Proposed probate court fees increase – scrapped for now!

21st Apr 2017
In a surprise U-turn last night the Ministry of Justice have scrapped for now the … ...
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Proposed probate court fees increase – scrapped for now!

21st Apr 2017

In a surprise U-turn last night the Ministry of Justice have scrapped for now the proposed increase in probate fees. They have stated that there is not enough time for the proposed legislation to go through parliament ahead of the general election.

Nothing has been said as yet on whether scheme will be brought back if the government are re-elected.

Further Reading:
BBC News

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LPA Court Fees Reduced

5th Apr 2017
As of the 1st April 2017 the fee charged by the courts for registering an … ...
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LPA Court Fees Reduced

5th Apr 2017

As of the 1st April 2017 the fee charged by the courts for registering an LPA has been reduced from £110 to £82

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Probate court fees – increase or another death tax?

2nd Mar 2017
You may have seen the news recently that Probate Registry court fees will change in … ...
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Probate court fees – increase or another death tax?

2nd Mar 2017

You may have seen the news recently that Probate Registry court fees will change in May to a banded system based on the value of the estate. The fees in some cases will increase from the current flat rate of £155 to £20,000! (the table below shows the full details)

Whilst the need for change may have been acceptable, the level of fees imposed are arguably unjustified which has caused anger within the industry. Particularly in view of the government’s admission that the Probate Registry was already self-funding on the existing fee structure and that of the 829 respondents to the consultation only 63 agreed with linking the fees in this way.

The fees are required to be paid upfront i.e. before the grant of probate and many are concerned as to how the fees are to be funded. The government’s paper states that executors or beneficiaries may have to loan the estate the money; this is easier said than done when the amounts we are referring to are in the thousands.

For many this is being viewed simply as an additional death tax.

However, unlike inheritance tax (IHT) this fee is irrespective of who inherits the estate i.e. spouses and charities who are currently exempt from IHT will still be required to pay the probate fee.

This could mean, for example, a widower where the estate comprises mainly of the family home having to raise thousands of pounds simply to get probate for transferring an ISA.

The worry is that this may lead people to make very unwise decisions with regards to their assets and estate planning, such as the inappropriate use of trusts, or placing assets into joint names. It will also give fuel to the fire for unscrupulous sales based firms providing schemes that promise to save thousands but never actually work.

As ever it is imperative that people get proper qualified advice so that they can understand the options available and what is the best for their circumstances.

Probate Registry Court Fees as of May 2017

  • £0 for estates under £50,000
  • £300 for estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000
  • £1,000 for estates worth more than £300,000 and up to £500,000
  • £4,000 for estates worth more than £500,000 and up to £1 million
  • £8,000 for estates worth more than £1m and up to £1.6 million
  • £12,000 for estates worth more than £1.6m and up to £2 million
  • £20,000 for estates worth more than £2 million
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Are you interested in becoming a Dementia Friend?

25th Jan 2017
Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of … ...
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Are you interested in becoming a Dementia Friend?

25th Jan 2017

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.

Our colleague Dawn, is a trained Dementia Friends Champion volunteer. As a volunteer she runs free 1 hour information sessions where people learn some key messages about dementia and commit to turning understanding into action. In our commitment to support Dawn and the Dementia Friends initiative we are now running regular Dementia Friends training sessions from our offices.

The sessions are open to all and the next session will be at 9.00 am on Friday 17th February.

If you are interested in attending, you can book the session via the Dementia Friends website or alternatively contact us.

If there are several of you who wish to attend a session then it maybe possible to run the training at your offices. Please contact Dawn directly to discuss this.

Further sessions will be arranged, so if you can’t attend on the 17th then please register your interest with us and we will inform you of new dates.

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New STEP adviser joins the Pavilion Row team

17th Jan 2017
We are delighted to announce that Dawn … ...
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New STEP adviser joins the Pavilion Row team

17th Jan 2017

We are delighted to announce that Dawn Plant has joined our team as a qualified Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP).

Dawn has 15 years’ experience working in private client law and as well as a full member of STEP she is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and a Dementia Friends Champion.

Having started with us in November she has already brought many benefits to our clients and introducers through her extensive experience dealing with Wills, Powers of Attorney and Trust and Estate Administration.

As a Dementia Champion Dawn has a passion for Dementia care and also has tremendous practical knowledge and experience dealing with the workings of the Court of Protection and Powers of Attorney.

See our team here.

 

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Angus shares his views on regulation

17th Nov 2016
For sometime now there has been on going debate discussing the pros and cons of … ...
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Angus shares his views on regulation

17th Nov 2016

For sometime now there has been on going debate discussing the pros and cons of regulation in the Will industry with the Legal Services Board commissioning a number of research projects looking at this area.  Angus shares his views on this topic in the STEP journal this month, read the article here.

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New Inheritance Tax allowance – why it may not apply to you if your current will creates a discretionary trust

9th Aug 2016
In tax year April 2016 the government’s receipts of Inheritance Tax (IHT) leaped to £4.66bn. ...
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New Inheritance Tax allowance – why it may not apply to you if your current will creates a discretionary trust

9th Aug 2016

In tax year April 2016 the government’s receipts of Inheritance Tax (IHT) leaped to £4.66bn. This is a 22 per cent increase on the previous year and as house prices continue to rise, more and more family estates are becoming liable for the tax (a 40% tax payable on the portion of a person’s estate above the Nil Rate Band, which is currently £325,000).

To reduce the IHT burden on people who may wish to pass their family home to their direct descendants (children, stepchildren, adopted children, grandchildren or foster children), the government is phasing in a new top-up allowance – the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) – from April 2017.

This will allow some estates to benefit from an additional tax-free allowance of up to £175k per individual (£350k per couple) by 2020/21. However, if your current will creates a discretionary trust as a tax-efficient way to leave your property to your children, the new top-up allowance may not apply to you.

Here’s why

Currently, when the first spouse dies, all their assets can be passed to the second spouse tax free and their Nil Rate Band (NRB) allowance of £325k can be transferred to the second spouse. This means that when the second spouse dies, there is a total NRB of £650k. In other words, no Inheritance Tax is payable on the first £650k of the second spouse’s estate.

Prior to October 2007, it was not possible to transfer the NRB allowance. Therefore, many people set up planning within their wills in order to ensure that they benefit from both NRB allowances. This involves transferring the assets (up to the NRB) of the first spouse to die into a discretionary trust so that, for Inheritance Tax purposes, these will not be included in the estate of the second spouse when they die.

If you have arranged for your property or qualifying assets to pass to your children in this way, your estate will not qualify for the new RNRB. This is because these assets are not seen as passing directly to your beneficiaries – one of the eligibility criteria for the new RNRB.

What you can do

The first step is to review your will in light of the new RNRB and consider your reasons for setting up the discretionary trust.

For example, is the purpose of your trust to ensure that your assets, including property, will be passed on tax-efficiently or is it to ensure a level of protection and control over the assets, or a combination both? Are these reasons still valid or have your priorities or circumstances changed?

A qualified adviser can help you clarify your requirements and understand your options, including whether a discretionary trust is still the best option for you, so that you have a Will that continues to meet all your needs.

For more information contact us for a copy of our RNRB fact sheet.

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60 second-interview with Angus Houston

8th Aug 2016
STEP is profiling Angus this week Article taken from STEP’s website, Friday 5th August 2016,  … ...
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60 second-interview with Angus Houston

8th Aug 2016

STEP is profiling Angus this week

Article taken from STEP’s website, Friday 5th August 2016, http://www.step.org/interviews/60-second-interview-angus-houston

What does your firm do?

Pavilion Row is a firm of TEPs that specialises in wills, powers of attorney and estate administration and provides a private client department for our professional introducers.

What has STEP done for you, individually, or as a business?

Individually STEP has provided me with the knowledge to do my job and keep abreast of ongoing changes. As a business it is gives us creditability as specialists in our field, and as an accredited Employer Partner, STEP is helping us shape our learning and development internally.

What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?

It is a benchmark of experience and knowledge in a fragmented and unregulated marketplace.

What do you most like about your job?

Working with clients who sometimes have quite personal and difficult family circumstances and helping them to find a way to plan an outcome they want.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

Being a point of contact and providing experienced, practical and knowledgeable advice.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

It is a great opportunity that can be highly satisfying, but if you want a successful career in this area, follow the STEP qualifications, so that you are an elite advisor.

Where do you see future growth, both in terms of sectors and jurisdictions?

I see a growth in specialist firms with specialist knowledge.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your organisation/practitioners at the moment, and how will you deal with them?

The wealth of freely available information, predominately on the internet, often means that it is a challenge to get clients to understand the value of qualified and experienced advice. I find the best way to deal with this, is to ask relevant questions which help the client think beyond what they might believe are simple requirements

Which social media channels do you use and why?

Linked In is a great way to network with professional peers. As a firm we dabble in other social media, but we do believe that the true way to form long term established relationships is by talking to people.

Angus Houston TEP is the managing director of Pavilion Row Ltd, a STEP Employer Partner, providing private client services across England and Wales. He completed his STEP Diploma in 2008 and is currently Chair of STEP Yorkshire.

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Pavilion Row has become the latest firm to join the Opera North Business Partners scheme.

19th Jul 2016
Pavilion Row, has chosen to become a member of the Business Partners scheme to highlight its commitment to … ...
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Pavilion Row has become the latest firm to join the Opera North Business Partners scheme.

19th Jul 2016

Pavilion Row, has chosen to become a member of the Business Partners scheme to highlight its commitment to Yorkshire’s thriving artistic life and, in particular, to celebrate the work of Opera North, the only national opera company based outside London.

Angus Houston, Pavilion Row’s Managing Director, said:

“At Pavilion Row, we pride ourselves on our individual, flexible approach and value this chance to join forces with an arts organisation that is as committed as we are to creativity, innovation and excellence and to presenting the very best of what the North has to offer locally, nationally and internationally.”

Opera North launched the Business Partners scheme in 2015 to build connections with and between those business leaders who value the role the arts play in enriching life in the North and who are keen to further Yorkshire’s vast cultural, social and economic potential. It enables businesses to get closer to the Company and to gain an insight into all of its activities, including its projects with schools, young people and the wider community. Pavilion Row becomes a member of the scheme alongside such companies as Yorkshire Building Society, Yorkshire Water, KPMG, William Jackson Food Group and Land Securities.

Jo Graham, Opera North’s Business Development Manager, said:

“Opera North is a unique cultural and economic asset to Leeds and the wider Northern region. A registered charity with a £16m annual turnover that contributes significantly to the region’s economic and cultural wealth, it is at the forefront of the Leed’s burgeoning international reputation.

“The Business Partners scheme gives organisations the chance to get to know us better and also to work with us to promote everything the North of England has to offer. We are delighted to welcome Pavilion Row on board.”

 

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NEW ! – LPA Case Studies

16th Jun 2016
New! Case study document demonstrating ‘Why have an LPA?’. Download here or from our web … ...
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NEW ! – LPA Case Studies

16th Jun 2016

New! Case study document demonstrating ‘Why have an LPA?’. Download here or from our web page ‘Introduce-Wills and LPAs’

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Are LPAs an essential part of an income drawdown pension arrangement?

8th Jun 2016
The new pension freedoms introduced in April 2015 have given retirees the option to keep … ...
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Are LPAs an essential part of an income drawdown pension arrangement?

8th Jun 2016

The new pension freedoms introduced in April 2015 have given retirees the option to keep investing their pension pot and draw an income directly from it, as well as the option to pass their pension pot on to their beneficiaries when they die.

While this greater flexibility is very attractive to some retirees, there is one obvious risk.

What will happen if their health deteriorates and they are no longer able to manage their income drawdown arrangement?

What if they need to adjust their income level (for example, to pay for care costs) or adjust their underlying investment choices? Who will make these decisions and instruct the pension company?

Obtaining authority to act on an individual’s behalf can be complicated, time-consuming, expensive and require a court intervention – even for a spouse or close relative.

Of course this risk isn’t new, but it is accentuated by the new rules and the fact that more and more people are likely to opt for income drawdown and keep their pension pots invested until the day they die.

In the ‘old days’, the vast majority of people retiring took out an annuity, whose terms (and income) are fixed for life and, therefore, incapacity was not such a risk as there are no decisions to be made.

Fortunately, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a simple but highly effective solution. This legal document provides for one or more people to make decisions on an individual’s behalf if they are unable to manage their own affairs.

An LPA should arguably be an essential part of the financial planning process for any person opting for income drawdown when they retire. Currently, there seems to be limited usage of LPAs alongside income drawdown arrangements, which could be a recipe for problems in the future for those without an LPA.

Putting an LPA in place is a sensible step for anyone considering an income drawdown arrangement.

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Role of a Guardian – New factsheet

10th May 2016
Factsheet is now available on the Roles and Responsibilities of a Guardian. Download here or … ...
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Role of a Guardian – New factsheet

10th May 2016

Factsheet is now available on the Roles and Responsibilities of a Guardian. Download here or from our Introduce – Wills and LPA  page on our website

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