Separated but not divorced? Beware of the law!

There are a lot of urban legends about this so ignore them and read this.

There are 2 major issues to be considered – your Will and the law of inheritance.

Your Will

Only divorce (and thus, not separation) affects your Will and so, if you do not want to benefit the separated one, then change your Will NOW!

(And you can do it, literally, now. See below.)

Most people want to benefit their children but your Will rules and your spouse will inherit anything left in it. For most, that is likely to be everything as the marriage was, probably, in good shape when you made your Will.

The law of inheritance –

Making a Will not mentioning your spouse does not mean that they cannot claim something but you are, by making a new Will, reducing it to the legal minimum.

You can, of course, leave them something.

If you do not make a new Will, then it will be your kids who have to make a claim and it is they who will inherit very little.

No will at all? –

So far I have spoken of those who have made a Will and not changed it but what of those without a Will at all?

Such folk in a much worse position as, under the Scots law made in 2012, your spouse is likely to inherit everything leaving nothing for your children at all.

For those on their 2nd time around, that is even more important as their spouse is unlikely to benefit your children but only their own.

There will be those who say that they are making arrangements through a separation agreement. That is all well and good but, until that is signed, it means nothing. My experience is that arranging an agreement takes years rather than months and, in the meantime, you are vulnerable.

I have even heard some say that they will leave it until after their divorce. Very  wrong.

Even if you do not want the separation and divorce and think your spouse may change his or her mind, making a Will does not make divorce more likely as no one will know. But, if you do not, your children are vulnerable.

Many folk worry that that making a Will takes a long time. It does not have to. You can make your Will right now without leaving home.

My company’s system is:-

Easy to use.

Excellent value for money – save £100’s compared to seeing a Solicitor.

Convenient- you can do it at home or at the office.

Security – your Will is designed by me, a Scottish Solicitor with over 25 years experience and over 15 years providing this service online.

Fixed, inexpensive costs – MyScottishWill charges only £49.95 for your Will. Solicitors fees vary but you might expect to pay, approximately, £150-£300.

Will checking and storage service.

Free information – this website is packed full of information about why you should make your Will, the legal jargon and a frequently asked questions page.

 

So, all in all, my advice is to make a new Will now. All my Wills revoke all previous Wills.

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MyScottishWill

How often do people make Wills in Scotland?

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The most recent research on whether people make Wills in Scotland is, actually, not very recent at all. It was by the former Scottish consumer Council in 2006.

Of those surveyed for that study, only 37% had made a will. Older people were more likely to make a will – 69% of those aged 65 or over participating in the study had done so.

Overall, the research suggested that the number of people who die without making a will is likely to be substantial. 

Why, I wonder?

Perhaps they find it hard to deal with the prospect of death and to make plans to deal with their affairs.

Speaking to clients, I have found that they think it is difficult. In fact, that is not my experience. The BBC, when they reviewed my service on Reporting Scotland, said that it took only 10 minutes.

I do think that people do put it off as something which they will do much later in life but, then, where is the trigger to get round to it?

 

 

 

Marriage, children and buying a property are all potential triggers.

 

 

 

They may believe that the law as it stands in relation to intestacy will fulfil their wishes or they may think that it is not necessary because everything will go to their spouse. Sadly, that might be disappointment. That is, particularly, so if you are not married! 

A FREE point of information is my website and the “frequently asked questions” page is at https://www.myscottishwill.co.uk/faq.php

Some people might think it is expensive but, on my website, is only £49.95. Solicitors generally charge about £125-£200.

All in all, there is every good reason to make a Will. 

You can make one now, at home and at your leisure. Check out https://www.myscottishwill.co.uk/ before making a decision.

It is, after all,  designed and run, through my company, by me, a Scottish Solicitor.

Bruce de Wert

Bruce de Wert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can I get a Scottish divorce online for under £1000?

Well, the answer is yes.

Truthfully, you can (and at a fixed cost – see MyScottishDivorce) but I must also say that divorce is usually preceded by a separation agreement.

That is the expensive part and the worst of it is that there is no fixed cost for that. Each of you will need a Solicitor.

What you need to agree in a separation agreement are issues  about the children. With whom did they stay and when?   What are the arrangements for contact?

There is also the vexed question of who pays what?  There may be housing costs and, if you are fortunate, you need to divide up money and pensions.

The separation will cover other issues including inheritance rights and ensuring that there are no other claims.

I counsel you not to get divorced before signing an agreement! After divorce it is too late to claim…

However, once all that is done then what do you have to do about a divorce depends upon whether there are children under 16.

If there are not, it is easy-one of you fills in the form available from the court and it is over in a matter of less than a month. See MyScottishDivorce.

If there are children under 16, you could go to the same solicitor who arranged your separation but, if you want a fixed price, privacy and a quickie divorce, then go with me, a genuine Solicitor but one who offer the only online fixed price divorce available in Scotland. 

With other solicitors you can pay anything from £1500-£3000 for this type of divorce. My firm is online and automated and offer a fixed price of £995. This includes VAT and all court costs.

STV ran a piece on their news programme when I added this to my online Wills and Powers of Attorney. They have taken the video off but the news item is at STV News.

There is lots of free information at MyScottishDivorce.co.uk so have a look at that.

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 top reasons to make a Scottish Power of Attorney

5 top reasons to make a Scottish Power of Attorney (PoA).

 

1. To ensure that you are protected.

Not making one means that if you have a stroke or dementia then you are in the similar position as those who are uninsured. You cannot obtain insurance after the event and so it is with a PoA. Most people haven’t made a PoA because they never thought about it and, so, never go round to it.

 

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

And that, I am afraid, is the only way out unless you set out a PoA beforehand. Not only does an action for a Guardianship cost £000’s but it takes months.

 

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

Yes, and if the court decides the issue, it might not appoint someone you love and trust. It is often a professional who, apart from not knowing you, will also charge fees from your savings.

 

4. To ensure that someone who cares about you can decide your medical treatment – not a random doctor or Guardian.

Without  a Welfare PoA, the doctors have a problem. Who do they listen to? If there is no Attorney or Guardian, they are conflicted and may choose someone you do not like.

 

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

With a PoA, everyone knows exactly who is in charge and who, by law, they must listen to. No-one is stressed as it is all set down and they cannot argue!

 

So, rather than you pay out approximately £400 by going to a Solicitor’s office (twice) or for your family to pay pay out £000’s for a Guardianship, make a POA with my company, now, for £99. The Government will, also, charge £77 to register it but the additional benefits are that you can sort it privately (at home), quickly (emailed immediately) and, as a bonus, your kids can do the online stuff for you.

You pay nothing until you are completely satisfied so there is no reason not to have a look.

My company has been making documents online, for people like you, since 1999 so I know what I am doing and I provide lots of free information on my website www.MyScottishAttorney.co.uk.

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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

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