Common Law Marriage – It’s a MYTH!

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There were 3.1 million opposite sex cohabiting couple families and 90,000 same sex cohabiting couple families in the UK in 2015. Together, cohabiting couple families account for 17% of all families in the UK which is an increase on previous years (Office of National Statistics).

Despite the increasing trend of cohabitation, many people still believe that cohabitants have the same legal rights as married couples. This is not the case and in fact they have almost no rights at all when it comes to inheritance. The main difficulty that arises with cohabitating couples is when one partner dies without leaving a Will.

When any person dies without a Will then the rules of intestacy apply. If you are not married to your partner then you have no legal entitlement to any of the assets held in their sole name.

It is also important to consider how the family home is owned. If the property is owned by you partner in their sole name, when they die, you will not be entitled under the rules of intestacy to any share of the property.

If you own the property jointly and believe that should one of you die the other inherits the property automatically, this may not be the case. There are 2 ways to own your property jointly ; as Joint tenants which is where the property will automatically pass to the surviving owner, or  as Tenants in Common where each owner owns a specific share in the property and it doesn’t automatically pass to the surviving owner. It will pass in accordance with the Will or if no Will under the rules of intestacy. You may want to check the ownership of your property if you are unsure.

It is therefore extremely important that both cohabitants make a Will expressing their wishes should one of them die.

If no Will is in place and the surviving cohabitant believes they should be entitled to some or all of their partners estate then they can bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.  There is no guarantee that a claim would be successful and in order to protect your loved one from any unnecessary worry and costs our advice is to make a Will to ensure that your wishes are carried out.

If you would like to discuss making a Will then please call either Sarah Littlewood who works between our Thorne and Wakefield offices or Laura Scott who works between our Goole and Thorne offices on 01405 813108.


Dementia Awareness Week 15th to the 21st May 2016

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Dementia is an illness which we are all becoming increasingly aware of due to the escalating age of the population.   Dementia Awareness Week is the campaign run by the Alzheimer’s Society to raise awareness about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the United Kingdom.

At Kenyon Son & Craddock we are aware of the difficulties that families can face when a loved one is diagnosed with Dementia.  We are keen to promote the importance of making provision for your future.   We advise all our clients of the importance of preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney and a Will, to ensure that your wishes are carried out during your lifetime, and following your death.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Making a Lasting Power of Attorney is an important aspect of planning for your future.  They allow you to appoint someone who you trust to deal with your affairs if you become incapable, for whatever reason, of dealing with them in the future.

Lasting Powers of Attorney (known as a ‘LPAs’) are now widely considered as being as vital as having a Will.   There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney: Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare. The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows the person or people you choose (your ‘Attorneys’) to deal with your finances such as your bank accounts and home, on your behalf.  The Health and Welfare LPA allows your Attorneys to make decisions about your care should you be unable to make these decisions yourself.  Your Attorneys can only use the Health and Welfare LPA should you lose mental capacity.

In order for your Attorneys to use the LPAs they must first be registered with a government body, the Office of the Public Guardian.

If you have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney and you become mentally incapable to make one in the future, through accident or illness, it may be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint someone (known as a ‘Deputy’) to deal with your affairs. The application to the Court is complex and costly and you will not be able to choose your Deputy.


Making a Will is also a vital part of planning for your future. It allows you to state how you wish all of your assets, which include your personal items, bank accounts, home, and anything else which you own at your death, to be dealt with when you pass away. It is a common misconception that all assets pass automatically to the surviving members of your family if you do not leave a Will. Government legislation, The Intestacy Rules, dictate how your estate is dealt with if you do not leave a Will (known as dying ‘Intestate’), and this may not be in accordance with your wishes.

In order for your Will to be valid it must be properly drafted and executed. It is important to instruct experts to make your Will, who can also provide advice on inheritance tax planning and later life issues.

Dementia Awareness Week

If you plan now, all the provisions will be in place for you and your family to give peace of mind and security for the future.

If you have any questions or wish to put provisions in place please contact Sarah Littlewood or Laura Scott who specialise in dealing with Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney

Laura Scott joins our Wills and Probate Team

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We are delighted to welcome Laura Scott to our Wills and Probate team.

Laura qualified as a Solicitor in September 2015 having trained at a firm in Doncaster and lives locally. Laura specialises in dealing with Wills, Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection matters and administration of estates. She is an Associate Member of Solicitors for the Elderly, an independent group which specialises in the niche area of legal services for older and vulnerable people and their families and carers.

Laura works in both our Goole and our Thorne Office and if you would like to contact her please telephone 01405 813108 (Thorne) or 01405 720850 (Goole) or e-mail her at

Rebecca Kershaw accredited as Law Society Mediator

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Kenyon Son and Craddock are delighted to announce that their Family Mediator, Rebecca Kershaw, has had her mediation skills recognised by the Law Society. Rebecca, who is also a family solicitor, has been certified as a member of the Law Society’s Family Mediation Scheme, which means she has achieved the high level of skill and experience required by the scheme and will be added to their ‘Find a Mediator’ database. Rebecca mediates in children and financial cases in and around the Thorne and Goole areas and is happy to talk to potential clients about whether mediation is suitable for them and whether legal aid may be available. For a free, no obligation chat call her on 01405 813108.

Don’t underestimate the value of having a solicitor on your side

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If you are facing court proceedings it can be tempting to ‘go it alone’ and save on the costs of a solicitor. But this could increase the stress of the case and produce a worse outcome than if you had legal representation, according to research by charity Citizens Advice.

According to the report, the stress, responsibility and loneliness of going to court without representation can mean ‘litigants in person achieve worse outcomes compared with their represented counterparts’.

It also showed 90% of people who had acted for themselves found the experience negatively affected their health, relationships, work or finances. Some lost their jobs due to the pressure, while others got into debt due to court issues, including paying for photocopying and travelling to and from court.

The charity said the rise in litigants in person was mainly due to clients being unable to afford a lawyer due to reduced funding for those going to the family court following the implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) in 2013.

The charity said it was only after people had been through the process of going to the family court on their own that they realised the value of having a lawyer, with 70% saying that instructing a professional would have benefited their court experience.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: ‘For people representing themselves in the family courts, whether in a divorce case or to keep the legal right to see their children, the workload to prepare can be unmanageable. The stress of making your case against qualified barristers and navigating complex court processes without the right guidance can make existing mental and physical health problems worse.’

Here at Kenyon Son and Craddock we aim to help you through each step of the court process. We provide fee packages to suit you, so that you can pay a fixed fee or an hourly rate for the work you want us to do. Give us a call on 012405 813108 to see how we can help and take away some of the stress of court proceedings.

Kenyon Son and Craddock support Family Mediation Week

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Taking place from 11-15 January 2016, Family Mediation Week aims to raise awareness of mediation and how it can help separating families manage their issues collaboratively and productively. As family mediators, Kenyon Son and Craddock are happy to support and promote Family Mediation Week and will be offering free mediation information sessions to any clients who quote ‘Family Mediation Week’ when arranging their appointment.

Our Family Mediation page on the website gives information about our service and answers some frequently asked questions, or call Rebecca Kershaw on 01405 813108 and quote the reference ‘Family Mediation Week’.





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Our Christmas opening hours are as follows:

Friday 18th December – 9am to 3pm

Closed Thursday 24th, Friday 25th and Monday 28th December.

Open Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th December 9am to 5pm.

Closed Thursday 31st December and Friday 1st January.

Open as usual from 9am Tuesday 4th January.


Kenyons Son and Craddock at the Dementia Alliance

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Dementia friend

Sarah Littlewood and Rebecca Kershaw were pleased to show Kenyon Son and Craddock’s commitment to being a Dementia Friendly firm by attending the Doncaster Dementia Action Alliance meeting recently. To become members of the Alliance we had to prepare an action plan demonstrating how we tailor our services to the needs of clients with dementia and how we are training our staff to be dementia friendly. It was interesting to meet with other organisations in the Alliance and to learn about the work which is going on in Doncaster to help meet the needs of those with dementia and their carers.

We can help with Lasting Powers of Attorney, Will and Court of Protection cases. For more information or to arrange an appointment please give Sarah a ring on 01405 813 108 (Thorne) or 01924 566111 (Wakefield)


New cohabitation stats reveal the need for the law to catch up with society

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Resolution. First for family law [Logo]

05 Nov 2015

New data from the Office for National Statistics confirming that unmarried couples living together are the fastest growing family type in the UK is further proof that the law on cohabitation needs to catch up with modern British society, says family law organisation Resolution.

Cohabiting couples currently have little legal protection when they separate. Lawyer Graeme Fraser, Resolution’s spokesman on cohabitation law, explains:

Under current cohabitation law it’s possible to live with someone for decades and even to have children together and then simply walk away without taking any responsibility for a former partner when the relationship breaks down. This can have a huge impact on women and children, particularly in cases where a mother has given up or reduced her work to raise a family.”

According to the ONS Families and Households survey, released 5 November 2015, there are now 3.1 million opposite sex cohabiting couple families, which has increased from 14% of all families in 2005 to 17% in 2015. 41% of all opposite sex cohabiting couple families have dependent children in the household, this figure having increased as a result of the average age at first marriage being higher (30.3 years) than the average age of women at the birth of their first child (28.3 years). Same sex cohabiting couple families have also increased to 90,000 in 2015.

Graeme Fraser comments:

“These statistics should be regarded by policymakers as a wake-up call that cohabitation is a trend of modern society that is not going to go away. As family lawyers who see the damage caused by the lack of protection for cohabiting couples when they separate, Resolution calls for the urgent introduction of safety net legislation providing legal protection and fair outcomes at the time of a couple’s separation, particularly for children and mothers left vulnerable under the existing law.”

He continues: “In light of the latest ONS data it will be interesting to see Parliament’s reaction to the Cohabitation Rights Bill tabled by Lord Marks, which is currently in its early stages.”

Earlier this year Resolution released its Manifesto for Family Law calling for the introduction of some rights for cohabiting couples when they separate. Research in 2013 from relationships charity One Plus One shows that almost half (47%) of the British public believe in the myth of “common law marriage”, the notion that cohabiting couples have similar legal rights to married people.

Article from Resolution Media Centre 5.11.15