Good News For The Property Market!

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On 8 July 2020 the Government announced an immediate suspension of Stamp Duty until 31 March 2021 for homebuyers purchasing a property up to the value of £500,000.

For those homebuyers you will pay no Stamp Duty on any residential purchase of up to £500,000 . This is a tax saving of up to £15,000.

Changes to Stamp Duty charges will also benefit those buying additional properties for investment or as a buy-to-let who will now only pay 3% tax on purchases of up to £500,000. This means whereas prior to 8 July 2020 you would have paid £30,000 stamp duty to purchase a £500,000 house, you will now only have to pay £15,000.

This welcome news will also benefit anyone wishing to sell their property as it is likely to bring many more buyers to the table wishing to take advantage of this huge short term tax saving.

If you would like to discuss the Stamp Duty changes or would like advice on selling or purchasing a property we at Kenyon Son & Craddock have a specialist team who would like to help. Please feel free to contact us by email at info@ksandc.co.uk or by telephone on 01405 813108.

Electrical Safety Checks for Landlords of Residential Tenancies

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On the 1st of July 2020 the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 will come into force in England and Wales.

The effect of these Regulations is that all private Landlords of Tenancies commencing on or after the 1st of July 2020 will be required to have electrical safety inspections and a condition report (EICR) carried out by an appropriately qualified person. The Landlord then has to provide a copy of the EICR to their Tenants confirming that the inspection has been carried out and that the property complies with the standards of the Eighteenth Edition of the Wiring Regulations.

The EICR must be given to the Tenants before they have started their occupation of the property or whenever the Certificate is replaced following a new inspection and in addition within 28 days of any request from the Tenant, a prospective Tenant or the Local Authority.

An EICR is valid for five years and care should be taken to ensure a replacement is obtained before the expiry date given in the Certificate.

 

Existing Tenancies

Landlords of properties with existing Tenancies, that is those which have commenced prior to 1st of July 2020, have until the 1st of April 2021 to have the inspection carried out and the Certificate provided to the Tenant.

It is extremely important that Landlords understand that although they may have what are considered to be safe electrical installations that it does not matter whether the installation is safe if it does not comply with the Eighteenth Edition of the Wiring Regulations then it will not receive a satisfactory EICR and will need to be upgraded to comply with those Regulations otherwise the Landlord is in breach of the rules.

The penalty for failing to comply with obtaining these electrical checks is a heavy fine (with a maximum of £30,000), a requirement to carry out the work in any event or the Local Authority carrying out the work and then charging it back to the Landlord.

Failure to have supplied a Tenant with the necessary EICR when required to do so could also effect a Landlords right to obtain possession of the property in the future.

In the circumstances it is extremely important that all Landlords of residential tenancies have electrical testing carried out to ensure that their properties comply with the Eighteenth Edition of the Wiring Regulations. The Landlord should then carry out any necessary works to upgrade to compliance as quickly as possible.

It is important that these matters are not left as no doubt there will be a considerable demand for such testing as the cut off date for Tenancies grows closer and accordingly these are matters that should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Is Your Land or Property At Risk from Fraud? Can You Take Steps To Reduce The Risk? The answer to both these questions is YES

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Worryingly, scams and fraudulent activity affecting our assets are on the increase. Your property is at a higher risk of being fraudulently sold or mortgaged if:

  • The property is not registered at HM Land Registry.
  • Your identity has been stolen.
  • You rent out your property.
  • You live overseas.
  • The property is empty.
  • The property is not mortgaged.

 BUT you can take some simple steps to reduce risk and help protect your property.

By registering you property with HM Land Registry you will reduce the risk of someone falsely claiming ownership of your property.  Additionally, once your Title is registered, the loss or destruction of Title Deeds is no longer a problem.  At Kenyon Son & Craddock we can make an application for voluntary registration of your property at HM Land Registry.

If your property is already registered at HM Land Registry we can help increase your protection further by adding what is known an ‘anti-fraud restriction.’  This effectively stops HM Land Registry registering a sale or mortgage of your property unless a Conveyancer or Solicitor certifies the application was made by you.

We can also check that your address  is correct on the Registers of Title. HM Land Registry will use these details to contact you if applications are made that affect your property. You can have more than one address listed to give you further protection.

NOW is the time to take action to protect your assets and we are here to help you.

Call our conveyancing team on 01405 813108 (Thorne) or 01405 720850 (Goole)or email info@ksandc.co.uk

Why use a solicitor to make a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney?

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Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney are important documents and a vital part of planning for your future.  It is very important that the documents are set up correctly to ensure that your Attorneys are able to assist you during your lifetime and your Will deals with your Estate in accordance with your wishes.

You may be thinking of making a homemade Will or Lasting Power of Attorney or you  may have seen advertisements from companies offering to prepare your will for a relatively small fee.   However, here  are some very important reasons why you should choose to use a Solicitor and at Kenyon Son & Craddock we have specialised Solicitors who are here to help you and guide you through the process.

Wills

  1. Our Solicitors will not only look at your wishes regarding your Will, we will also look at the best way to achieve them. We are able to provide advice in regard to Inheritance Tax, protecting vulnerable beneficiaries or protecting your Estate against nursing home fees.  Your Will needs to cater for every eventuality which you may not already have considered and we will be able to help you achieve the best outcome for you and your loved ones.
  2. The terminology used in making Wills is very important and words and phrases that we use in normal everyday language don’t always have the same legal effect. Simply using the wrong word of phrase can cause problems and can result in expensive litigation to resolve the issues.  We can prepare a Will to ensure that your express wishes are carried out.
  3. Whilst we make every endeavour to get it right, occasionally mistakes can happen. If we do make a mistake, we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and are required to have Professional Indemnity Insurance in place so there would be funds available to those who suffered any loss.   By contrast Will Writers are completely unregulated.  They do not have a complaints body, nor are they required to carry any insurance so if mistakes are made by them, there is no redress for the intended beneficiaries of your Will.
  4. Storage of the Will – We can provide storage of your Will so that you know that your Will is kept in a safe place. We will only release a copy of the Will under certain prescribed circumstances.
  5. There are strict rules governing how a Will must be signed and witnessed. If a Will is not signed and witnessed correctly it is not a valid Will and will have no legal effect.  We are able to advise on and where appropriate supervise the signing of Wills, even during the current Covid-19 lockdown.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

  1. Lasting Powers of Attorney are very powerful documents and it is important that they are drawn up in the correct way so that your Attorneys are able to help you if and when you require their help.  Our Solicitors can provide full advice on how you can best achieve this.
  2. We can also provide you with full guidance on how best to include any specific requirements in the document whether by including instructions or guidance for your Attorneys.
  3. A Certificate Provider is required when preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney to ensure that you understand the nature and effect of the document and to make sure that it is your choice to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. Our Solicitors have the relevant skills and expertise to act as your Certificate Provider.

If you are considering making Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney please contact Sarah Littlewood or Laura Kirton who will be happy to arrange an appointment to discuss your requirements.   Our offices may be closed at the moment due to the Covid-19 Lockdown but we are working from home and are able to offer our usual services via telephone or virtual meetings and we will be available for face to face meetings as soon as we can safely do so.

 

Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney – Managing your affairs

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How often have you intended putting your affairs in order, but just do not seem to have the time? Why not take advantage of the lockdown and use the time you have for your benefit.

 Although our offices are currently closed, all our solicitors have relocated and are working from home. They are available to help you in these difficult times.

Our team can offer telephone appointments or Zoom/Skype meetings and they will endeavour to make the process as easy as possible. Things that you may wish to consider:

Making or updating your Will

If you die without leaving a Will (known as dying intestate) the law steps in and directs how your estate is dealt with.

A common misconception is that people believe that their estate will automatically pass to their surviving spouse or civil partner or someone they are living with. If you are married or in a civil partnership what happens to your estate will depend upon its value, but there is the possibility that it will not all pass to the survivor. If you live with your partner and you are not married then your partner would not benefit under the Rules of Intestacy.

If you want certain people to benefit from your estate after you die, then a Will is absolutely necessary. We can also provide advice if there is a family member you want to exclude from your Will.

If you already have a Will, make sure you check it is up-to-date. Are the Beneficiaries correct?  Are the Executors appropriate for the decision making roles which they will have?  Have the family and financial circumstances changed for you?  Who will look after young children if both parents were to pass away?  Have the Tax rules changed since you made your Will? All these things need to be considered even if you already have a Will.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

By preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) you can appoint one or more people you trust to help you with your affairs.

There are two different types of LPAs:

  • Property and Financial affairs

This can cover all decisions relating to your Finances. For example the buying and selling of your house and other assets, operating bank and building society accounts.

  • Health & Care

This can cover all decision relating to your health and welfare. For example consenting to or refusing medical treatment on your behalf, and on day-to-day matters such as diet and dress.

If you do not have LPAs and you lose mental capacity, no one will have the legal authority to make decisions for you. It is possible for someone to be appointed by the Court of Protection as your Deputy. Deputies are also usually only appointed to make decisions regarding your finances and it is rare that a health and care Deputy is appointed. Other disadvantages are that the application is lengthy and it is made at a time when you do not have capacity. As a result there would be a delay before anyone could assist you with your finances and you would have no say in who is appointed to make decisions for you.

If you would like advice please contact our Sarah Littlewood or Laura Kirton on 01405 813108 and one of them will get back to you to discuss matters further.   Sarah and Laura are both full members of Solicitors for the Elderly and Sarah is also a Trust and Estate Practitioner.

Coronavirus Update

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First of all, we wish all our clients and their families well at this difficult time.

As you would expect, Kenyon Son & Craddock and Henshaw Pratt Solicitors have been working hard to adapt to the current challenges so as to protect our staff and clients and to maintain a full and reliable service.

To deal with the current situation the majority of our staff are currently working from home.  Our solicitors do have direct access to the firm’s case management system which will allow individual cases to progress without significant disruption.

We have made arrangements to deal with telephone enquiries and there will be a limited staff presence at the offices.

During this period, for the safety of staff and clients, we will not be conducting face-to-face meetings.  Where possible we will take instructions by telephone or video conferencing.  To assist, clients are asked not to attend the offices but to contact their solicitor by telephone or email if they have any queries.

Whenever possible we would be grateful if correspondence could be sent by email as we currently have limited capacity to deal with postal correspondence.

We appreciate that many people will still require access to legal advice during these uncertain times and we will continue to provide these services to the best of our ability.

With our very best wishes,

Kenyon Son & Craddock

Mediator gains Infant Loss Foundation accreditation

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Rebecca Kershaw, our Family Mediator and Solicitor has been accredited by the Foundation for Infant Loss to support bereaved parents after undertaking a ten hour training course.

The Foundation have been established for over 11 years. They support and signpost bereaved parents across the UK. Unfortunately they have noticed a sharp increase in bereaved parents contacting them who are seeking a family solicitor/mediator following relationship issues and breakdown after the loss of a pregnancy or child. They intend to accredit one firm in each area where the solicitor or mediator will have undertaken the training and be able to provide understanding and supportive assistance at a difficult time.

The Foundation website has lots of information and links to organisations who can offer help and support to bereaved parents and can be found at http://www.foundationforinfantloss.co.uk/ Bereaved parents can also email the Foundation for Infant Loss at info@foundationforinfantloss.co.uk

Rebecca’s details will be added to the Foundation’s Baby Loss directory but you can contact her directly at rebeccak@ksandc.co.uk or by telephone on 01405 813108.

Success for Family Mediation Department

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The Family Mediation department is very pleased to have passed a successful audit by the Legal Aid Agency at the beginning of February. The auditor spent a day in the department, reviewing files and checking procedures and was very satisfied with the standard of files and quality of work. This means that we can continue to provide Legal Aid to all our eligible mediation clients.

If you qualify for Legal Aid this means that the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is free for you and for the other person too. It also means that if mediation goes ahead the first joint session is also free to both clients.

We will assess you for Legal Aid at the beginning of your MIAM so you can decide whether to go ahead with the meeting or not.

For clients who are not eligible for Legal Aid we charge £72 for the MIAM and £48 if you need the FM1 form to go to court. For mediation sessions the cost is £120 each per hour. All these prices are inclusive of VAT.

If you think you might be eligible for Legal Aid please give Rebecca Kershaw a call on 01405 813108 or email her on rebeccak@ksandc.co.uk to discuss what documents we will need to assess you.

 

Putting children first when you separate.

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Conflict can have  serious long-term effects on children. Studies have shown that it’s not the separation or divorce proper that has an impact, but rather the conflict arising from it that negatively affects their well-being.

So, what do young people think about their parents separating? A ComRes Survey of 14 to 22 year olds in 2015 found:  (2015 ComRes survey)

  • Of those who have experienced family breakups, 82% would prefer their parents to part if they are unhappy.
  • More than 60% felt their parents had not ensured they were part of the decision-making process in their separation or divorce.
  • Half of young people indicated they did not have any say as to which parent they would live with or where they would live.
  • 88% agreed it was important to make sure children do not feel like they have to choose between parents.
  • About half admitted not understanding what was happening during their parents’ separation or divorce, while 19% agreed that they sometimes felt like it was their fault.

And how does divorce and separation affect young people? (2014 ComRes survey)

  • 19% said they didn’t get the exam results they were hoping for.
  • The majority (65%) say that their GCSE exam results were affected while 44% say A-levels suffered.
  •  Almost a quarter (24%) said that they struggled to complete homework, essays or assignments.
  • More than one in 10 (11%) said they found themselves “getting into more trouble at school, college or university,” with 12% confessing to skipping lessons.
  • 14% of the young people surveyed said they started drinking alcohol, or drinking more alcohol than previously, while almost three in ten (28%) said that they started eating more or less than previously.
  • 13% admitted to experimenting, or thinking about experimenting with drugs as a result of their parents’ break-up.
  • 32% of respondents said one parent tried to turn them against the other.
  • More than 1 in 4 (27%) said their parents tried to involve them in their dispute.
  • Almost 1 in 5 (19%) saying that they completely lost contact with one or more grandparents.

Mediation can be a way of minimising the conflict which can have such serious consequences for children. If mediation isn’t an option then a solicitor who has signed up to the Resolution code of conduct will help you ensure that conflict is kept to a minimum and that your children’s interests are put first.

Rebecca Kershaw is an accredited mediator and a member of Resolution. Get in touch with her by email rebeccak@ksandc.co.uk or phone 01405 813108.

Could you have money in a lost pension?

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The Association of British Insurers (ABI) reported this month that their research had found 800,000 lost pensions worth almost £10 billion. They estimate this could mean a total of over 1.5 million unclaimed pensions worth almost £20 billion. The research only covered defined contribution pensions and there could be more unclaimed in the defined benefit sector.

If you think you could have a lost pension visit: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/trace-lost-pensions-and-request-pension-forecasts#tracking-down-a-personal-or-workplace-pension

If you want to discuss how pensions can be shared on divorce give Rebecca Kershaw a call on 01405 813108.