Why Scotland does not need to “overhaul archaic divorce laws”.

You may have seen headlines, recently, talking about this but, if you live in Scotland, they do not apply to you.

Judges, In Scotland, do not look at your behaviour and have not done so for a considerable time..

Once you have a separation agreement, behaviour is not an issue (see previous blogs for separation).

All they want to know, if you have no kids under 16, is if you want to be divorced and how long you have been separated. Without kids, you just download a form from the Sheriff Court. See this page http://myscottishdivorce.co.uk/divorceinscotland.php#Doityourselfprocedure

Where there are kids under 16, the Sheriff must be satisfied that the kids are going to be looked after, properly.

You can go to see a solicitor but the price you will pay will depend upon the solicitor and your circumstances.

However, if both parties are agreed and you have sorted out the arrangements for the kids and for the money, you can obtain a fixed-price inexpensive divorce at www.MyScottishDivorce.co.uk, Solicitors. It is all done from your home computer apart from a very brief visit to a lawyer to swear a statement.

It is an application to the court but we are Solicitors and we deal with that.

You will see feedback from our customers on the website. I invite you to read it.

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor
www.MyScottishDivorce.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 top reasons to make a Power of Attorney now

1. To ensure that you are protected, if you cannot protect yourself.

If you have a stroke or become confused, your Attorney can step in if someone tries to take advantage of you. Once made, your Power of Attorney allows your Attorney to do what you could have done.

2. To avoid, for your loved ones, an expensive and lengthy Court application.

A Power of Attorney is like insurance. Without one and where you have money, a house or other assets (or need medical treatment), the law will intervene and a Guardianship application will need to made to the court. This takes some £000’s and many months whilst, meantime, everything is in limbo.

3. To ensure the right people look after your affairs, not someone appointed by law.

A Guardianship is an application to the court and the Sheriff will decide who is your Guardian. This might be a relative but could be a professional (potentially expensive), particularly if it is the Council who apply.

4. To ensure someone you know can decide your medical treatment- not a random doctor.

Without an Attorney appointed and if the Council apply then your family may well have no control over your medical treatment (if you cannot give directions). Most people prefer their loved ones, who know their wishes, to be in charge.

5. To minimise the risk of family disputes and stress.

Sadly, family politics can, sometimes, be a problem. If you appoint someone then that person’s word is law and others have no power over you and what you own.

 

You can avoid these problems privately (at home), quickly (emailed to you immediately) and inexpensively (£99), at MyScottishAttorney today.

A bonus is that your kids can do the online stuff for you.

 

I have been making documents online, for people like you, since 1999 so I know what I are doing. Check out the videos on this page for more information.

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor

Can I get a free Power of Attorney, in Scotland, from the Office of the Public Guardian Scotland (OPG)?

Well, yes, in a way because they do provide a template but you will need a lot of time, research and decision-making before you have anything satisfactory. Their template is to be found at http://www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/forms-publications. There is an English OPG but English law is different and English PoA’s are not for Scots residents.

There are alternatives but one is time-consuming as well as expensive.

The obvious alternative is to see a solicitor. This is reassuring because most solicitors have some experience in this field. You will need two appointments, the first to give instructions and the second to sign in front of the solicitor. How long it takes depends on the solicitor. The cost is normally over £300 including VAT.

Another alternative is a PoA from MyScottishAttorney. The PoA is designed by me – a Scottish Solicitor. I have been making them online since 2005 (and, also, wills since 2000). So, apart from my qualifications, I also have long experience in the field. To my knowledge, they have always been accepted by the OPG.

This video tells how it works – How does it work?   Incidentally, I mention in this video going to see a lawyer or doctor. The vast majority of my clients see doctors. They have the benefit of, usually, being free and familiar with and to you.

Making the PoA can even be done by your kids, remotely, if you prefer. See This video – Making a POA for your parents.

It costs £99 compared to the £300 usually charged by a Solicitor. As with all POA’s, you have to pay a fee to the OPG. More details here. OPG fees.

My PoA’s have never been rejected by the OPG (to my knowledge) and they suit the purpose as I have a great deal of experience in the field.

There’s a lot of free information Including how-to guides, frequently asked questions and other pages on my company’s website.  MyScottishAttorney. You may be reassured by the fact that you pay nothing until you are quite satisfied.

A lot of people fear that this must be a scam. I can understand that because scammers are a plague.  I suggest you look at my Solicitors website to see who I am. Georgesons Solicitors

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor

 

 

 

Why do people not make Wills?

My research says that, very often, it is because they have “never got round to it”.

Which is quite revealing!

What it tells you is that they know they ought to but something has stopped them.

And I have often wondered why. It is no use asking because you will not get to the truth. Not because people do not want to tell you the truth but my belief is they do not know!

In my day job, as a Solicitor, I have asked but have never had a fully convincing answer.

We are not a superstitious people, generally but when it comes to our own mortality, I do wonder. 

I make Wills for people daily but you will surprised to hear that, on some occasions, I send out the Will to be looked over by my client and, then, never hear a thing back. 

Even after some reminder letters and the last with the bill, I never hear.

I wonder why?

 

I have been making Scots Wills online since the year 2000.

It is is quick, private, very easy and inexpensive at £49.95.

You only pay when you are satisfied and there is lots of free information on my website. Click MyScottishWill to explore.

Bruce de Wert

Scottish Solicitor

Caithness and Sutherland Property – what happened in 2017 and the prospects for 2018.

Georgesons Estate AgencyI’m pleased to say that 2017 has been a good one for Caithness and Sutherland and there is great confidence in the air. Sales are reported by the Registers of Scotland to have increased, overall, in the Highland area by 10.3%.

As regards prices, nationally in Scotland, prices increased, overall, by 2.8% with the average price being £143,544

Semi-detached properties led the charge with an increase of 4.2%. Interestingly, detached properties were right down 0.9% but that is, probably, because of the Stamp Duty changes which punish the higher property price brackets. More of that later.

Highland did rather better at 3.5% and our average price is, also, higher at £159,874. Unfortunately, the Registers of Scotland do not sub divide their statistics within Highland so it is not possible to see statistics for localities.

On the pricing front, we are, generally, obtaining a price equal to the asking price which is, usually, based on the Home Report valuation. The surveyor will have built in the price increase and all this indicates a confidence in the market.

The predominant interest, at the moment, in Caithness and Sutherland is from first-time buyers. Happily, in our area, prices are moderate and people are able to buy a decent home the first time around. The second most predominant group of purchasers are folk relocating North to retire or prepare for retiral, and they are, generally, downsizing to rural locations. They are able to sell up down South, buy a home here and still have some funds left over.

One happy change this year is the return of the closing date. We have been able to set a number this year. If you can reach all potential buyers out there, there are benefits as, with a closing date you know that you are getting the maximum price. Buyers have only one chance in this closed bid system – which is a joy for sellers and a nightmare for buyers!

Buy to let purchasers were a big feature at one time but they have died a death, taxed out of existence with a double whammy of tax increases both on stamp duty and income.

As to the future, I read the finance pages and I am seeing nothing that, seriously, worries me. There is the usual economists’ doom and gloom but I have, consistently, ignored that because my experience is that these “experts” have no more insight than the average person. The forecasts have been, consistently, wrong since the crash (and even before). I believe that most people are also of the same opinion and a recent survey by the Bank of Scotland on barriers to moving house confirms that, showing only 15% citing an “uncertain economic outlook”.

As for the tax issue, Stamp Duty (now called Land and Buildings Transaction Tax) seriously bites if you are in the over £380,000 bracket but, happily, for the average price in Highland, it actually offers a saving over the old rate. So, don’t doubt it, there are benefits in living in the North!
As I write this, the Scottish Budget has been announced. Stamp duty for first-time buyers has been abolished but only up to £175,000 whereas, in the rest of the UK, it is £300,000.

As for the future, for the past four years, we have had nothing but good news and, for 2018, my advice to potential sellers and buyers is that all is well and go ahead with your plans!

Anyone who would like to comment on this article or for this column to touch on any particular matter, please email me on [email protected]

Bruce de Wert has over 25 years of experience of Law and Estate Agency and is the Principal Solicitor at Georgesons and a director of Georgesons Estate Agency Ltd.

Ross-shire Property – what happened in 2017 and the prospects for 2018.

Georgesons Estate AgencyI’m pleased to say that 2017 has been a good one for Ross-shire and there is great confidence in the air. Sales are reported by the Registers of Scotland to have increased, overall, in the Highland area by 10.3%.

As regards prices, nationally in Scotland, prices increased, overall, by 2.8% with the average price being £143,544

Semi-detached properties led the charge with an increase of 4.2%. Interestingly, detached properties were right down 0.9% but that is, probably, because of the Stamp Duty changes which punish the higher property price brackets. More of that later.

Highland did rather better at 3.5% and our average price is, also, higher at £159,874. Unfortunately, the Registers of Scotland do not sub divide their statistics within Highland so it is not possible to see statistics for localities.

On the pricing front, we are, generally, obtaining a price equal to the asking price which is, usually, based on the Home Report valuation. The surveyor will have built in the price increase and all this indicates a confidence in the market.

The predominant interest, at the moment, in the Ross-shire area is from first-time buyers. Happily, in our area, prices are moderate and people are able to buy a decent home the first time around. We are lucky not to have the overcrowding that is to be found in more southern parts. This is reflected in the fact that the second most predominant group of purchasers are folk relocating North for work.

Buy to let purchasers were a big feature at one time but they have died a death, taxed out of existence with a double whammy of tax increases both on stamp duty and income.

As to the future, I read the finance pages and I am seeing nothing that, seriously, worries me. There is the usual economists’ doom and gloom but I have, consistently, ignored that because my experience is that these “experts” have no more insight than the average person. The forecasts have been, consistently, wrong since the crash (and even before). I believe that most people are also of the same opinion and a recent survey by the Bank of Scotland on barriers to moving house confirms that, showing only 15% citing an “uncertain economic outlook”.

As for the tax issue, Stamp Duty (now called Land and Buildings Transaction Tax-LBTT) seriously bites if you are in the over £380,000 bracket but, happily, for the average price in Highland, it actually offers a saving over the old rate. So, don’t doubt it, there are benefits in living in the North!

The Scottish Budget has been announced. Stamp duty for first-time buyers has been abolished but only up to £175,000 whereas, in the rest of the UK, it is £300,000. Disappointing but not surprising.

As for the future, for the past four years, we have had nothing but good news and, for 2018, my advice to potential sellers and buyers is that all is well and go ahead with your plans!

Anyone who would like to comment on this article or for this column to touch on any particular matter, please email me on [email protected]

Bruce de Wert has over 25 years of experience of Law and Estate Agency and is the Principal Solicitor at Georgesons and a director of Georgesons Estate Agency Ltd.

No Will in Scotland?

So what, you might ask.

.

These are amongst the possible results:-
Your loved ones will be (even more) upset because no-one knows what to do or who is in charge.

Who you want to inherit might well not.

A court action will be needed.

It will be more expensive to wind up your estate.

The family might go to war.

Your wishes for your remains may be unknown or, if known, ignored.

Your wishes for a service (or wishes for no service) may be unknown or, if known, ignored.

These are just examples. There are other potential pitfalls for you and your family.

Don’t leave it too late!

The BBC said it was easy and took just 10 minutes to make a Will on my website.

Look for yourself – you pay nothing until you are satisfied.

Bruce de Wert
Solicitor
www.MyScottishWill.co.uk

Why a Power of Attorney is a family’s gift of love

What motivates people to make a Power of Attorney?

Seeing many clients in this situation, as I do, raises that question. My opinion is that, mostly, deep down, it is love.

That love is, often, hidden by my clients which is not surprising since this is a difficult and emotional subject as it is associated with old age, potential  dementia and general worries about family.

Different sides of the family show that love in different ways.

 

For parents, it is a gift of certainty. Once made, everybody knows what role they have to play and they know that, if it is needed, there will be no stressful Guardianship court action and no delay. Sadly, the truth is that when you need a PoA, you need it now, not some months down the line once you’ve negotiated Solicitors and the courts. Incidentally, my system has guides for everybody involved and, so, everybody knows what is required of them.

For children, it is a gift of care. Just as parents cared for their growing children, so there may come a time when the children will need to care for their parents. By being an Attorney, they are giving a big thank you to Mum and Dad.

 

 

 

If you’re reading this and you are out of your comfort zone, then you are not alone. Both parents and children think that the other will be upset to talk about this subject. However, that is not, in fact, my experience. Parents, particularly, are very happy to talk about such practical stuff! Just as they know that making a will is necessary, a Power of Attorney is, these days, a topic which needs to be thought about – and talked about.

MyScottishAttorney is unique because, once talked about, you can do it, there and then, without leaving home. It just takes a few minutes if you have everybody’s names and addresses. And you can do it together. No waiting for appointments with Solicitors. Of course, you will need to see a doctor to have it signed off but that’s no stress.

Share this with your siblings and parents and, by doing so, challenge them to think out of their comfort zone! You and they won’t regret it.

More information at MyScottishAttorney

Bruce de Wert

Bruce de Wert

 

Dementia and Alzheimer’s. What happens when it’s too late for a Power of Attorney in Scotland?


If someone loses mental capacity before they have a Power of Attorney in place, who can manage their finances and welfare?
Arranging a Power of Attorney early can save money and avoid problems in later life.
Nobody wants to consider what would happen if they or a family member lost capacity to make their own decisions.
But if you leave it too late to put a Continuing Power of Attorney in place, you risk a court appointing a stranger rather than a trusted friend or relative.
It’s not an automatic right that a next of kin takes on dealing with your affairs. If you have or a parent has just been diagnosed with dementia, for example, it is vital to consider a Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney. The Continuing part deals with the financial side and the Welfare with medical treatment and personal matters.
This allows allows you to choose one or more people to handle your financial and property affairs, alongside making decisions about your health and welfare.
However, this can only be done when you have mental capacity – the ability to make sound decisions.
This is as important as making a Will in these days when people are living longer.
By the way, a diagnosis of dementia does NOT mean it too late.
If no PoA is in place, someone has to apply to the Sheriff Court to become a Guardian before they can deal with matters on your behalf.
At a stressful and upsetting point, this takes a long time. It is, also, expensive costing some thousands of pounds.
If a relative is not appointed, a professional will be and there will be ongoing costs.
Better, all in all, to avoid that and the easiest and most affordable way is at www.MyScottishAttorney.co.uk.
You can have it, in the next half-hour, for yourself or relative, like your Mum and Dad, and, although you need to go to see a doctor (or Solicitor) to have it signed off, the rest is all dealt with at home.

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor

Bruce is a Solicitor who, as Director of the company behind MyScottishAttorney, makes the complicated simple.
You can make  a Scottish Will or a Scottish Power of Attorney for yourself or your loved one.

 

Dementia and Powers of Attorney in Scotland

 


Dementia comes in all shapes and sizes and can vary from time to time but there is a touchstone so far as Powers of Attorney (PoA) are concerned.

A diagnosis of dementia does not infer that capacity to make a PoA has been lost. When told that someone has lost capacity, the next question should always be – capacity to do what? Even with severe dementia, the capacity to go to the shops and contract to buy your groceries may never be lost. Perhaps entering into a contract for a complex investment trying to be sold by a pushy salesman may be a different matter, however!

What a diagnosis of dementia may well be, however, is a wake-up call to make your PoA as soon as possible, so don’t delay. If there is doubt, ask your doctor beforehand but, if there is no doubt, just go ahead and make one straight away.

The swiftest way to make one in Scotland is at MyScottishAttorney and, as well as lots of free information about PoA’s, there are videos which give the background, there.

You can make one for yourself or for your parents. It is available in your inbox as soon as you have paid and, although you will need a trip to the doctor to have a capacity certificate signed, it is done and dusted without the usual need of, at least, two visits to or by a Solicitor and at a lot less cost.

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce is a Solicitor who, as Director of the company behind MyScottishAttorney, makes the complicated simple and you can make  a Scottish Will or a Scottish Power of Attorney for yourself or your loved one.

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