HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has unveiled a number of important changes to the ways in which it processes IHT400 estate returns.Continue reading
New research suggests that many Britons are failing to regularly update their Wills – meaning that missing details and mistakes are increasingly going unnoticed until it is too late.Continue reading
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is to repay an estimated £89m to thousands of people who have registered a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) at some point during the current financial year.Continue reading
Vulnerable and older clients living with mental illnesses such as dementia are “not taking full advantage” of the range of legal services that are currently on offer to them, a new study reveals.Continue reading
UK adults are being urged to consider the importance of setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), following a recent survey carried out as part of Dementia Awareness Week 2017.
The survey, which formed part of nationwide campaign, revealed that as many as 95 per cent of UK adults have not made any preparations for the possibility that they may be affected by dementia later in life.
The worrying news comes despite the fact that The Alzheimer’s Society estimates there are more than 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK – a figure that is expected to surpass one million by 2025.
It estimates that the rate at which UK adults develop dementia is equivalent to one person every three minutes.
Separate research has previously found that seven in ten UK adults are ‘anxious’ that they might develop dementia as they grow older.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a vital yet simple document which gives relatives or carers authority to handle the financial affairs of a loved one who is no longer able to look after themselves, or has lost the ‘mental capacity’ to do so.
Contrary to popular opinion, the power to manage affairs will not automatically pass to close relatives in the event of a loss of mental capacity.
An LPA can prove invaluable under these circumstances, and can be set fairly quickly up by consulting a solicitor for specialist legal advice.
Geoff Dennis, Senior Associate in the Private Client Department at OGR Stock Denton, said: “In this age, people are living longer, with more and more incidents of dementia.
“These statistics again demonstrate the critical importance of having a lasting power of attorney in place to make provision for the management of one’s affairs in the event of incapacity.”
The Court of the Protection has been asked to consider the case of a woman who is battling Huntington’s disease and decide as to whether life-support treatment should continue.
The patient’s mother, now in her 70s, has appealed to a Judge for treatment to stop.
The middle-aged daughter has had Huntington’s, an inherited condition which damages the brain’s nerve cells, for over 20 years and her health has declined to the point that she no longer shows any awareness of her surroundings.
Both relatives and medical experts are in agreement that the treatment should come to an end.
Mr Justice Peter Jackson is scheduled to make a decision at a hearing in London later this month. He will have to consider the evidence and make a decision based on what he believes to be the woman’s best interests.
He has already ruled that neither the patient nor her family should by identified in media reports of proceedings.
UK adults are being urged to consider the importance of setting up a lasting power of attorney (LPA), following a recent survey carried out as part of Dementia Awareness Week 2017.Continue reading
A new study suggests that the number of UK estates liable to pay Inheritance Tax (IHT) will rise by approximately 15 per cent by the end of 2017.
The research, recently highlighted by Moneywise, comes not too long after HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) reported that IHT receipts hit a record high of £4.72bn in the 2015/16 financial year.
The current IHT nil rate band, or threshold above which IHT is incurred, sits at £325,000 – above which the tax is charged at a rate of 40 per cent of the estate’s value.
HMRC has said that the £325,000 nil rate band will remain frozen until at least 2019.
Meanwhile, rising property prices and inflation are pushing an increasing number of estates over the threshold, meaning that more and more UK families are likely to be hit with IHT in coming years unless they seek estate planning advice from a specialist solicitor.
Changes due to take effect in April this year will enable some families to pass an additional £100,000 in property value to their children, grandchildren or other ‘eligible beneficiaries’ tax-free – but families will need to act quickly to review their Wills in order to ensure they will qualify for this additional saving, known as the new Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB).
These statistics again illustrate the impact that IHT continues to have on families upon the death of a loved one and underline the importance of obtaining proper tax planning advice in relation to your estate and the arrangements you have in place.
A pilot scheme which grants greater access to the Court of Protection will now run until August.
The trial arrangements, which have allowed for a greater number of proceedings to be heard in public, had originally been introduced last year.
Officials have confirmed they have now been extended until the end of the summer, with a decision to follow on whether the system will become permanent.
The decision was previously taken to hold fewer hearings behind closed doors as part of an effort to improve understanding of how the court works.
Orders are often imposed to protect the anonymity of parties involved and journalists had been warned at the outset of the trial that irresponsible coverage would be likely to bring it to an abrupt end.
Sir James Munby, the senior Judge who ushered in the pilot, argued it would be beneficial to have a more open process “provided the right balance can be struck to safeguard the privacy of people who lack capacity to make their own decisions.”
With the number of people diagnosed with dementia in the UK rising rapidly, charities and universities are urging people to consider the importance of setting up a lasting power of attorney (LPA).
The latest research from the Alzheimer’s Society predicts that the number of dementia cases in the UK is likely to increase by 156 per cent between now and 2021 – yet many recent studies have revealed a distinct lack of awareness of lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) across the UK.
Simply put, a lasting power of attorney is a legal document which gives relatives or carers authority to handle the property and financial affairs of a loved one who is no longer able to look after themselves, or has lost the ‘mental capacity’ to do so. The lasting power of attorney can also confer authority over an individual’s health, care and welfare – including the power, if the need arises, to determine whether life sustaining medical treatment should be continued with.
A year-long study carried out by the University of Plymouth recently found a widespread ‘lack of LPA awareness’ among Britain’s agricultural community.
The research found that farmers and agricultural businesses had a very limited knowledge of what legal options are available to them in the event that they are affected by dementia or other conditions that may leave them unable able to run their farming business.
The same study found that very few farmers keep their Wills up to date, or understand the importance of doing so.
Meanwhile, Diverse Abilities, a learning disability charity based in South West England, has found that many families “do not even think about putting a LPA in place, because they assume their loved ones would automatically have this power”.
The charity has warned: “This is not the case in English Law and if you or a family member lose capacity and have not made a LPA, a relative can’t just step in and act on their behalf.
“[This] could cause much distress, expense and frustration in the future – normally at a time that it is not needed”.
A lasting power of attorney can be drawn up by seeking specialist legal advice, so as to make sure that the LPA is correctly drawn up to include provisions most appropriate to individual circumstances and to protect the business interests. However, recent studies have found that around 85 per cent of UK adults do not have one, and are unprepared for what the future may hold.