Unrecognizable seniors remembering their old times by looking at photo album.Probate and Timescales

When a loved one passes away there can seem to be no end to the things to organise from the funeral to house clearance and dealing with the financial affairs. Combined with the experience of grief and supporting those around you this is a difficult time.

Some people find that getting straight on with the administrative work is a useful point of focus at this time but for others it is all too much too soon.

At Wheelers Solicitors we see families at all stages of the process including within days of someone passing away to many months afterwards. For those families who are only very recently bereaved we always advise them that dealing with the funeral is their first priority and that most administrative aspects of the Estate can be dealt with in time when they are ready to do so.

In terms of the actual timescales if Inheritance Tax will be payable then the application for the Grant of Probate must be made within six months of the date of death or there will be financial penalties and interest to pay to HMRC.

In terms of completing the administration and paying gifts to the beneficiaries these should be completed in a timely fashion and there is a notional “Executor’s year” which means the aim to complete the administration should be within a year, although more complex Estates can take even longer.

Wheelers Solicitors in Newport, Isle of Wight, offer free consultations for all aspects of Estate Administration. Please call us on (01983) 533938 to arrange an appointment with our Probate Practitioner Lewis Wheeler or send us a message through our website.

2018 is shaping up to be another challenging one in the UK property market and for conveyancers.

The continued negotiations over Brexit, potential further interest rate rises, changes to leasehold sales and the effects of the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers are among the key issues that will affect home buyers and sellers and, consequently, the legal teams involved in property transactions.

Today’s Conveyancer takes a look at seven of the most important topics they believe will dominate the conveyancing landscape in 2018.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

We’re more than two months into the new Stamp Duty Land Tax regime where first-time buyers are exempt from paying stamp duty on properties worth up to £300,000 and on the first £300,000 of properties worth up to £500,000. The change has added further complexity to stamp duty with four different rates now applying to residential property transactions – for first-time buyers, home movers, second homes or buy-to-lets and limited company purchases.

Interest rates

A rise of 0.25 percent in the Bank of England base rate to 0.5 percent in November 2017 was the first rate rise in a decade, but many economists expect further rises in 2018. With the inevitable knock-on effect on mortgage interest rates, a large number of home buyers and movers are likely to be affected.

Mining risks

Disused mine shafts are a known issue across many parts of England and Wales and can be the cause of sinkholes – sudden large holes that appear in the ground – that can cause catastrophic damage to property. Recently lenders have refused to secure mortgages against properties close to mine shafts. Conveyancers have a duty to clients to carry out the most thorough investigation of a property and its environs. While a mining search is an optional one in conveyancing, Searches UK recommends commissioning a detailed search that covers the different types of mining that has been carried out in the UK; for example, coal and brine, tin and metal, limestone and bath stone.

Streamlining the buying and selling process

The Conveyancing Association has drawn up proposals to streamline and speed up the way property is bought and sold in a White Paper entitled Modernising The Home Moving Process. Among its suggestions are reducing the risk of fraud and money laundering through centralisation of how parties’ identities are verified and requiring a legal commitment to reduce the number of failed transactions. Along with Housing Secretary Sajid Javid’s commitment to housing reform and wholesale changes in leasehold practices, there could be significant changes ahead.

Digitisation, Bitcoin and blockchain technology

Technology may well be No.1 on many people’s lists of the key issues to watch in 2018. We’ve already seen the first purchase of UK property using Bitcoin, and blockchain encryption is being used to exchange contracts digitally. Meanwhile, the Land Registry is proceeding with its digital transformation, which includes a digital mortgage signature service. While none of these innovations are going to transform the conveyancing industry or systems overnight, they have the potential to be the pre-cursors of a game-changing system.

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

On May 25, 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into force. The first significant legislation affecting data privacy in more than two decades, the GDPR will introduce new protective measures for personal data, affecting how firms store client and employee data and how they can market their services. There will be severe financial penalties imposed for data breaches, so it is crucial legal firms take steps now to ensure they’re compliant with the new legislation.

This article was submitted to be published by Searches UK as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not necessarily those of Wheelers Solicitors Ltd.

Red refund signYou can get part of your application fee back if you applied to register a power attorney from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2017.

This applies to lasting powers of attorney (LPA) and enduring powers of attorney (EPA).

You can only claim a refund if you made the power of attorney in England or Wales.

Who can claim a refund

You can make a claim if you’re:

  • the ‘donor’ – the person who made the power of attorney
  • an ‘attorney’ – appointed by the donor in an LPA or EPA

The refund must be paid to the donor.

You only need to make one claim per donor, even if you made more than one power of attorney.

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