Choosing the right solicitor

When choosing a solicitor, you must research the different solicitors in your area before selecting the right one for you. You can do this through the Legal Complaints Service website.  You can search through solicitors and their specialities on the site and see if they are covered under the regulatory body’s guidelines. However, if you want more personalized advice, then speak to a member of the Law Society or the Legal Complaints Service.

Once you have spoken to a solicitor and received legal advice, it is up to you to follow the legal direction given to you by your solicitor. If you have any concerns or questions about proceeding, you must ask your solicitor for clarification straight away.

If you do not ask, then you will not receive!

What Details Go into a Parenting Plan

Family separations are never easy but one thing that can help lay out the ground rules and help keep everyone amiable is by creating a Parenting Plan. This plan is a written document that details what both parents have agreed upon that helps prioritise the best interest of the child or children.

Parenting Plans Can Include, but are not limited to:

• Which parent the children mainly resides with
• How the children’s education, mental or physical health issues are dealt with
• When time is spent with the non-resident parent and extended family
• How communication and information sharing between the parents will be accomplished
• Whether shared care will take place and the details of how that process will work
• How financial support will be provided
• How a parent should introduce new partners into the children’s lives

These plans do not concern any household/financial settlements or division of assets, they are solely based on how issues will be dealt with for any children involve. Parenting plans are a useful tool for ensuring that throughout separation, conflict over the children’s interests are minimised.

Why Should You Get a Power of Attorney?

The importance of a Power of Attorney is greater that most people know. No one really wants to consider being in a situation where they cannot make decisions for themselves, but these things do happen on occasion and it is important to have a plan in place. If something were to befall you that caused you to lose your decision-making capacity and you do not have a Power of Attorney, there is no one that automatically has the right to make decisions on your behalf.

This tends to come to a shock to many people as it is usually assumed that a spouse or close family member would automatically be given this right but this is not the case, unless you have given them legal authority through a PoA. In the case there is not PoA, family members can appeal to be granted these powers but the process is long and expensive. It typically costs around £2,000 and requires a court hearing.

What happens if you never make a will?

If you were to not make a will, when you pass away, you will have died ‘intestate’.

Think of a will as a set of statutory rules, which specify how your assets are distributed to family members, and this can be in a fixed order. If you have no family members then your assets will go to the Crown. The real risk of ‘dying intestate’ is that you will not have have a say on who gets what, and after all, they are still your belongings! We can understand that if you had some family members whom you would not wish to inherit your assets, this may be a wise option, but there should always be a better cause than the Crown in our opinion. Even if you were to give the money to charity it would make more sense, so this is why it’s so important to ensure you have a will. Likewise, any people who are not blood relatives, such as unmarried partners, may not receive anything. It is therefore critical that you make a will to avoid this situation if you don’t want your loved one to miss out.

Joint Property Ownerships: The potential problems

Let’s first explain what joint property ownership is. If a property is held jointly with right of survivorship, when the first owner dies, the surviving joint owners in the normal course automatically become the owner of all of the property. So let’s say a brother and a sister own a house together. They each have two children.

When the parents have both passed, they will each own a quarter of the property. There are potential problems with this though, and it’s usually due to a conflict of interests. If one individual wants to keep the property but the others want to sell, the property will be sold, unless the one that wants to keep it can buy the others out, but of course a price needs to be agreed one. That can be the case if two want to sell, they can force the sale, so really it’s just a case of an individual or a couple of individuals in this instance feeling as though they’re losing control, and this can often cause disputes.