the charitable services we rely on would cease to exist or be able to operate. There are also financial and emotional benefits to leaving a gift or gifts to charity in your will.

Why leave a gift in your will?

Many of us will experience periods in our lives where a charity has provided support to you or your family and friends. Leaving a gift to a charity that has helped you personally or simply one you admire, not only acts as a thank you but also allows that particular charity to continue their work and help other people.

An example of a charity largely dependent on donations made through peoples Wills is Cancer Research UK, a charity close to many people’s hearts. Over a third of all their funding is generated by legacy gifts in Wills. This shows just how important these gifts are to even the largest of charities.

If you would like any advice on creating a Will or updating an existing Will Talk to Tollers.

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are important legal documents which allow you to choose people you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so in the future. Whilst frequently considered as part of retirement planning, it is a common misconception that these documents are only for the older population. This is simply not the case and here are ten reasons why you should consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney sooner rather than later in life.

1. Choice

You can choose people you trust to manage your affairs and to make decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to do so. You can choose who acts for you and how they make decisions.

2. Practicality

DID YOU KNOW that a Property and Financial Affairs Power of Attorney can be created to come into effect straight away? This can be very useful as your Attorneys can act even while you have mental capacity, with your permission. It allows your Attorneys to keep your affairs in order should you be on holiday, physically unable to get out and about or if you have a temporary stay in hospital.

3. Legality

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which authorises your specified people to make decisions on your behalf. If you provide your bank cards to trusted friends or relatives, any permission you have given to them will be automatically revoked if you lose capacity in which case, they are technically committing fraud.

4. Protection

Lasting Powers of Attorney are regulated and supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian. They can investigate allegations of abuse or misuse of funds by an Attorney. This offers an additional level of protection and is much safer than simply handing over your bank card.

5. Control

It is important to note that you do not lose any control by making an LPA. Indeed, a properly drafted LPA can contain details of your wishes and instructions for your Attorneys to follow, allowing you to retain control even after incapacity.

6. Time

Lasting Powers of Attorney must be made while you are mentally able to do so. As soon as you lose the ability to understand the document, you will not be able to create one. Incapacity can occur at any time and this is not just a document to consider when planning for retirement. It is therefore important to make the document sooner rather than later- don’t leave it until it is too late!

7. Avoiding the alternative

If there is no LPA in place and incapacity occurs, relatives must pursue an application in the Court of Protection to gain access to finances. This is a costly and lengthy process, taking an average of 7-9 months. You also lose the choice as anybody could apply for permission to manage your affairs.

8. For Business

DID YOU KNOW you can create a Lasting Power of Attorney which can be limited to dealing only with your business? This allows you to choose people to sign business documents on your behalf during your absence, whilst keeping these matters entirely separate from your personal affairs.

9. For Family

Lasting Powers of Attorney are invaluable documents. Putting these documents in place can make life much easier for your relatives at what is likely to be a difficult time. The Health and Welfare document, in particular, will allow your Attorneys to make decisions about where you live.

10. For You – Peace of Mind

Lasting Powers of Attorney will last for the duration of your lifetime (unless revoked by you), giving your family security and the authority to deal with issues quickly should the worst case scenario present itself. You can find comfort in the knowledge that you have retained control of your life by appointing trustworthy people to continue acting on your wishes if you become unable to communicate them for yourself.

If you would like to discuss any element of this article Talk to Tollers, our Trusts and Estates team are well versed in all aspects of Lasting Power of Attorney.

Dedicated to supporting the Stevenage community

The largest team in our Stevenage office is our Trusts and Estates team. They are able to assist on all aspects of wills, trusts, tax and estate planning, lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection applications and estate administration.

Making a will need not be daunting or stressful and enables you to set out clearly what your wishes are for after you pass away. You can provide for your family, state your funeral wishes and name guardians for children. Our team pride themselves on making the process as easy and simple as possible and can provide advice on tax and trusts when required to ensure your estate is passed on in the most tax efficient way.

Many people are not aware of the importance of having a power of attorney in place. Whilst a Will takes care of your affairs after your death, a power of attorney is required during your lifetime. It enables you to choose who you trust to be able to assist you with your property and financial affairs and any health and welfare issues as and when necessary.

If someone does not have a power of attorney and becomes unable to deal with their own affairs, perhaps due to a stroke or dementia, then it may be necessary to make an application to the Court of Protection in order to obtain permission to assist that person.

When a loved one passes away it can be an emotional time for all concerned. We can help ease the stress by offering advice in relation to one-off issues or dealing with all or part of the estate on your behalf.

Sharon Brown and Chris Lucas work alongside Fiona Nash in the Trusts and Estate team. Sharon is a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly and is a trustee of Stevenage Community Trust. She has strong ties with the local community having lived in Stevenage all of her life. Chris also lives locally and is an affiliate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and an associate member of Solicitors for the Elderly. The team take part in many local events and offer monthly free legal advice clinics at Age Concern and Garden House Hospice.

For more information on how our Trusts and Estates team can assist you with any requirements you may have…. Talk to Tollers on 01438 901095 and the team will happily assist you.

Exceptional People – Exceptional Service – Exceptional Delivery 

This May, the Trust and Estates team at Tollers are supporting Cynthia Spencer during their Make a Will Month 2018.

For those of us who simply have not got around to making a Will or have had family changes like: bereavement, marriage or divorce and new additions to the family (including Grandchildren) you may need to update your Will. This is a great opportunity to ensure your wishes regarding the estate you leave behind are documented. Understandably no one likes to dwell on the inevitable, however, during May you will have the opportunity to make or amend your Will and help raise funds to support the fantastic local charity Cynthia Spencer.

Despite common perceptions, making a Will should not be left until later life as a part of retirement planning, you should consider making or amending your Will during major life events, like when you get married, buy a property or welcome a new addition to your family. Commonly included in a Will are directions on where your assets should go and important wishes like choosing guardians for your children or dependants and of course you can leave a legacy to a charity too. If you don’t have a Will there are default rules which state where your assets will go and what will happen to your dependants, which may not be exactly what you would want.

Cynthia Spencer provide invaluable palliative care and support to those with life limiting illnesses throughout Northamptonshire. For the duration of May you will be able to make or amend your Will in return for a donation to the charity. All the services at the Hospice are provided free of charge. This means that your donation will go directly to paying for the care of local people.

To participate in the Cynthia Spencer Make a Will month please call the fundraising office on 01604 973340 or email fundraising@cynthiaspencer.co.uk Once you receive your Make a Will pack, you will be able to get in touch with your preferred solicitor to make your Will appointment. Further information about Cynthia Spencer Make a Will Month please click here.

Protecting your Business

If you are the owner of a business, whether that be as a Sole Trader, Partner or Director, you may have recognised the importance of obtaining “Key Man” life insurance should you pass away, but have you given consideration as to what would happen to your business if you lost mental capacity?

Mental capacity could decline or be lost due to any number of factors, including illness, brain injury, stroke or as the result of an accident. It is important to note that losing capacity is not just a risk to be associated with the elderly and diseases such as dementia.

Many business people assume that their next of kin would automatically step in or that informal arrangements within the business are sufficient in these circumstances, but this is not the case. There is no automatic legal authority for anyone to take on your role and this could have damaging consequences for your business.

If you were to lose capacity tomorrow, consider your employees – how would they be paid? There may be no authority in place for money to be paid out of the business accounts and so VAT payments, supplier invoices, rent, insurance and other contractual business payments could be left in arrears. In addition, there is unlikely to be an alternative arrangement for signing cheques, accessing bank accounts and completing or authorising ongoing contractual transactions generally.

It’s easy when you know how

Protecting your business in the event of incapacity, whether permanent or temporary, is simple: Make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which allows you to appoint a person or people you would trust to manage your property and financial affairs, should you become unable to do so.

The LPA document gives you complete control by allowing you to choose who to appoint and, if more than one person, how they make decisions between them. LPAs can be made to deal with property and financial decisions in your business and also for you personally and so you can make separate documents to run concurrently, with different Attorneys on each, should you see fit.

As well as resolving the issues set out above, an LPA has further practical benefits in that it can be used with your consent whilst you have capacity. This can provide flexibility for extended holidays, business trips, temporary stays in hospital or general absence through illness.

If you lost capacity without an LPA in place, the process that follows can be lengthy, complex and expensive and involves an application to the Court for someone to act on your behalf. At this stage, you would have no control over who applies for this authority and they may be given permission to act for both your personal and business matters.

It is clear to see that a Lasting Power of Attorney is an invaluable and essential protection for any business. Prepared at Tollers by qualified lawyers for a competitive fixed cost, can you afford not to protect your business?

For further information Talk to Tollers’ Trusts and Estates Team today.

We are proud to once again be taking part in the Garden House Hospice Make a Will Week and still have a limited number of appointments available. The event is running from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd March 2018. During the week we are giving you the opportunity to write a standard will in return for a donation to the Hospice.

“Garden House Hospice very much values and appreciates the support it receives from local company’s such as Tollers.  Make a Will Week is a great example of how collaborative working not only raises vital funds but also awareness of the specialist care and services available to people in the local community. Make a Will Week raised over £14,000 in 2017 towards Hospice funds and this would not have been possible without the amazing support of Tollers. We look forward to working with Sharon and Chris again this year for our 2018 campaign.” Cathy White – Individual Giving Manager – Garden House Hospice 

If you do not have a will now is the ideal time to put one in place. Some people assume that if they do not have lots of assets it is not necessary, but, no matter how much or how little you have, it is important that your wishes are recorded so that the right people benefit from your estate. It also makes it easier for those you leave behind, and it can be a great comfort for them to be aware of what your wishes are when it comes to arranging funerals and so on.

If you already have a will then you may wish to review it. Circumstances change and may mean that you need to update your will. For example, many people are not aware that marriage revokes a will and often people who made wills when their children were young wish to update them to include a gift to grandchildren once their first has been born.

To book a slot to either make or update your Will, whilst helping to raise funds for Garden House Hospice, please click here.

The government have recently introduced new legislation on inheritance tax called the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) which will apply to deaths on or after the 6th of April 2017. This could apply to you if the value of your estate is worth more than the current Basic Nil Rate Band of £325,000 and you are leaving a residential home to a lineal descendant.

The added threshold will then increase the amount of your estate that you may leave in your will without paying pay inheritance tax. However the RNRB applies to property only and the additional tax saving cannot be applied to other assets.

How to qualify

The house must have been occupied by the deceased as a resident. The house can then only pass down to lineal descendants which can include;

–          Children

–          Grandchildren

–          Their spouses/civil partners

–          Adopted or foster children

–          Step children etc.

The RNRB is increasing over future years before it reaches its maximum of £175,000 per persons. This means that for deaths in the following tax years it will be:

The amount of RNRB due for an estate will be either (whichever is less);

  1. The value of the property; or
  2. The maximum RNRB available at the date of death

Overall, this would mean that after April 2020 the maximum amount of assets that can pass inheritance tax free could become £500,000 per person when combining the Basic Nil Rate Band and the Residence Nil Rate Band. If you are leaving everything to a spouse then all assets transfer free of inheritance tax. This means upon the first death, both your Residence Nil Rate Band and your Basic Nil Rate Band will transfer to the remaining spouse. This means that upon the second death, the total may amount to £1,000,000 of overall assets which would be inheritance tax free. However, in order to use the full combined RNRB you must have property worth £350,000 or more as any unused RNRB cannot be transferred to other assets.

Example

Max is unmarried and dies in the tax year 2021 leaving a residential property worth £350,000, and other assets totaling an additional £150,000 to his children.

The maximum available RNRB in the tax year 2021 is £175,000.

Basic threshold (NRB) £325,000
Additional threshold for the estate (RNRB) £175,000 (the lower of £350,000 and £175,000)

 

Total Estate value          £500,000
Minus RNRB        – £175,000
Subtotal          £325,000
Minus NRB        – £325,000
= Amount of estate on which Inheritance Tax is due on          £0.00

If you have downsized your property and then pass away within two years of the sale then you may still be eligible for the RNRB. This means if you have lost out on receiving the extra allowance because your property is now worth less, then you may still be able to apply for the RNRB to receive the top up you would have received on the price of the original property.

Exceptions

The RNRB does not apply where those who benefit from the Will cannot obtain the house at the date of death. For example, where the house is left to a grandchild to receive at the age of 21, the property would be held in trust rather than passing straight to the grandchild after the death and therefore the additional threshold would not apply.

There is also a condition for estates over £2,000,000 where the additional top up available will gradually decrease by £1 for every £2 the estate exceeds the £2,000,000 threshold.

In light of these new rules, it is important to review your Will to ensure that you make the most of the tax thresholds available.

For more information Talk to Tollers.

We all know how important it is to make a Will, but rarely do we remember to update it during important life events like a marriage or the birth of a child. This is understandable, however, during a recent fundraiser we gave the populace of Kempston the opportunity to make or update a Will with all proceeds donated to the Bedford Daycare Hospice.

Cathy Eaton from Tollers Solicitors in Kempston was delighted to hand over a cheque for £1,500 to Jinny Shoosmith and Sue Pettifer of Bedford Daycare Hospice. The money was raised during a recent “Make a Will” campaign whereby Tollers prepared Wills free of charge and instead of payment a donation was made to the hospice.

The campaign was very successful and has shown the true generosity of Kempston and Bedford people.

Bedford Daycare Hospice is a local hospice caring for the people of North and Mid Bedfordshire.  They provide individualised holistic care for patients with life limiting illness from the point of diagnosis through investigations and treatment to remission or palliative care. Their services are free so every penny is gratefully received and will make a difference to someone’s life.

Leaving a legacy to Bedford Daycare Hospice your Will can not only assist to reduce your liability for Inheritance Tax but very importantly, will help the Hospice continue their work.

Bedford Daycare Hospice provides a lively and caring atmosphere.  They have a dedicated nursing team to enhance the quality of life for up to 70 patients each week who attend for support but, as with any charity, financial assistance is their lifeline. To contact the hospice please call 01234 352015 they are open Monday to Friday 9:30am to 3:30pm.

If you need to make or update a Will Talk to Tollers, Cathy Eaton has over 20 years’ experience preparing and updating Wills. Cathy and our Trust and Estates team can be contacted on 01234 857014

The Ministry of Justice has announced a refund scheme for donors or their attorneys who registered powers of attorney for England and Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017.

The scheme offers a partial refund for each power of attorney registered and applies to both Lasting Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Attorney. Even if you registered several powers of attorney you only need to make one claim.

The partial refunds are detailed in this chart from the Government website

When you paid the fee

Refund for each power of attorney

April to September 2013 £54
October 2013 to March 2014 £34
April 2014 to March 2015 £37
April 2015 to March 2016 £38
April 2016 to March 2017 £45

The refund scheme has been set up so only the Donor, who is the person who granted the power of attorney, or Attorneys, the people appointed by the donor to act for them, can claim the refund unless the Donor has died or where the Court has appointed a Deputy. A Deputy can be appointed by the Court if the Attorneys have been removed or have died.

The refunds can be applied for online  https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund or by telephone if the donor has passed away, the donor does not have a UK bank account or if the Court has appointed a Deputy to act for the Donor.  The telephone service can also be used by people who would find using a computer difficult.

The Refunds helpline contact details are

Email: poarefunds@justice.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0300 456 0300 (choose option 6)
Textphone: 0115 934 2778

The helpline is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9am to 5pm and Wednesday 10am to 5pm.

The Ministry of Justice advised the process could take up to 12 weeks for a refund to be processed.

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