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      How to Find a Good Family Solicitor?

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      1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

      There are several ways that you can find a good Family Solicitor but one of the tried and tested ways is by personal recommendation either through family or friends. The internet can also be a great tool to help you find a solicitor. Most family law firms offer general advice via their website on the various areas of family law practice. This will help to give you some insight into how they will handle your case. If possible, it would be good to speak with a family solicitor to get an idea of how they would handle your case, their approach towards your matter and how at ease they have made you feel especially as family law can encompass quite highly charged emotions. Following this initial conversation, you might request a full consultation where they can offer you more tailored advice. At Glazer Delmar we offer a fixed fee one hour consultation where we advise on the next steps in your matter, prospects of success and any other available options.

      2. COSTS

      When looking for a Family Solicitor it is important that you are aware of the potential costs involved in seeing your matter through from start to finish as a family matter can be expensive particularly if court litigation is involved. Your Family Solicitor will often be able to provide you with a cost estimate depending on your current circumstances and the course of action that you wish to pursue. In some cases, you may be unaware of the alternative forms of dispute resolution available to you which are often a fraction of the price of court litigation. Here at Glazer Delmar, we aim to resolve your matter in a way that will save you both cost and time.

      3. ANALYSE THEIR APPROACH

      When looking for a Family solicitor it is important to analyse their approach to your matter. You may find that one firm of solicitors places a stronger emphasis on court proceedings in resolving family matters, whereas another may place a greater emphasis on more amicable resolution methods such as mediation or solicitor negotiation. It is vital that your solicitor’s approach is in line with your intended objective as family matters can be very sensitive. Here at Glazer Delmar, pursuing an amicable resolution is always our starting point particularly where children are involved, however we are hands-on when court action seems unavoidable from the onset.

      If you would like more information about any family law matter process, we offer fixed fee initial consultations. Please contact us familyandrelationships@glazerdelmar.com

      family law

      Family Law: Understanding the ‘ins and outs’

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      What is Family Law?

      For many people their family forms some of the closest relationships in their lives.

      Family is not merely defined by having a blood relation to a someone e.g., the relationship between a mother and child but can also be defined through marriage or even adoption.

      Family law’ comprises of a range of different areas not limited to but including:

      • Divorce
      • Dissolution
      • Financial settlement
      • Child Arrangements
      • Domestic Abuse Injunctions
      • Cohabitation

      What do Family Lawyers do?

      A significant part of a Family Lawyers work is to advise clients on legal processes through their application of the law to a client’s specific instructions and advise clients on the merits of their case as well as time estimates for concluding their matter.

      Some other responsibilities for a Family Lawyers, include representation within court proceedings, drafting legal documents, client interviews and legal research. Most importantly Family Lawyers have a duty to ensure that they always act in their client’s best interests.

      When would I need a Family Lawyer?

      The need to instruct a Family Lawyer can arise for a several reasons. A common reason is often surrounding the breakdown of some form of relationship which in turn impacts other aspects of the client’s life, such as children, finances, or domestic abuse.

      Therefore, you might find that when instructing a Family Solicitor in one matter there may a link to another area of Family Law e.g., divorce often triggers child arrangements proceedings as the dynamics of the family change such that a court order is required to regulate contact.

      Others may encounter difficulties within their relationships that they wish to resolve through non court alternatives such as mediation. In which case your Family Lawyer will be able to assist with facilitating this provided that it is safe to do so.

      How much does a Family Lawyer cost?

      The cost of instructing a family lawyer varies depending on the matter which you have instructed for. However, some matters are dealt with under a fixed fee arrangement such as divorce and nullity which covers all of the work that we will be required to carry out until the client’s instructions have been met.

      Conversely other matter such as child arrangements matters are carried out on an hourly rate basis primarily because each case is relative which results in varied outcomes for different clients.

      If you would like to know more about the service Glazer Delmar can offer you, then get in touch today.

      New ‘No-Blame’ Divorce Laws Explained

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      The government recently announced that they are looking at changing current divorce laws in a planned overhaul to modernise divorce procedures to meet with current lifestyle changes and to remove the element of blame from divorce proceedings where one spouse has to prove the fault for the marriage break down was caused by the other. No Blame Divorce Blog

      Although the proposed changes are still in the consultation stage, it is hoped that by removing the element of blame from divorce proceedings that the whole divorce process becomes a less hostile environment for both parties.

      Divorce campaigners have welcomed these proposed changes, saying that the major problem with the divorce process is that it is far too antagonistic. Currently, many divorcing couples have to demonstrate to the court that their marriage has been irretrievably damaged by citing the adultery or unreasonable behaviour of the other partner.

      In cases where one spouse cannot prove that the blame lies with the other, they may face having to wait for two years or more should both partners consent to a divorce, or even face a wait of up to five years or more if one spouse refuses their consent to a divorce. This can be a very stressful and emotional time for both parties, especially where they have children.

      Should the new plans for a ‘no blame’ divorce become law, couples will no longer need to prove that one of them is at fault. This should lead to a more amicable split.

      If you are thinking about starting divorce proceedings, please call 020 8299 0021 or email familyandrelationships@glazerdelmar.com to book an appointment.

      We do not know at present if the suggested reforms will come into law, but we always try to offer a constructive approach to helping you at this difficult time when dealing with the law as it currently stands.

       

       

       

      Why it’s important to change your will after a divorce

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      During a marriage breakdown making a Will or reviewing the provisions of your current Will may not be your priority, however, it is important to consider how the change in your relationship status will affect what happens to your assets on death.

      If you have separated from your spouse, your existing Will will remain valid until any divorce proceedings are finalised. This means that any reference to your spouse in your Wills will be effective so they will still inherit in the event that they are named as a beneficiary.

      In addition, if you do not currently have a Will your spouse will still inherit all or part of your estate in accordance with the statutory rules of intestacy whilst you remain married. Once your divorce is finalised your former spouse will no longer benefit, however your estate will still pass under the intestacy rules rather than to beneficiaries you have chosen. As a result, if you have a new partner or family they may not be provided for.

      It is therefore essential that you review your existing Will, or consider creating a new Will to ensure that on death your estate passes to those you wish to benefit.

      If you are divorced it is equally important that you consider creating or reviewing your Will. Although financial proceedings may have been settled between you and your spouse or civil partner, matters relating to your estate may still be complex and so you should consider taking advice in relation to your potential tax liability and estate planning options.

      If you created a Will before your divorce, this will remain valid however, any reference to your spouse will fail whilst the appointment of any other executors and beneficiaries remain valid. You should therefore review your Will as your spouse or civil partner may have been appointed as an executor and/or a beneficiary.  If no substitute provisions are made, in absence of your former spouse, there may be no one to inherit your property. This could result in your estate being administered under the rules of intestacy rather than at your direction. Updating your Will ensures that your change in circumstance is accounted for.

      For more information please get in touch with our Wills and Probate team here at Glazer Delmar on 020 8299 0021.

      Wills, inheritance tax & probate

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      Despite overwhelming opposition from the legal profession, including bodies such as Solicitors for the Elderly and STEP, the Government is proceeding with plans to increase the fee payable when making probate applications.  The change, which is due to be introduced from May 2017, will see an increase from a flat fee of £155 (or £215 if applied for without a solicitor ) to a fee of up to £20,000, depending upon the value of the estate.  Unlike inheritance tax, there will not be any exemptions available and so the fees will apply irrespective of who inherits the estate.

      The proposed changes together with the introduction of the property nil rate band in April bring further complexity to estate planning and the probate process.  If you would like any further advice about Wills, inheritance tax or the probate process and how the proposed changes this will affect you, please contact our specialist Wills and Probate Department on 029 2039 1058 for more information.

      https://www.solicitorsjournal.com/news/201702/moj-presses-probate-fee-hike-despite-overwhelming-opposition

      Why you should be making a will

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      No one likes to think about it, no one likes to talk about it; but when it comes down to it, it’s extremely important to have a will. Detailing exactly what you would like to happen with your money, assets, property and possessions after you die, a will is the only way that you can be sure that your final wishes are carried out the way you want them.

      It makes things easy for your family and friends
      Obviously, your passing will be an extremely difficult event for your loved ones to say the least, so why not try and ease their stress at this time by sorting out all of your affairs so they don’t have to? No one will know (or if you have told them, they might not remember) exactly how you would like your estate organised, so a will is a great way to make sure that everything you own gets divided up like it should be. Legally binding, there will be no grey areas or confusion about who gets what when you have a will, thus reducing fights and arguments after you go.

      You can look after non-family members
      If you die without a will in place your estate will automatically be shared out between your immediate family in a pre-defined way determined by the law, so if you are close to people who aren’t technically related to you, then they will end up with nothing. This is also the case for if you are not married or not in a civil partnership, if you die without a will then your partner is not entitled to anything you own. A will however, will allow you to leave anything you own to whoever you like, regardless of whether they are a relative or not.

      It may not be the most pleasant thing to think about, but don’t delay, get your legally binding will written today and give yourself and your family peace of mind once and for all.

       

      For more information, please get in touch with us here at Glazer Delmar on: 020 8299 0021.

      A Divorce Doesn’t Have to Mean the January Blues

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      January is notoriously the most popular month of the year for break-ups, divorces and the dissolving of relationships, and there are a number of reasons why. Whether you didn’t want to ruin Christmas, the stresses of the holidays have taken their toll, or you’ve just finally had enough, a separation, whilst tough at first, can often be a blessing in disguise, as long as you follow a few basic steps:

      Get the right legal advice

      Money, houses, cars and kids; divorces can be messy even without the massive decisions that have to be made about these assets, so it is vital that you seek out good legal advice before you go too far.
      A solicitor can help you out in all aspects of your separation, including everything from dividing up your assets, to deciding whether or not you need to take court action.

      Make an informed decision

      It can often be difficult to decide that you really do want a divorce, but if there are children involved it is of course important to act in their best interests too.

      If, at the end of the day, a separation or divorce is the best option for you and your family, your solicitor will help to make the whole process go smoothly and fairly.

      Glazer Delmar is one of South East London’s largest law firms. We have specialist solicitors who can help you with issues including:

      – Divorce
      – Co-habition
      – Civil Partnerships
      – Pre-Nuptials
      – Injunctions
      – Domestic Violence

      For more information please get in touch with us on: 020 8299 0021 or email enquiries@glazerdelmar.com

      Nearly 60% of Adults in the UK Do Not Have a Will

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      A new survey has revealed that 60% of adults in the UK are leaving themselves in the hand of intestacy laws as they do not have a will in place.

      One in four people aged over 55 do not have a will in place, which is down from the previous year. The age group that were least likely to have a will in place were the 18 – 34 age group, with ‘not being wealthy enough’ the most common reason given for not having arranged a will. But with the average homeowner has £214,000 worth of property up from £205,000 in 2015, many are underestimating their true financial wealth.

      Those in the North West of England and London were most likely to not have a will in place at 67% and 64% respectively, this despite higher average property prices in London making a will essential for home owners.

      Having a will in place prevents money, or other assets including property, being distributed under intestacy rules. At Glazer Delmar our team are accessible and approachable, we get a true understanding of your circumstances. Book an appointment to see our team today, Saturday appointments are available.

      An Article by Cheryl Thompson
      Private Client Solicitor

      I am the Head of the Wills and Probate Department at Glazer Delmar. I joined the firm in March 2016, having previously practised for twelve years at a firm in Beckenham and eighteen months at a firm in Surrey. Each change of location has brought with it an acclimatisation period during which I have familiarised myself with the particular demographic of the local area with a view to ensuring that the needs of the community I am serving are fully met by my department.

      Whilst, I have embraced life in East Dulwich and am delighted to be here I have very quickly become aware of the need to drive home the message about the importance of having a validly executed Will in place. When you have worked for forty years or more, to acquire a home and build a nest egg to provide financial security for yourself and your loved ones, you deserve the certainty of knowing that those you wish to benefit from your endeavours will do so. You should also exercise your freedom to take advice to ensure that your affairs are arranged as tax efficiently as possible so that in the event of your death the Exchequer receives only the Inheritance tax your estate should bear rather than the Inheritance tax your estate will bear because you were uninformed and did not exercise choices which are available to you. Many people are unaware that tax planning is an intrinsic part of the Will making process.

      If my message so far isn’t a strong enough rallying cry for action on your part, perhaps a further motivating consideration is that when Inheritance tax bites the rate of tax payable is a massive 40% of your chargeable estate.

      During the 1980’s through to the early 1990’s (prior to entering private practice) I worked for HM Revenue & Customs Inheritance Tax Office. I am therefore very aware that, where once Inheritance tax was payable primarily by the privileged and those with a very comfortable financial cushion, today as a result of property price inflation, particularly in the South East, the tax has a far reaching impact on us all.

      The long arm of Intestacy

      When an individual dies without making a Will their estate is distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy. I will not set out the Intestacy Rules in this article but I will pose this question:

      ‘When you started your working life, if asked who you would select to decide how and to whom your assets are to be divided and distributed in the event of your death, would you have chosen the Government ?’

      If, the answer to the question above is ‘No’, please read on.

      We live in a society where individuals enjoy greater social freedoms than previously. A by product of this is that our personal concept of ‘family’ may be very unique and individual. It is not possible for Statute to address our personal uniqueness and individuality, which means that a statute based solution to dealing with your estate on death will in all probability create problems and possibly discord.

      Situations I routinely encounter are:

      • An estate comprising a property valued in the region of £1 million, nominal liquid assets with a number of beneficiaries entitled to part of the estate under the Rules of Intestacy.

      Problems which arise in connection with the above:

      How will the Inheritance tax be paid ?
      What if the property is the home of one of the beneficiaries?
      What rights if any does the resident beneficiary have ?
      Who will act as the Administrator of the Estate ?
      What happens if there are a number of beneficiaries with an equal right to act as Administrator and they do not get on ?

      •  An estate where the Spouse/Civil Partner who dies first has all assets of value registered in their sole name.

      Problems which arise in connection with the above:

      Will the provision for the surviving Spouse/Civil Partner under the Rules of Intestacy be sufficient for the surviving Spouse/Civil Partner’s needs ?
      Did the first to die have children from a previous relationship who will be entitled to part of the estate under the Rules of Intestacy ?
      What action can the surviving Spouse/Civil Partner take to remedy their situation if the provision under the Rules of Intestacy is insufficient ?
      How much will the litigation on behalf of the surviving Spouse/Civil Partner cost and where does the money to pay the costs come from ?

      • An estate where one of an unmarried couple with children dies

      Problems which arise in connection with the above:

      As the Rules of Intestacy do not recognise relationships other than Marriage and Civil Partnership, the beneficiaries under the Rules of Intestacy will be the children.

      What are the remedies available to the surviving partner ?
      How much will the litigation cost?
      Are the costs payable from the estate?
      Who ‘wins’ here ?

      My aim with this article is not to cause alarm but to be thought provoking and emphasise the importance of making a Will and organising your personal affairs.

      I am pleased to advise you that the Private Client Department at Glazer Delmar has two specialist practitioners, myself and my colleague Charlotte Mandy and that we are both happy to provide you with advice tailored to your particular circumstances in respect of this area of law.

      Cheryl Thompson Direct Dial: 020 8613 5118
      Charlotte Mandy Direct Dial:   020 8613 5110

      New High for Legacies Left in Wills

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      New data has revealed that 37,000 wills in England, Scotland and Wales had a legacy donation in 2015; this was the highest number ever recorded from date by Smee & Ford.

      The 2015 year saw a 6.7% increase in the number of requests to leave money to a charity in a will. The average number of charities donated to by a donor was 3, resulting in 121,000 bequests in wills and totalling approximately £2.5bn worth of donations to charities.
      This data comes at the end of Remember a Charity week, a campaign set up in 2000 to encourage more people to leave a charitable gift in their will.

      Rob Cope, director of Remember a Charity, said: “Legacies have never been more important to charities and this year’s findings are great news for the sector, showing that more people are choosing to remember a charity in their will than ever before.

      At Glazer Delmar we provide a range of services from our team that can help you make or update a will in confidence. We are committed to the Code of Practice for the Elderly to communicate in a clear and understandable way with dignity and respect. Call us on: 020 8299 0021 to make an appointment.

      Lasting Powers of Attorney

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      We have all seen articles along these lines about the NHS. If we are honest, we sometimes read the whole article, but on many occasions we skim through it or abandon it part way because of the unpalatable nature of the content.

      Regrettably, we as individuals cannot fix the NHS nor can we fix our health when it fails us. What we can do, is ensure that we have put in place appropriate arrangements so that if ill health strikes, our wishes in respect of health and welfare matters are complied with, our property and finances are able to be managed for us and our families are protected from additional stress arising in connection with administrative matters at a time when they are already overwhelmed.

      Making a Lasting Power of Attorney is a very important part of organising your personal affairs and selecting the individuals you would like to act on your behalf when you are unable to represent yourself. Regrettably this is an area which is often overlooked, until it is too late.

      The Private Client Department at Glazer Delmar has two specialist practitioners Cheryl Thompson and Charlotte Mandy, who are happy to provide comprehensive advice in respect of this area of law.

      Do not allow life’s events to jeopardise your right to exercise choice in respect of healthcare matters or leave your property and financial affairs unmanaged. Making Lasting Powers of Attorney while you are in good health is much the same as taking out an insurance policy. You sincerely hope there will be no need to use it but have the reassurance of knowing it is there should the need arise.

      For all enquiries please contact:

      Cheryl Thompson on 020 8613 5118
      or
      Charlotte Mandy on 020 8613 5110