Estates: on 6th February 2020, the statutory legacy is increasing to £270,000.

Janet Strong, Associate Solicitor in our Wills and Estates Team

If someone dies without making a Will, they are called “intestate”. There are  rules setting out who should inherit in such circumstances.

If the person who has died does not have any surviving issue (children or other descendants), their surviving husband, wife or civil partner receives everything.

If the person who died had a husband, wife or civil partner and children, the husband, wife or civil partner is entitled to personal belongings; a “statutory legacy” (which is currently the first £250,000 from the estate); and half of any estate which is left.

There are further rules setting out who should inherit if the person who died did not have a husband, wife, civil partner, children or grandchildren.

For deaths after 6th February, the statutory legacy will be increasing to from £250,000 to £270,000.

Sometimes, certain family members or dependants can make a claim against an estate if they do not feel that these rules make reasonable financial provision for them. This might be the case, for example, where a couple is not married, or if stepchildren are involved.

To avoid the need to rely on the rules of intestacy, it is best to make a Will so that you can set out who should inherit your estate.

If you would like to discuss Wills, or would like advice regarding the estate of someone who has died (whether they have made a Will or not) , please contact me or one of my colleagues in our Wills and Estates department on 01793 532363 or janet.strong@bevirs-law.co.uk

Divorce reforms back on the table

As Parliament returns from its Christmas break, many family lawyers will be pleased to note that divorce reform is back on the agenda.

The Divorce, Separation and Dissolution Bill was first introduced in June 2019. However, progress has been thwarted twice, first due to prorogation of Parliament and then due to the December general election. However, on 6th January 2020, it was finally introduced to the House of Lords.

The current law surrounding divorce requires spouses to evidence one of five “facts” to demonstrate that a marriage has broken down irretrievably; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation (with consent) or five years separation (without consent).

Studies show that 90% of family practitioners believe that the law in this area is outdated. It often requires separating parties to point a finger of blame and drag up allegations of conduct. Invariably, this exacerbates what is already an emotionally charged situation, causing unnecessary stress and heartache for the whole family, including any children.

By introducing a no-fault divorce, needless antagonism will be removed from the divorce process. The requirement to evidence one of the five facts will be replaced with a statement of irretrievable breakdown. Parallel changes will also be made to the law in respect of civil partnerships.

There appears to be a general consensus in Parliament that this bill delivers much needed reform without undermining the institution of marriage. For family lawyers who have long campaigned for a no-fault divorce process, this is welcomed news.

For advice on all family related matters, please contact our specialist team at Bevirs Law.

Heather Reilly – Solicitor in our Family Team

More good news for 2020!

Congratulations to Emily Bourne; who after being with the firm for 6 years has now become a Chartered Legal Executive. Well done Emily; from everyone at Bevirs.

Emily Bourne – Chartered Legal Executive in our Residential Property Team

A great start to the New Year!

Today we thought we’d share some positive feedback received from a client about their experience with our Family Team.

“Heather has been my solicitor for over a year now and from start to finish has been friendly, professional and has gone above and beyond to ensure I was always kept informed of everything in the court proceedings and that I had good understanding of every possible outcome. I would just like to thank Heather for all her hard work, I truly appreciate the time and effort you have put into my case”. Anon.

For expert family law advice, please contact a member of the team at Bevirs Law.

Heather Reilly, Solicitor in our Family Team