Have you ever wondered how the law can have a positive impact on developments in your life? Read our 2019 newsletter on how the law can help you make informed decisions on some of life’s challenges; ensuring that you are in control – whatever life brings. You can download the General Newsletter as a PDF here Thomas Dunton 2019 Newsletter (3MB)
Or you can read the articles below:
How can we help?
Appointing a solicitor is not something that we consider very often. We only think we need one if things go awry, right? Wrong. Like most things in life, careful legal planning can often be the key to success. As solicitors we are here if you need us in a crisis, but we hope that we offer more than that. We like to think that we also support positive developments in your life. If it’s getting your Will in place, moving home, or if you are thinking of changing your family circumstances; we can provide legal advice that keeps you in control.
Here if you need us.
If you think you require our help, please feel free to contact us. We always speak in plain English. It will mean you can cross those legal tasks off your to-do list, leaving time to enjoy the good things that life offers without thinking ‘what if’ about the boring grown-up bits.
Are you moving home?
Buying your home is one of the most exciting times of your life and it will probably be your biggest expense too. So it’s important that you choose the right solicitors’ firm. Here are five key considerations to help you make the right decision:
1. Always check that a solicitor or a Chartered Legal Executive will be handling your case and not someone unqualified.
2. Ensure that you can speak to them directly and ask for their direct line and email. This is important when you require an update urgently.
3. Make sure that their quote is simple and includes ALL foreseeable costs.
4. They should confirm they have an excellent relationship with the local estate agents so that things are kept on track and progressed quickly.
5. Look for the Law Society’s accreditation for conveyancing quality and the Lexcel audit logo. Both provide peace of mind that your case is dealt with by professionals who adhere to enhanced standards of professional conduct.
At Thomas Dunton, we pride ourselves that we follow all of the above as standard practice.
Children and Divorce
Family is the most important thing to all of us, and so it can be an upsetting and challenging time for everyone if you decide to split from your spouse. Agreeing childcare arrangements as amicably as possible will, however help all members of the family adjust to their new lives. It will also mean that the courts may not be involved which will be beneficial to everyone. To help things go as smoothly as possible, you should consider:
Where the children will live
When they spend time with each parent
When and what types of contact take place
What to do about holidays, such as Christmas and summer holidays
If you are in agreement.
Once you are both happy with the childcare arrangements, they can be drawn up in an agreement. This will ensure that everyone is clear on the situation and leaves no ‘grey’ areas. We can write this for you to ensure that it is legally correct.
What to do if you can’t agree.
If you are struggling to agree with your ex-partner about what is best for your children, then you should consider mediation as a possible route to a solution. Mediators will not take sides, nor judge, and can help achieve a beneficial outcome for everyone.
What should you do if you have an accident that is not your fault?
If you have suffered an injury that was not your fault, you can help your legal case by:
1. Writing down your own statement while it is fresh in your mind
2. Taking photos of the scene where the accident happened
3. Getting details of witnesses to support your case
4. Keeping a detailed record of how the accident has impacted on your life
5. Obtaining copies of the police report or accident report book
Are you an Executor of a Will?
If you find yourself as an executor of a Will there are certain legal obligations and duties which you are responsible for. Distributing the deceased’s assets to heirs and arranging payment for applicable debts, taxes and expenses is often referred to as the probate process. This can be daunting and lengthy, and as an executor, you could be held financially/legally responsible if you do not carry out the administration duties in accordance with the law.
The benefits of instructing a solicitor to help with the probate process?
As professionals who deal with probate on a daily basis, solicitors can ease the stress of this complex process because they are aware of the legal, tax and property issues surrounding probate. They will also know what to ask for, from whom and when. This will often result in a quicker, compliant and more efficient outcome. Their expertise, through their step by step guidance, can provide reassurance at this upsetting time.
You may find that the deceased’s estate is subject to Inheritance Tax. This can be a complicated process. However, a solicitor is well versed in this area and can ensure that you only pay what is legally owed.
Estates held in Trust
Trusts are often established by a Will, although their existence may not be immediately obvious. There are tax and legal implications surrounding such trusts and your solicitor can guide you through these complicated rules.
If the Will is contested then disputes may arise. Having the security of knowing that a solicitor will be able to inform you of your options can prove invaluable.
If required, solicitors can also ensure that all payments owing on the estate are paid (including capital gains tax, inheritance tax and income tax if applicable). They will also liaise with third parties (including beneficiaries, estate agents and financial institutions) and complete administrative forms.
Are you thinking of challenging a Will?
Do you believe that you have been treated unfairly in a Will? Perhaps you did not receive what you thought you would or you have concerns that the Will is invalid.
Who can make a Dependency Claim against a Will?
If you feel that a Will does not make reasonable financial provision for you, and if you fall under one of the categories below, then you may be able to make a dependency claim under the Inheritance Act 1975:
• You are the spouse or civil partner of the deceased
• You are an ex-spouse or former civil partner of the deceased, and have not remarried or formed a new civil partnership
• You had, during the whole of the period of two years ending immediately before the deceased’s death, lived in the same household as if you were the husband, wife or civil partner of the deceased
• You are a child of the deceased
• You are not the child of the deceased, but treated as such by the deceased.
• You were maintained by the deceased immediately before their death.
When can you dispute a Will?
Time limits on bringing a claim against a Will may apply, and they vary depending on the type of claim that you wish to bring. If you are considering contesting a Will there may be steps you need to take as soon as the person has died to protect your position – it is therefore important that you get legal advice quickly.
What makes a Will invalid?
You may also be able to contest a Will if you think that it is not valid. There are several reasons why a Will can be legally proven to be invalid, but the main ones include:
• the deceased lacked sufficient mental capacity to make their Will
• the Will was forged
• the deceased was unduly influenced
• the Will was drafted incorrectly.
What happens next?
If you think that you have a valid claim against a Will you should speak to a solicitor straight away. They will be able to establish whether you have grounds to proceed with your case.
At Thomas Dunton we have several years’ experience in this field and will always try and avoid court proceedings by adopting other methods of resolution which include mediation and negotiation.
Thomas Dunton Facts:
92% of our clients would recommend us to their friends and family
All our staff have been trained as Dementia Friends
We’ve been on the High Street for 40 years
We helped over 100s of clients with their legal needs last year
SRA – Good to know
We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and they have asked all of their members to be clear on their prices for conveyancing, probate matters and employment issues, also the capabilities of their staff. This means that you will know exactly what you are paying for. It’s also good news for us as we have always been very clear on both.
What are Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)?
• Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are legal documents which allows you to give authority to others if you are unable to make decisions for yourself
• There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney: a Property and Finance LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA
• Authority should be given to someone you trust completely, who will act in your best interests. They will be your attorneys and ideally you should appoint two or three
• Attorneys do not need any legal training to act for you
• LPAs provide peace of mind, like an insurance policy; they allow you to control the choice of people who will make key decisions for you, aft er you’ve lost mental capacity.
Cycling and the law
Cyclists are some of the most vulnerable road users with over 18,000* injured in road accidents in 2016. Whilst it is a great way to travel there are some considerations to ensure your safety.
Wearing a helmet – although this is not a legal requirement, the Highway Code recommends wearing one to protect against head injuries during a collision.
Light up – there is a legal duty to have front and rear lights, as well as pedal reflectors. Be safe, be seen.
Follow the Highway code – this means not jumping red lights, not cycling on the pavement and being aware of vehicles. Always ride positively, decisively and remain visible at all times.
Don’t drink and drive – it is a criminal offence to be incapable of having proper control of a cycle due to the effects of alcohol or drugs.
If you have been involved in an accident, we are here to help. Our personal injury department can help you get back on track.
*Department for Transport (2017) ‘Reported road casualties in Great Britain: 2016 annual report’
The information in this newsletter is of a general nature and may not reflect your individual circumstances. Please also note that details may change as legislation dictates.