Russell and Russell Solicitors can deal with all the legal aspects of your new life together. Whether you’re buying or selling a property, looking to protect your assets, thinking about starting a family or want to leave your possessions to those you care about, we can help.
We’ve nine offices across the North West; in Bolton, Atherton, Bury, Chester, Farnworth, Horwich and Middleton. And, because anything can happen at any time, we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Will prenuptial agreements will become more commonly used ?
Find out why below..
Divorce Ruling Paves the Way for Pre Nups It’s envisaged that prenuptial agreements will become more commonly used following the outcome of a court case which dismissed a woman’s bid for an equal share of her and her ex-partners assets. Karen Hart was awarded £3.5m by the Court of Appeal after her 23 year marriage broke down. The couple’s assets were valued at just under £9.4m, but Judge Wildblood QC ruled that Mr Hart was entitled to keep the lion’s share of the combined wealth as he had brought the majority of the assets to the marriage. Family law solicitors are now hotly debating how this will affect future rulings. Some believe that the settlement should have assumed equal weighting given the length of the marriage. There was also surprise that, even though it wasn’t properly evidenced, the judge found the financial contribution of Mr Hart outweighed that of Mrs Hart’s family and domestic contribution. Others, however, are in favour of the ruling. They advocate that the courts draw a clear distinction between wealth built up during the marriage and what was generated prior to the partnership. In the case of Hart v Hart, Mr Hart brought his wealth to the marriage, so should be entitled to keep it. That said, an exception to this would be when a marriage breaks down and there aren’t enough assets to meet the financially weaker partner’s needs. As needs are viewed as more important, in those instances, some of the one side’s pre-acquired wealth will be apportioned to the weaker party. Pippa Tudor, a divorce lawyer at Russell and Russell, advises: “This case has clearly set a precedent that, particularly where there is significant wealth involved, prenuptial agreements should be sought prior to getting married. I appreciate in the throes of love, it’s not a very romantic subject to bring up, but it’s important to legally outline what contribution you’re bringing to the marriage will prevent any nasty surprises as they could be included in any pay out should you divorce in the future.”
Some excellent advice on this often tricky issue that is best handled sooner rather than later..
Russell and Russell Defends Lasting Powers of Attorney Russell and Russell’s head of probate, Judith Bromley has defended lasting powers of attorney (LPA) after Denzil Lush, the former senior Judge of the Court of Protection, warned they may leave elderly people open to abuse. An LPA is a legal document that allows a person to appoint trusted individuals to make important decisions about care and finances on their behalf in the event of a loss of mental capacity through an accident or illness, such as dementia. In the foreword to a new book on the subject, Mr Lush raised concerns about the “lack of transparency” in how appointed attorneys manage older people’s finances. The former judge went on to criticise the Ministry of Justice as being “disingenuous” in its promotion of the legal document. Judith - a member of national organisation Solicitors for the Elderly - believes LPAs are effective safeguards when created responsibly. She commented: “Senior Judge Lush’s comments have given rise to fears that LPAs are a direct avenue for financial abuse. However, his comments must be put into context, as his 20-year career at the Court of Protection will have presented him with the very worst cases of financial abuse. “An LPA can be a positive and effective legal tool, which ensures your wishes are respected should you ever lose capacity. Senior Judge Lush’s comments should highlight the clear need for professional advice when considering powerful legal documents of this nature.” Top tips on drafting a lasting power of attorney Plan early – While you have capacity, it’s vital that you get your affairs in order and choose the best people to manage your affairs, in case of an accident or illness. You can’t appoint an attorney once you lose capacity. Choose carefully – Think carefully who you want to appoint as your attorney and have an open conversation with them so they understand your wishes and what their responsibilities will include. Consider appointing more than one person as your attorney so they can share the responsibility. Consider appointing a professional – A family member might not always be the best person to act as your attorney. Instead, you can appoint a professional such as a solicitor. They can act as a neutral third party and make unbiased decisions that are in your best interests. Bear in mind this usually involves a cost. Think about different circumstances – Consider how you would like your attorney to manage your property and financial affairs in different situations. For example, are you happy for your property to be sold to pay for your care costs? Address the difficult questions – Your attorney might have to make difficult decisions about your health and welfare. If you have specific wishes around your care plans, medical treatment, or end of life wishes, make sure you discuss this with them and make your choices clear in your document. Seek professional advice – Shop-bought and online LPA kits may be suitable for those with very straightforward financial situations or with considerable legal experience, but for most people, seeking professional legal advice is the best way of ensuring that an LPA is effective, legally robust and safe. Keep your plans current – Make sure you keep your LPA updated if your circumstances change. Your choices around the people you want to be responsible for your finances and wellbeing may change, such as following a marriage or divorce, when children reach adulthood, or if parents pass away.
Marriage and Divorce in Equal Measure for the Over 65s
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics have revealed
that the number of people aged 65 and over getting married had increased by 46%
in the decade from 2004 to 2014.
Data shows that in 2004, 7,468 marriages in this age group were
recorded, while in 2014 the figure was up to 10,937. The figures also indicated
that, in 2014, a whopping 92% of these people were divorcees, widows or
widowers, leaving just 8% getting married for the first time.
It’s believed that the rise in the number of “silver splicers” is
due to a combination of the post-war baby boomers and people generally living
longer. In fact, the number of people aged over 65 has increased by 20% in the
In contrast, despite a 28% decline in general divorce rates between
2005 and 2015, older people are bucking the trend. In the same period, divorces
involving men over 65 went up by 23% and those of women, by 38%.
believed the increase in “silver separators” is down to people living longer. In
2004, an average 65-year-old man could expect to live for a further 17 years
and a woman for a further 20 years. In 2017, this has risen to 19 years for a
man and almost 22 years for a woman.
of all this means that whether you’re getting married or simply living with
each other, the assets you build up could be substantial. As such, it’s
important to consider getting a pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement drawn up.
It may not be particularly romantic, but it will help avoid any potential
conflict should the relationship break down in the future.
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