DIY Probate – How to get a UK Grant of Probate by yourself

Yes – it is possible to obtain probate without going through a solicitor.  This is a short guide on what to do when your loved one has passed away and how to obtain probate. Probate is where you make an application for the authority to handle the deceased estate and distribute their assets.  Please note that by making an application yourself you will only save on solicitor’s professional fees.  You will still have to pay the court fee and a number of other disbursements by making a personal application. It may also be likely that you have to pay inheritance...

We’ve joined Remember a Charity

Freeman Harris are proud to announce that we have recently become a Campaign Supporter for “Remember A Charity”. We are aware that charitable legacies contribute around £2.5 billion a year to good causes across the UK.  Many charities rely on these gifts to help them carry on their vital work.  However, despite being a philanthropic nation, only 6.3% of the UK population go on to leave a charitable Will.  By joining RAC, Freeman Harris hopes to change this and support a large number of nationwide charities. We have agreed to RAC’s Charter, which is designed to help further RACs aim...

Benefits of providing gifts to charities

Whilst public spending cuts have increased this year, the Government has given a major tax incentive to those who wish to leave money to charity upon death. Currently inheritance tax is charged at 40%, but by leaving a part or all of your estate to one or more charities, this will reduce or eradicate your estate’s inheritance tax liability altogether.  By leaving a legacy or a percentage of your estate to charity, this will not be included for inheritance tax as charities are deemed to be ‘exempt beneficiaries’ or non-tax payers.    Therefore, should you decide to leave everything to charity,...

Our aim to raise £100,000 for Cancer Research UK

We have recently launched a new partnership with Cancer Research UK with a goal to raise over £100,000 in the next year. This money will go towards supporting the charity in an effort to beat cancer and continue their life saving research. In support of the partnership, we are providing a Free Will Service. To qualify for a Free Will* with Freeman Harris you must: Be aged 55 or over You must complete, sign and date the Free Will Service form from CRUK to give to us. You must also sign our invoice upon completion of your Will. Our Wills...

Solicitors: Professionals To Write Your Will

Solicitors are still the best option for Wills – Report by Will Aid In a public survey conducted by Will Aid, the charity Will writing scheme, they have found that solicitors have been chosen as the best option to ensure that people’s wishes are carried out effectively in their Wills. According to Will Aid’s research, 62% of people who made a Will last year used a solicitor, 12% a will-writer and 9% made a home-produced Will while others used DIY store bought Will packets. Whilst there has been an increase with people using online Will-writing services, a large majority of...

What is a ‘Stateless Person’?

It might seem unfathomable, but some people belong to no country. Imagine having no national identity, no passport or no place to really call home. Statelessness happens in a variety of ways; sometimes people are born into statelessness, sometimes they become stateless later in their lives. Many people who are stateless have never even crossed an international border or left the country they grew up in. Citizenship and the state Citizenship of a nation doesn’t just provide a sense of belonging. It is a bond between person and state. It gives you the right to have rights. Citizenship allows you...

Tax implications for inheriting and gifting property

There are a number of tax concerns to consider when you decide to either gift your property to your children or family members whilst you are alive or when you decide to leave your property to them in your Will. What happens when you are given property in a Will? You may find that you are a beneficiary under a Will where property has been left to you. As a beneficiary you can decide to either sell the property or have it transferred into your name (unless you hold the property as Joint Tenants). Read frequently asked questions about Wills Capital...

Residential Nil Rate Band (RNRB) – What is it and how it can affect you

Background Each individual can leave up to £325,000 (‘Nil Rate Band’) of their estate to a beneficiary which is free from inheritance tax (IHT). For spouses or widows you can combine two nil rate bands together giving you a total of £650,000 of which no IHT is payable. Any estate worth more than £325,000 (individual) or £650,000 (combined), the remainder is taxed at 40%. This means that if you are widowed when you die and have an estate worth £1,000,000, the first £650,000 allowance is applied leaving you with £350,000 which is then taxed at 40%. Introduction of the Residential...

Orders under Section 8 of the Children’s Act 1989

What types of Orders are there? Residence Orders A residence order is “an order settling the arrangements to be made as to the person with whom a child is to live”. This can be granted to anyone, and not just a parent. Shared Residence Orders A shared residence order is an order shared between two people. They do not necessarily have to live together. Contact Orders A contact order decides whether the child should have regular contact with the “contact parent”. This includes meetings, letters, emails, telephone calls and video calls. The meetings can also be supervised, if there is...

Freeze on probate fees

The UK government has been discussing an increase of probate court fees for over a year, but due to the upcoming general election, they have decided not to proceed. The proposal was for a 9,300% increase in fees to the current rate of £215 per application.  This meant that estates worth over £50,000 would have to pay a much larger court fee that could be anywhere from £300 to £20,000 pounds.  The UK government said that this significant jump in fees was to raise over £300 million a year in order to fund the courts and tribunal services. The reason...