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New Year’s Resolutions from our Personal Legal Services Team

Posted on 20th January, 2020

From our Wills, Trusts & Probate Team

Make a Will!

It goes without saying that we all need to make a Will as we are all going to go at some point … make 2020 the year that you get your affairs in order and a Will put in place! A lot of people put off making a Will as they think it is too complicated or don’t think that they have the time; we can assist in making a Will a simple and painless process.  Once you have made a Will it is easier to then keep it under review going forward.  To those who have made a Will already, we recommend that in 2020 you make sure it is still up to date. Dealing with your Estate will be so much simpler if you have a Will as you have put in black and white exactly who you want to sort everything out for you and who you want to receive what. Please make, making a Will one of your resolutions!

Make Lasting Powers of Attorney

These can be vitally important legal documents and we tend to find that not many people know what they are. You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs and for Health and Welfare; in each you can nominate people to make decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself. We would explain them best as a bit like an insurance policy; hopefully, you will never need them once they are made but if you do not have one then it can make things quite difficult for your loved ones to help with any financial transactions or health decisions. You are also never too young to plan ahead with making Lasting Powers of Attorney as lack of mental capacity can unfortunately happen at any time either through an accident or illness. We would recommend that in 2020 you put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place!

Helen Milburn, Head of Wills Trusts and Probate

From our Family Team

New Year Wedding Plans? Resolve to put your finances in order with a pre-nuptial agreement

Romantic, Paul “Macca” McCartney, chose not to have a pre-nup prior to his marriage to Heather Mills. It cost him £24.3 million as a result. “A hard day’s night”.

A “pre-nup” or prenuptial agreement documents how a couple wishes any assets or liabilities acquired pre-marriage and during the marriage to be shared between them if the relationship breaks down. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. The average cost of divorce is reported as £43,958 (The Telegraph, 16/1/2020). This highlights the value of agreeing what should happen to assets if the relationship breaks down. Pre-nups aim to limit the potential claims on the wealth of one party by the other.

Though not legally binding, a pre-nup can have a decisive influence when it comes to financial settlements, (see Radmacher v Granatino (2010)). The court aims to obtain a fair settlement during divorce proceedings and considers a number of factors including: the needs of the parties, and their children, the parties’ incomes ages and health and the length of the marriage.

When considering a pre-nup the following background factors are key:

  1. Did both parties obtain independent legal advice?
  2. Did the parties provide full and frank financial disclosure?
  3. Is the agreement fair and does it address the parties’ and their children’s needs?   Pre-nups skewed in favour of one party are likely to be perceived as unfair.
  4. Was there pressure to sign? This potentially includes undue pressure both from the future spouse as well as a third party, such as a family member. Those parties signing off pre-nups within 28 days prior the wedding may be construed as being done under duress. The courts will also take account of whether there was any significant difference in age and experience between the parties. Did the party with the most to lose understand the pre-nup ?

If you resolve to marry in 2020, careful consideration should be given if you have:

  1. Property acquired before the marriage and you want to protect it.
  2. You are re-marrying and you wish to limit the claims by your future spouse against a pre-marriage assets.
  3. You have children from a previous marriage and wish ringfence specific assets, should your marriage break down.

Will pre-nups become legally binding in the future? The Law Commission, in February 2014, recommended the introduction of “qualifying nuptial agreements”. This was met with some criticism, including Lady Hale, who highlighted that pre-nups only take account the situation at the time of signing, as well as the dangers of leaving a spouse (typically a woman) financially disadvantaged. A Bill was drafted but did not make it past its second reading in the House of Commons.

Resolution?:   Pre-nups are not legally binding but they are highly persuasive to a Court if entered into with the benefit of legal advice and financial disclosure.

Heather Snowdon, Head of Family

From our Residential Conveyancing/New Build Team

Well here we are, officially a new decade has dawned and we have somehow entered 2020. It seems only five minutes ago that we were celebrating the millennium and worrying about how all computers, TVs and electrical items were going to die as a result of the millennium bug!! Anyway, that didn’t happen and instead we are about to leave the European Union on 31st January and enter the unknown of BREXIT.

Aside from the ever changing political landscape, the new year festivities also provide the annual worry of what our “new years resolution” can be. I personally don’t usually sign up to a new years resolution as quite frankly they are somewhat of a fad which the majority of us give up within 2-3 weeks maximum, but the dawn of a new decade has led me to join the movement and join the masses in picking a resolution.

My personal new years resolution is to eat more healthily, exercise more and stress less. In an ever increasing modern society it is sometimes difficult to achieve a good work life balance but it is probably the most important thing we can do for ourselves. Health and mental well being are far too often overlooked and a secondary thought, but these are real issues which increase stress, sickness in the workplace and sadly long term health. At Jacksons the partners and staff appreciate the ever increasing need for a healthy work life balance and offer a flexible approach to life to enable us to achieve this.

Perhaps your new years resolution is to finally move house or re locate. If you are currently thinking of doing this then our new build property and residential property teams at Jacksons are well equipped to assist. Like our work life balance commitment, we also try and ensure a smooth transaction when buying a house. Whether you are someone who likes face to face meetings, dealing with everything via e mail or are a little more traditional and like posted letters, we can offer all of these to suit your requirements. We have a wealth of experience and people available to provide the service you require so please do bear us in mind if your new years resolution is a new property!!

Finally, if you aren’t thinking of moving house and are just struggling for some inspiration, then here are a few more traditional ideas for you

  1. Measure activity, not results.
  2. Write what scares you.
  3. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
  4. Try a new genre.
  5. Write when you don’t feel like it.
  6. Do your research.
  7. Rewrite until it hurts.

Finally – all the best for 2020 and the year ahead!

Jonathan Wall, Head of New Build


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