Month: October 2017

To Marry Or Not To Marry

When couples meet in later life or simply choose not to get married, although living together, they may not be protected when one of them dies.

Unfortunately, cohabiting couples are not recognised in law the same way that married couples or those in a civil partnership are.

So, what legally happens to couples when one of them dies without leaving a Will?

Common law spouse

According to intestacy rules, if you die without leaving a Will, in this case, your partner will not receive anything from your estate other than anything held jointly.

Looking to the future

There are some legal benefits to marrying:

– Spouse exemption – anything left to a spouse is exempt from Inheritance Tax (IHT).
– Transferable nil rate band – you can use the first £325,000 of your spouse’s nil rate band, along with your own, providing your spouse did not use their allowance.
– Intestacy – if a Will is not left, upon your death, where there are children, your spouse is entitled to the first £250,000 of the estate and, the interest on half the residue.

Make a Will

It is vitally important for unmarried couples to make a Will specifying their wishes and how they would like their estate to be divided.

Although you may have lived together for many years and even share children, unless you have a Will, you cannot guarantee that your partner will be protected or provided for following your death.

To discuss making a Will and advice on other services regarding your estate, contact LCS NOW on 0345 017 8250.

Reduce Financial Stress

Why Consider A Trust When Making A Will?

It is important for you to have a Will in place before you die. Not having a Will can lead to numerous complications when dividing an estate and, for some families, it can be enough to tear them apart.

But it isn’t just Wills that need to be considered.

Trusts can be used as a way of passing on inheritance, under the protection of Trustees who will pass on assets to your chosen beneficiaries in accordance with the Trust.

The benefits of doing this is that you can ensure your assets are going exactly where you wish.

So, in what circumstances are trusts useful?

Blended Families

If there are children involved from previous relationships, a couple may want to ensure that such children benefit from their inheritance.

A Trust could be included to enable assets to pass to a surviving partner upon the deaths of the first to die. The trust can also further outline what happens to the assets when both have died.

In this case, assets could be split between the couple’s own children.


If your spouse dies, you may go on to remarry in later life.

This could mean that a Will written when both were alive to be altered, sometimes in a way that may remove inheritance from existing children.

As with the above, a Trust could be included in a couple’s Wills to ensure inheritance for the ultimate beneficiaries whilst enabling the surviving spouse to have use of the asset during their lifetime, such as with the family home.

Is the beneficiary able to manage the inheritance?

A Trust is the most common way of safeguarding assets for those unable to manage their own finances, for example, a disabled person or someone with a substance misuse or alcohol dependency problem.

Here, the Trustees would use the assets to directly benefit the beneficiary, the Trustees would use their discretion as to how and when to release the funds.


If You’re Unmarried

Unmarried couples do not have the same rights of inheritance as those who are married or in a civil partnership.

In marriage or civil partnerships your estate can pass directly to your spouse upon your death.
Trusts can be included to ensure that your partner is provided for, whilst also addressing the inheritance tax issues for unmarried couples.

The above are just four common reasons to include a trust in your Will, there are many other reasons and a variety of Trusts which may help individual clients.

For more information about Trusts, contact LCS on 0345 017 8250 before it’s too late.

The Presumption Of Death Act 2013

Have you ever thought how you would cope financially without your partner? Marriage brings the security of your partner’s assets passing directly to you upon their death. (Unless otherwise stated in a Will) But what happens to a loved one’s affairs if that person goes missing?

Currently, The Presumption of Death Act 2013 requires you to wait seven years, or provide proof that the person has died before you can apply for the declaration of presumed death.

Although seven years is long enough to ascertain that someone really has left their life behind them, it has been criticised as being too long for the families left dealing with the deceased’s affairs.

Furthermore, if a person has an appointed power of attorney, this becomes void as nobody has the legal authority to manage a missing person’s affairs.

As this is a very serious matter, the courts will only grant the declaration of presumed death with solid evidence, but once they have, it allows for a grant of probate, and even dissolution of marriages.

In order to apply for this, you must:

– Provide details of both the applicant, and the missing person,
– Provide details surrounding how they disappeared,
– What efforts you’ve made to find them,
– Details of their estate,
– Details of anyone else who may be interested.

You must also advertise the event in at least one newspaper local to the missing person’s last known address.

This will then be put up for a Court hearing, where the next steps will be advised. Eg. Further proof.

The decision will be made by taking into account the balance of probabilities; the civil standard of proof.

The declaration may be opposed by anyone by submitting a notice of intervention, or, if the missing person returns. In this instance, the missing person would apply for the declaration to be revoked by the High Court.

In April 2017, the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 was passed which has been designed to work alongside the current Act.

It will allow a guardian to be appointed to handle the missing person’s affairs for a renewable period of up to four years.

It also takes into account the lengthy seven year wait and, allows the applicants to apply for a Guardianship Order, this means they will only have to wait at least 90 days before they can assume control.

Although the Presumption of Death Act 2013 made way for people to eventually deal with a missing person’s affairs, the new act allows the management of this whilst waiting the seven years to finalise the estate.

How To Avoid Disagreements Ovwr Funerals

Dealing with the death of a loved one is an upsetting and deeply stressful time. Organising the funeral can only add to this, so what happens when families disagree over the arrangements?
Not everyone will have organised their own funeral before they die. Accidents can happen, and death can sometimes be quite sudden and sooner than expected. One small respite is knowing that the invoice for the funeral can often be settled directly from the estate, funds permitting.
As probate can take many months to be granted, most banks will be happy to release funds directly to funeral directors from the deceased’s bank account upon receipt of an original invoice, this may or may not include the wake.
Family members often have differing opinions and understandings as to what the deceased wanted to happen and, even conversations prior to the deceased’s death regarding the funeral and the wake can sometimes become a point of disagreement.
Not only can this add unnecessary stress, it may also divide a family. To avoid this, you have options available to you:
1. Write your wishes into your Will, it is always recommended that you discuss your wishes with your nearest and dearest, that way, your family will know exactly what want. Your Will may also give authority to your executors to spend a certain amount on your funeral and wake, thus avoiding potential arguments.
2. Organise a pre-paid funeral plan, there are many options available for you to “design” and pay for your funeral before you die. Different packages are available which are designed to suit all budgets, and will cover the very basic funeral to the most extravagant.
Having your funeral organised before you die will not only remove the stress of doing this in an already difficult time, but it will avoid family arguments, and over exuberance. It will also ensure you get the final say on your send off.
LCS can look after all your requirements regarding your Will, winding up your estate after your death and a pre-paid funeral plan. We are currently offering £100 off each Dignity Guaranteed pre-paid funeral plan.
Contact us now on 0345 017 8250 to discuss your needs and find out how we can help you and your family.