I wish my partner to have the benefit of the house where I live when I die

I wish my partner to have the benefit of the house where I live when I die but I do wish to leave the house to my children. Can that be done?

Yes, it can be done. You need to have a specific clause in your Will confirming those wishes. The clause in the Will would normally provide for your partner to be responsible for the outgoings on the house after your death. You can also include provision in the clause for the remarriage or cohabitation of your partner.

How do the new stamp duty provisions work?

The changes apply to residential properties completed on or after 4 December 2014. Where contracts have been exchanged on or before 3 December 2014 and the transaction is completed on 4 December or later you can choose whether to use the old or the new rules. The stamp duty land tax is now charged at different rates depending on the portion of the purchase price that falls within each rate band. Up to £125,000 is as before Zero. Over £125,000 and up to £250,000 is now charged at 2%. Over £250,000 to £925,000 is charged at 5%. Different rates apply to properties over £925,000. If, for example, you are purchasing a property for £275,000 you will now pay 0% on the first £125,000, 2% on the next £125,000 and 5% on the final £25,000 giving you a total bill of £3,750. Before the change you would have paid £8,250.

I have been married for 20 years and have two school aged children. My husband and I have agreed to divorce. Do we need solicitors to help us through the process?

I appreciate that you may not wish to use solicitors as you want to ensure that “family funds” are not used up in legal costs. However cut-price options are not always the best and can end up costing a lot more and adding to what is already a stressful time. You do need solicitors to help where there is an imbalance of power between you and your husband or if your husband is being difficult or withholding information. The legal process of getting a divorce is a relatively straightforward process. What is generally much more complex is sorting out the practical issues such as where each person will live, who gets what, and arrangements for any children. A family law solicitor will advise about your rights and options. They will also explain some of the financial complexities for example with pensions and will help identify the issues that the court will consider and give you advice. This will often save you time and money in the long run.

If I leave money to my children and I die whilst they are under 18, will they inherit my money?

They will not inherit whilst they are under 18. It will be left to your Trustees who will then hold on behalf of your children subject to certain rules. The children will then inherit at the age of 18 years or at a later age if you have specified a later age in your Will

Dixon Stewart can help you with all of the above and more. If you have a legal problem please contact us on enquiry@dixonstewart.com or by telephoning one of our offices