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Probate Fees | Increase April 2019

“Some ghastly piece of legislation was always going to be passed while everyone was distracted by Brexit. Now we know what it is: a whopping hike in probate fees that will cost grieving families £145m in its first year,” says James Coney in The Sunday Times.

If your estate is worth less than £50,000, you pay nothing. Between £50,000 and £300,000, the charge will go up by just £35 to £250. For estates worth £300,000-£500,000, the fee increases to £750, rising to £6,000 if your estate is valued at more than £2m.

Last week, ministers classified the controversial increase as a fee rather than a tax, meaning the changes could avoid full parliamentary scrutiny, says the Financial Times.

Yet “estates are effectively being double-taxed – once for inheritance tax of 40% above the nil-rate band, and then again through tiered probate fees,”Rachael Griffin of wealth manager Quilter told the FT. On the other hand, those with the smallest estates will at least avoid fees altogether.

Source: Money Week

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Mobile Phone | Use When Driving | Law & Penalties |

2263 CRASHES WERE CAUSED BY DRIVERS USING A MOBILE PHONE BETWEEN 2013 AND 2017

 

                       33 FATAL CRASHES IN 2017

 

25%  ADMITTED TO TALKING ON A HANDHELD PHONE WHILE DRIVING IN 2018

 

                    40% SAID THEY CHECKED TEXTS

              OR SOCIAL MEDIA WHEN DRIVING

 The law – using mobile phones whilst driving

It’s illegal to hold a mobile phone or sat-nav while driving or riding a motorcycle. You must have hands-free access, such as:

  • a Bluetooth headset
  • voice command
  • a dashboard holder or mat
  • a windscreen mount
  • a built-in sat-nav

The device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.

You must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times. The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted, and you can be prosecuted.

The law still applies to you if you’re:

  • stopped at traffic lights
  • queuing in traffic
  • supervising a learner driver

When you can use a hand-held phone

You can use a hand-held or mobile phone if either of these apply:

  • you’re safely parked
  • you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop

Mobile phone law image

Penalties

You can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine if you use a hand-held or mobile phone when driving. You’ll also lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the last 2 years.

You can get 3 penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.

You can also be taken to court where you can:

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Want to be a solicitor?

I want to be a solicitor

Thinking about becoming a solicitor? We would recommend that have a look at the link and the video from the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority):

https://www.sra.org.uk/sra/policy/sqe/solicitor-persona.page

How will I qualify as a solicitor from 2021?

Get the facts on the Solicitors Qualifying Examination coming in 2021. Watch our video now. Brought to you by the Solicitors Regulation Authority

Posted by Career in law on Thursday, 8 November 2018

Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)

From autumn 2021, you won’t need to do the LPC (Legal Practice Course) or have a training contract to qualify. You’ll need:

– a degree (or equivalent),
– 2 years’ qualifying work experience,
– have passed both stages of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination,
– pass the SRAs suitability requirements.

We are always keen to hear from motivated graduates who are interested in a rewarding career in the legal sector. If you think that you have what it takes then send you CV to Mark Hagyard (Managing Director) via [email protected]

 

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Criminal justice system in crisis – Law Society campaign

Justice in England and Wales on its knees as crisis escalates in the wake of years of neglect

Press release from Law Society – 30 January 2019

People accused of crimes in England and Wales have a diminishing chance of seeing justice as the criminal justice system slides further into crisis due to years of under-funding and neglect.

“The reputation of our justice system – one of England and Wales’ most precious assets – is in great danger at a time when the country needs it most,” said Law Society vice president Simon Davis on the launch of the Law Society’s urgent campaign to highlight the crisis.

“Justice and the rule of law are key exports for the UK – but their integrity depends on the whole system working effectively. Years of neglect have heaped colossal pressure on the whole system and those who work hard in it.

“The right to a fair trial is at the heart of a democratic society and sets Britain apart from authoritarian regimes the world over.

“In our country, people are innocent until proven guilty after a fair trial – yet those accused are forced through a frequently unfair and nightmarish journey through the criminal justice system regardless of whether they are guilty or not. This is something we should all care about because crime can affect anyone at some point in their lives.

“For a democracy to function properly, the rule of law needs to be enforced. The rich and the poor should have equal justice, and cases should be resolved quickly and effectively to allow victims to see justice done and to return to their everyday life and focus on their recovery.”

The criminal justice system is now functioning so poorly it is impacting our international reputation.*

Years of under-investment have meant the system is facing an avalanche of problems, including:

  • an increasing shortage of criminal duty solicitors who provide defence representation to the poorest and most vulnerable in society when they are accused of a crime
  • swathes of court closures which are impacting urban and rural communities and putting obstacles in the way of victims and witnesses and costing the taxpayer money as people fail to attend distant hearings, or are ferried by taxi
  • impassable barriers to accessing legal aid for those unable to afford a solicitor
  • victims and witnesses having to attend court repeatedly because of trials being adjourned again and again
  • solicitors firms which provide legal aid services finding themselves in an increasingly unsustainable economic situation
  • those accused of a crime being held on remand far longer than necessary because of inefficiencies in the system at great public expense
  • failures to disclose crucial material from criminal investigations which mean victims can be unintentionally misled as to who really committed a crime
  • defendants on low incomes forced to pay fees or contributions they can’t afford due to the overly stringent means test – thus threatening their right to legal advice and representation.

Simon Davis added: “All combined, these problems represent a criminal justice system at absolute breaking point.

“In the year of the government spending review, we’re calling on the Treasury, the most powerful department in Whitehall, to address the problems that affect all areas of our besieged criminal justice system by adopting our policy recommendations, particularly those on criminal duty solicitors, legal aid fees and the legal aid means test, which determines who is eligible for legal aid.

“The fabric of society is built around legal rights and obligations. These are what British values are based on and should be a cause of pride. By allowing our criminal justice system to crumble like this, we are disregarding and undermining centuries of progress.

“Without urgent action from the government the system will fall apart.”

Watch our animation:

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Sara Reid – Family Law Paralegal – Warm Welcome

Sara Reid - Family Law

All the WTW team want to offer a very warm welcome to Sara Reid. Sara joins us as a very knowledgeable Family Law Paralegal. With a wealth of experience within high street practices and local authorities.

Sara is also studying to qualify as a Barrister.

We think she is going to be a real asset to the team.

If you have a family or relationship issue then you can contact Sara direct on 01535 687082.

For further information on the Family Law services we offer please click on the link – Family Law.

 

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Thank you presents for Lee Kirby – Lawyer – Wills, Probate & Trusts

Lee Kirby - thank you gifts

It’s always lovely to get presents but when they are unexpected it’s even better! Lee Kirby has just completed a property purchase, sale and new wills for his clients. They were so pleased with how he dealt with everything that they arrived with this basket of goodies. Lee was completely taken aback “it makes all the hard work worthwhile”.

 

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Divorce – post Christmas family breakdowns

Not exactly a positive headline, but the truth is that enquiries about divorce and separation can increase by 300 per cent in the weeks following Christmas. Many couples will delay taking any action during the festive season to avoid upsetting family and friends.

Christmas Divorce

Christmas pressure

The period in the run up to and during Christmas can add further strain and financial pressure to relationships. There is an increased expectation that Christmas has to be ‘perfect’. On average each of us in the UK will spend just over £900 on festive food, drink and presents. (Source: https://www.experian.co.uk/xmas.html)

The reality

Many couples do not blame Christmas itself for the break up of their relationship. In most cases a split was already likely, but they decided to delay the announcement. This is even more likely where there are children involved.

This means that solicitors across the country are likely to see an increase in enquiries in the first few weeks of the new year.

Common reasons for divorce

The most common reasons for divorce do not change with the seasons. They are:

  • adultery,
  • falling out of love and
  • arguing.

Divorces in the UK (2017)

  • There were 101,669 divorces of opposite-sex couples in England and Wales in 2017, a decrease of 4.9% compared with 2016, but similar to the number seen in 2015 (101,055).
  • There were 338 divorces of same-sex couples in 2017, more than three times the number in 2016 (112 divorces); three-quarters (74%) of same-sex couples divorcing in 2017 were female.
  • In 2017, there were 8.4 divorces of opposite-sex couples per 1,000 married men and women aged 16 years and over (divorce rates). This represents the lowest divorce rates since 1973 and a 5.6% decrease from 2016.
  • The divorce rate for opposite-sex couples was highest among men aged 45 to 49 years and women aged 40 to 44 years.
  • The average (median) duration of marriage at the time of divorce was 12.2 years for opposite-sex couples; this matches the high last seen in 1972.
  • Unreasonable behaviour was the most common reason for opposite-sex couples divorcing with 52% of wives and 37% of husbands petitioning on these grounds; it was also the most common reason for same-sex couples divorcing, accounting for 83% of divorces among women and 73% among men.

(Source: Office for National Statistics)

If you need advice on a divorce or separation then you can contact our Family Law team  on 01535 662644.

For further information on what we can offer please go to:

Family Law team

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Christmas Holidays

The WTW Office will close at 17.30 on Friday 21st December and reopen at 09.00 on Monday 31st December 2018

The Directors and all the team would like to wish all our clients, suppliers and associates a very enjoyable and relaxing Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

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Keighley BID and Keighley Business Club lunch

Some of the WTW team attending the recent Keighley BID & Keighley Business Club lunch. Interesting talk by Will Holman from the Bank of England about the economy and the impact of Brexit.

Keighley BID luncheon

Luncheon attendees – Lee Kirby, Claire Chisnall, Nicole Narey and Sarah Bright

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Family Solicitor / Legal Executive /Paralegal – We are recruiting

Family Solicitor / Legal Executive / Paralegal

The Company:

  • Successful and forward-thinking high-street business
  • Merged in 2014
  • Moved to new premises in December 2017 with an architect designed interior
  • Centrally located with on-site parking
  • Existing caseload awaits
  • Further information about our company is available on our website

The Role:

  • Full time, permanent
  • Working within an established team
  • Private family work
  • Excellent support – you will be working alongside an experienced family fee earner and managing your own files with their supervision
  • Dealing with enquiries, speaking with clients and third parties

Requirements:

  • You will be a qualified Family Solicitor / Legal Executive with between 0-2 years PQE
  • If you’re a newly qualified Solicitor you will have a minimum of 6 months experience gained prior to qualification within family law
  • Applications welcome from recent NQs or Trainee Solicitors due to qualify in the next 6 months looking to focus on family law
  • You will be a strong team player, personable and have excellent communication skills

Benefits:

  • Competitive salary & benefits package dependent on experience
  • Easy commute from Bradford & Leeds (near to bus and train stations)
  • Development and progression opportunities
  • Development opportunities for the right candidate
  • Friendly working environment
  • Good work life balance

If you’re interested in this role, please forward an up-to-date copy of your CV to Mark Hagyard – Managing Director – [email protected]

If you would like further information about this position then please call Mark Hagyard (Managing Director) on 01535 687070.

Please note: our advertisements may use PQE/salary levels purely as a guide. However, we would be happy to consider applications from all candidates who can demonstrate the skills needed to perform the role

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