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Where there's a will, there's a way!

Santa may be bringing your child their favourite toys this Christmas, but what would the law be bringing them if you passed away without making a will?  If you are, what has been dubbed in modern times as, a “blended family”, you may well...

We've come a long way, but inheritance tax still exists!

In 2003, Essex Pride was established, and how far the law has come even since then! It is now illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in the workplace under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations. Same-sex couples undergoing fertility...

Diversification

Diversification of the Farm The Agriculture Bill, which is currently passing through government, will radically change the calculation and payment of farming subsidies after the UK leaves the EU. Payments favouring traditional farming are set aside and...

Lasting powers of attorney

What can I do if I am not able to manage my affairs? You may be worried about what happens to your assets during your lifetime if you are unable to deal with them because of ill health, or perhaps you quite simply do not want to. Lasting powers of...

What happens if you don't have a power of attorney?

If you no longer have the capacity to make decisions for yourself and you do not have a power of attorney, then someone will have to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy. There are two types of application that can be made to the Court of...

Moving into care and your property

Moving into care can sometimes mean selling your home. We can help you through every stage of the selling process. Once you have found a buyer, our team will provide advice and guidance to you, or your appointed representatives, regarding completion of the...

Planning for long term care - Tom's story

Tom is 81 and a widower. A few years ago Tom was diagnosed with dementia, and although initially he managed at home with carers to help, the time came where his care needs were too much. So with the help of his family, and advice from Birkett Long, Tom sold...

What happens if you don't make a will?

The law does not require you to make a will but if you die without having made one, your estate, which includes all your property, money and other personal possessions, will be distributed in accordance with the law and your wishes will not be taken into...

Navigating the care system

Navigating the care system As life expectancy increases, so does the impact on ourselves and our loved ones, friends and family. Navigating your way through the care system can be difficult at the best of times, but when you or your loved one needs care...

An end to Fake News?

The EU has published its first draft Code of Practice on Disinformation (the Code), or as Mr Trump would rather call it, Fake News. With the growth of the internet, social media platforms and media outlets, individuals are able to obtain news and...

Cheaper electronics?

On 24 July 2018, the EU Commission handed out fines totalling €111m to 4 electronic manufacturers.  Philips, Pioneer, Asus and Denon & Marantz all infringed Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union by imposing fixed or...

The use of trusts in wills

We are all well aware of the need to have a professional will in place to make things easier for loved ones, but a well written will can also protect your estate from forces that may otherwise be beyond your control. Trusts have been used for a number of...

New probate fees in 2017

In February 2017, the government announced plans to increase probate fees from £155 up to £20,000 in some cases. Caroline Dowding tells us how farming families can avoid such a hefty hike. The announcement comes despite an overwhelming majority...

Residence Nil Rate Band

The residence nil rate band (RNRB) is seen by some as the answer to David Cameron’s promise of a £1m nil rate band. Every individual currently enjoys an allowance of £325,000 to offset against the inheritance tax due on their estate. ...

Thinking and planning ahead

Running your own business comes with great advantages; you call the shots and steer the business in the direction you want. However, with the excitement of growing your business comes responsibility and risk, which can be a burden.   Many people take...

Legal expert's seal of approval to resolve disputes

A legal expert with a leading Essex law firm Birkett Long, has recently qualified as a mediator to help parties resolve their disputes Peter Allen, partner and head of the firm’s commercial department has years of experience in dealing with commercial...

Second marriages - an inheritance dilemma?

The number of people marrying for the second time or even third time is high than ever, but can bring difficult decisions. Second marriages often leave spouses torn between the need to provide for their present partner and ensure that children from their...

Passing on the famaily farm - do rising values make this easier or more difficult?

Birkett Long has a long established agricultural practice looking after generations of farming families in Essex and Suffolk and the question of succession is something that crosses our desks on a regular basis With reasonable arable land in Essex &...

Protecting your family

As a parent, you want to provide the best for your children and plan for their future.  We all know that raising children is expensive.  In 2011 the average cost of raising a child was £133,848 and in 2013 this had increased by 15% to...

Meet the partners: Claire Read

What type of work do you and your team do? With the largest team in Essex and one of the largest teams regionally (26 individuals), we deal with all aspects of wills and trusts, inheritance tax planning, probate, powers of attorney and court of...

Funding Litigation

There are now many ways of paying for your dispute. We set out below the options available and some of the pros and cons of each option. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss your case and your options please contact a member of the team on...

As the well known supermarket says "every little helps"

One of the most common questions that a private client solicitor is asked is, “What can I do to reduce the inheritance tax bill on my death?”  Apart from major gifts, there are a few exemptions that can be handy to know about.  As the...

The hidden dangers of a generous gift

For many people today their home is their main asset and, understandably, they would wish their children to inherit it when they die.  However, as a person’s main asset, there is a risk that the house may need to be sold to pay for care fees...

Faceless financial advice?

On 31 December 2012 the landscape for giving financial advice changed drastically. The Financial Services Authority, now Financial Conduct Authority, brought into effect the Retail Distribution Review (RDR).  The intention of the RDR was to raise...

Invest in your future with help from an expert panel

Seasoned and potential investors looking for investment opportunities and financial advice will benefit from the knowledge of a panel of experts at a free event run by Legal and Independent financial advisers Birkett Long in February. ‘The financial...

Are you making the most of your tax savings?

Here are just a few tax efficient ideas, but always seek independent financial advice to ensure you are utilising your tax allowances and to review your financial arrangements. All figures relate to the 2012/13 tax year. Pension tax relief:   Pension...

Have your cake and eat it

Gifts that mitigate tax As you may have seen on page 1, four brave members of Birkett Long entered the Trailwalker UK 2012 in aid of Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust.  This gruelling walk involved trekking 100km across the South Downs in less than...

VAT and listed buildings

In the last budget it was announced that the zero rating of VAT on building works to certain listed buildings was being removed, effective 1 October 2012.  There were, however, some transitional arrangements which have now been slightly altered so that...

Reduction in the rate of Inheritance Tax

For deaths from 6 April 2012, the rate of Inheritance Tax will be reduced from 40% to 36%, if 10% or more of your estate is left to charity. Of course, where the Revenue is concerned, it is rarely a straightforward calculation, and it has left the...

Birkett Long at High Easter Point to Point

Birkett Long recently attended the point to point at High Easter on 14 April. It was a fantastic afternoon of racing made even better by the addition of a big screen showing the Grand National! The Birkett Long marquee and hospitality, provided by our rural...

Legal Expenses Insurance

Legal costs are always a concern, especially during contentious proceedings.  Despite this there are a number of strategies to minimise cost such as alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, which are designed to conclude proceedings before trial, and...

APR and farmhouses

The ever topical issue of Agricultural Property Relief (APR) and farmhouses has been back in the news with two important cases. In Hanson v HMRC, the taxpayer was victorious. The deceased did not live in the farmhouse, it was in fact occupied by his son,...

Registration of land

The Land Registry started the registration of property in 1925 and gradually since then an increasing amount of land has been registered. Compulsory registration, initially restricted to sales and long leases, was phased in on a regional basis and in recent...

Planning for the inevitable

"I'm not afraid to die; I just don't want to be there when it happens!"  We may laugh at Woody Allen’s witty observation but the fact is that we don’t like to talk about what will happen after we die.  As a firm of...

Be Aware of Pension Sharing Orders

A solicitor has warned divorcing couples to be aware of pension sharing orders, which have risen by 11 per cent over the last year. Philip Hoddell, who leads Birkett Long’s Private Client Department, explained that new statistics from legal publisher...

Lifes inevitabilities

The fact that you will need a funeral is one of life’s inevitabilities.  However, the cost of even the most basic funeral is out of reach for many people.  Funeral costs have risen, on average, by 7.32% per annum over the last five years...

Pension Changes Ahead

The Pensions Act 2008 comes into force on 1 October 2012, requiring employers to enrol qualifying employees into a pension scheme. The employer can use its existing pension scheme if it meets certain criteria, or the new Government National Employment...

Paying for long term care

The Dilnot report recently created a lot of media attention when it published its recommendations on the funding of social care and support in England.  An independent commission set up last July by the Government was asked to recommend a fair and...

Birkett Long to provide free legal advice for those celebrating Essex Pride

A team of solicitors from law firm Birkett Long will be on hand at Essex Pride in Chelmsford Central Park on Sunday 4 September to provide free legal advice. Those seeking a fun family day out at Essex Pride will be able to drop in on the team for...

Making time for tomorrow

With the shortage of rain this Spring and significant attempts to salvage crops, making a Will is probably the last thing on many farmers’ minds. But if a farmer dies without a Will the law dictates who receives their assets and it may not be the...

Secret Trusts

Secret Trusts have been used to conceal gifts on death from public scrutiny. When someone dies, a Grant of Probate (if obtained) makes that person’s will a public document, available for public scrutiny. Originally, Secret Trusts were used for...

Cross Border Estates

With a growing trend for people owning properties abroad its never been more important to ensure that you have the relevant documents in place to deal with your estate when you die. When someone dies domiciled in England & Wales, the inheritance tax...

Living longer and making plans

Farming is a way of life. Farms, and the control of them, are usually passed down through family dynasties, with farmers taking great care when preparing their Wills to ensure that the farm remains intact and can be run successfully by the next generation. ...

People in their fifties should plan for care home costs now, says Essex solicitor

With care home fees expected to double in the next 20 years, people in their 50s are being urged to take action now to cover costs and ensure loved ones are not left empty handed. That is the message from a leading firm of Essex solicitors which is offering...

Law & Financial 50+

Peace of Mind It’s all too easy to keep putting off those annoying, but very important, matters affecting your future. We all do it because the future can seem a long way off. The reality, of course, is that it’s not! Planning ahead and...

First Budget of the Con-Dem Nation!

George Osborne has delivered his first Budget as Chancellor of the coalition Government and has certainly made his presence felt. Facing a huge deficit in the public finances, his tough five-year plan features new measures which aim to tackle the...

Don't let tax bills double the heartache

From their initial introduction at University in the late 1970s, Sam and Terry became devoted to each other. A property developer, Sam made a good living, enough to buy a house in London worth £650,000, which they owned in joint names. In addition Sam...

Start of Year Tax Planning

The early months of the tax year are a good time for savers to think about tax planning for the current year. In particular, now is a good time to think about investments that produce regular income – if you can find them. If you expect to have a...

Cohabitation and Death

When one member of a cohabiting couple dies, it can come as an unpleasant surprise to the bereaved partner to discover that not all of their late partner’s estate will pass to them in the absence of a will. It is only when this happens that many people...

ECJ Rejects Inheritance Tax Plea

Under UK law, transfers between spouses and civil partners do not incur any Inheritance Tax (IHT) liability, but transfers to other family members do. Two elderly sisters, who have lived together in the family home since they were children, recently lost...