Marc Lansdell our Head of Overseas Property will shortly be returning from the Luxury Property Show which took place in Shanghai between 11 and 13 December 2015.
This is the eighth Shanghai International Luxury Property Show. It is known as the best platform for overseas exhibitors to explore the Chinese market and meet face to face with Chinese high net worth buyers. Each year the Luxury Property Show attracts over 100,000 visitors and over 500 exhibitors who come from all corners of the world to show case their luxury properties and real estate services.
Family law but not as you may know it !
I received a telephone call this week from a gentleman who was calling on behalf of his daughter. He was concerned about protecting his daughter and grandchildren who were going through a difficult separation. He told me that his daughter was worried about contacting a solicitor because she “did not want to rock the boat”.
This was not an unusual conversation. Many people worry about those closest to them going through a separation and how it might impact upon their future and want to be able to help them. I speak to many people including my own friends who share the same concerns and preconceived opinion that instructing a solicitor will antagonise an already difficult process. A solicitor who is not a Resolution Member or perhaps a solicitor who does not specialise in family law may fit that description. However specialist family solicitors who are Resolution Members and understand the best way to approach an emotionally difficult process know that when people are dealing with family separation and change it is about much more than just the law.
Protection is primary, succession is secondary and tax is tertiary
You can't give what you haven't got or as we pretentious lawyers would say: “nemo dat quod non habet.” So there is strong argument for ensuring that what we have is preserved for our heirs. We can then give it to them. Then we need to be mindful of tax and to organise our affairs to ensure that we pay no more tax than we should.
A lot is said about tax. It is an essential part of the foundation of a civilised society. As essential to our lives as is the blood coursing through our bodies. One way or another it has to be paid and it gives us our many privileges.
What to do if you have life insurance? Consider putting it in trust. Otherwise it goes to your estate and it may result in a tax bill or bigger tax bill. It is added to the rest of your estate, increasing its size and thus its potential to suffer Inheritance Tax at 40%.
The trust is a simple document often given to you by the insurance company. Nothing complicated.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Who looks after you if you become incapable of doing so yourself? Whether your property and finances or your general health and welfare? The Court will choose if you don't do Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Thursday 11 June 2015
Our next Family Law Evening Surgery will be taking place on Thursday 11 June 2015 between 5.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m.
Expert Advice and Pensions
As part of the full and proper consideration of your financial position following a divorce or separation, you will be asked to provide full and frank disclosure of your financial position in order that the legal options can be explored. It is also of value and hugely important to consider your financial future at the time of your divorce or separation and how this may be impacted. You will be asked to consider if you want to deal with any properties that you hold, capital investments, incomes and your pensions.
Pensions, the Family Court and Bankruptcy
We have all heard about the changes coming into force in April 2015 in relation to pensions, allowing greater freedom of choice as to how people are able to access, use and pass on their pension pots from now on. Individuals of minimum pensionable age (currently 55) will be able to access 100% of their pension fund as cash. Previously only 25% could be accessed. 25% can be taken as tax free cash. The residue can be taken as cash but this is taxed as income.
Does this mean that divorcing couples where one or both of those are 55 will be able to ask the Court to access the cash from their pension fund as part of a financial settlement? Where might this lead one or both parties on retirement if they run out of cash? Only time will tell as to how lawyers and Judges will deal with pensions on divorce following the changes in April 2015.
Tuesday 25 November 2014 (5-8pm)
Resolution’s third Family Dispute Resolution Week will take place on 24-28 November this year. This awareness raising week aims to highlight the alternatives to Court for separating couples and their families.
I am pleased that changes are afoot in the world of family law whereby from 22 April 2014, the Court have introduced a compulsory Mediation Information Meeting. Prior to making an application for a Court Order in family proceedings, the person who proposes to make the application must first attend a meeting to receive information about mediation and other means of resolving a dispute without going to Court.
There have recently been important changes made to the law as it relates to children matters and also the way in which family disputes are resolved. The Children and Families Bill received royal assent on Thursday 13 March 2014 and is now law. This means that Residence and Contact Orders (formerly called Custody Orders) will be replaced with Child Arrangements Orders, which set out the arrangements for the upbringing of a child when Court determination of disputes related to the care of children is required. The idea is to move away from terms such as “residence” and “contact” which have themselves become a source of contention between parents and to focus on the practical issues in the day to day care of a child when parents separate.