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We would always recommend making a will to ensure your wishes are carried out should the worst happen. However, you may decide to take things one step further… More...

It is always difficult when a relative dies. You may be the deceased’s next of kin, but it is extremely helpful to know what if any legal rights you have.

Many people assume that being the next of kin means that you automatically have the right to make decisions and deal with the affairs of your loved one. However, this is not the case.

What are the Next of Kin’s legal rights?

As far as the law is concerned next of kin means nothing with the exception of children aged under 18. The next of kin of a child under 18 may be legally entitled to make decisions for or on behalf of the child.

The term usually means your nearest blood relative. In the case of a married couple or a civil partnership it usually means their husband or wife.

Next of kin is a title that can be given, by you, to anyone from your partner to blood relatives and even friends. It is also possible to name more than one person as your next of kin. This is a title that is primarily used in order for emergency services to know who to keep informed about an individual’s condition and treatment. More...

When your personal circumstances change, it is vitally important you update your Will to ensure that your money and possessions are distributed according to your wishes on death. Getting married is no exception, particularly as the law surrounding Wills and marriage may come as a surprise.

Marrying or entering into a civil partnership automatically revokes a Will, leaving it invalid. The only exception is if your Will is stated to have been made ‘in contemplation of the marriage’. If it is not, and you don’t write a will after marrying, your estate will be dealt with under the rules of intestacy.

Marriage and The Laws of Intestacy

Under the laws of intestacy:

1. If you have no children, your spouse will inherit your whole estate.

2. If you do have children, your spouse will inherit your personal chattels, the first £250,000 of your estate, and a half share of what remains. The other half share will be divided between your children, and they would be entitled to their inheritance at age 18.

The laws of intestacy were drawn up to reflect the social landscape and family structures in the 1920s. Some changes were made in October 2014, but the law nevertheless remains unfit for many people’s circumstances. It is not a good idea to rely on the intestacy laws and you should note that ‘step children’ will receive nothing from your estate if you die intestate.More...

 

Settling Estate Debts

Laith Khatib, who regularly contributes to The Law Gazette, specialises in Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates. Recently, he was asked by the publication to contribute his advice on settling estate debts. The following is a summary of his article:

Settling Estate Debt

An executor is the person in charge of administering the estate of a deceased person, and one of their key responsibilities is to ensure that all debts and liabilities of the deceased and their estate are, where possible, paid. 


Unfortunately, this is not always a simple task. In some cases, the estate may not be able to settle all of its debts and liabilities in full, and in others unknown creditors may be involved.

To avoid encountering problems when discharging debts and responsibilities, executors should take the following steps:

Be fully-aware of the executor’s duties

Any executor who enters into a contract on behalf of an estate is contractually liable to meet its terms. When this contract involves settling a debt, the cost is recoverable from the assets of the estate. However, if the estate’s value falls short, the executor is then personally liable. More...

 

What is Capital Gains Tax?

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is a tax that’s payable on any profit made after selling assets. It is declared and paid through a Self Assessment tax return.

Assets that are subject to Capital Gains Tax if sold at a profit include:

•    Properties – including second homes, buy-to-let properties and agricultural land
•    Business assets
•    Shares
•    Personal possessions worth more than £6,000 which are not classed as “wasting assets”.

A “wasting asset” is one which has a limited lifespan, of 50 years or less.
CGT also applies to any properties that you own and sell overseas, so long as you are a resident of the UK.

What’s exempt from Capital Gains Tax?

More...

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