FAQs for first-time buyers (part 1)

Although it is becoming harder and harder to buy your first home – a situation that as I explained in my last blog has become even more pointed during the COVID pandemic – it is still the ultimate aim for many couples. The stamp duty holiday has offered some encouragement and if, as is being reported, lenders are going to … Read More

Will the recent stamp duty cuts benefit landlords and the buy-to-let market too?

It appears the stamp duty reliefs announced by the Chancellor this week will benefit landlords and buy to let investors as well as home buyers. To try and give the stuttering housing market a well needed boost Rishi Sunak has temporarily abolished stamp duty for all homes under £500,000.  Although the move is primarily focussed on those looking to buy … Read More

Could the ability to witness Wills via video have a negative impact on IHT planning?

From September any Will made after the 31st January 2020 and witnessed via video will be legally enforceable.  While the need to introduce video witnessing as a last resort has been a necessary response to the current social distancing restrictions, there is a growing fear the change could have a dramatic longer term impact on some families’ inheritance planning. Inheritance … Read More

Are overseas buyers also taking advantage of the current stamp duty holiday?

The surge in house buying following the Chancellor’s announcement that until the 31st March 2021 stamp duty charges will not apply before a purchase price exceeds £500,000 has been well documented.  It has also provided the beleaguered UK housing market with some much needed good news. However, new studies on current mortgage search trends would indicate the interest in buying … Read More

How has COVID affected the divorce process?

Even before the recent pandemic, the family courts were stretched and backlogs were starting to build up.  During the crisis the situation predictably worsened and as solicitors and the courts tried to work out how best to manage the restrictions and meet the needs of our clients, the delays worsened and proceedings have become even more protracted. To complicate matters … Read More

A brand new online service brings Lasting Power of Attorney right up to date

On the 17th July the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) unveiled their new digital ‘Use a lasting power of attorney’ tool.  It is designed to make it easier for the family members and friends who have been given Lasting Power of Attorney to increase the speed at which they can make vital decisions relating to property, care arrangements and finances … Read More

How has COVID affected the probate process?

At the moment there is a lot of talk in the media about just how long it is taking to process a probate claim. While COVID-19 has obviously played a part in the slowdown, the delays arguably started before the pandemic. In 2019 there was a huge rise in the number of probate applications as people sought to beat the … Read More

If you’re part of an unmarried couple that wants to take full advantage of the new stamp duty cuts, should you have a cohabitation agreement?

The Chancellor’s recent decision to increase the basic stamp duty threshold to £500,000 has injected a much needed new lease of life into the residential property market. Many buyers will be families, married couples or those in a civil partnership.  However, it’s highly likely a fair number will be unmarried couples who, having been forced to wait patiently during the … Read More