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Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

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Entries in Wills & Estates (14)

Thursday
Aug302018

£43,000 and rising for St. Nicholas Hospice Care

Nick Duncan, Martine Swaep & Suzanne Wiseman

Bury St. Edmunds law firm Greene & Greene Solicitors has been supporting ‘Wills Weeks’ in aid of St. Nicholas Hospice Care since 2011.

As an alternative to charging a fee for the service, legal advisers ask for a donation to the Hospice. In the past 8 years Greene & Greene has received donations totalling £35,831. With a Gift Aid top-up from HMRC of £7,542.75, the final amount raised totals an astonishing £43,373.75 thanks to the generous contributions of clients and the hard work of the Private Client team at the firm.

Trusts & Estates Practitioner, Martine Swaep said, “We offer 25 appointments during Wills Weeks and they are all booked well in advance of the cut-off date with a significant number of people opting to join a waiting list should a late cancellation become available. We are astounded once again by the generosity of our clients and grateful for their continued support of such a worthy cause”.  

On being presented with this year’s donations, St. Nicholas Hospice Care’s Legacy Officer Nick Duncan said “Once again this year the Private Client team at Greene & Greene has worked hard to secure a remarkably generous level of Wills Weeks donations from their clients which enables us to continue our support of people with long-term and life-limiting conditions entirely free of charge. We value very much Greene & Greene’s commitment to us and we are both humbled and delighted to note the extent of their and their clients’ contributions over the years.  Long may they continue!”

If you are considering making a Will please contact Martine Swaep (martineswaep@greene-greene.com or 01284 717458) or Sandra Bowden (sandrabowden@greene-greene.com or 01284 717411) who would be happy to talk through the process and advise of estimated costs.

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw

Monday
Jul232018

Should you write a Will?

The simple answer to this question is “Yes” but invariably more often than not the answer is likely to be “I haven’t yet, but I will do when the time is right”.

So when is the right time? Trusts and Estates Practitioner, Martine Swaep of Greene & Greene talks about the benefits of making a Will.  

Although thinking, talking and planning for death can make you feel uncomfortable, making a Will is one of the most important things to do if you want to be sure that your wishes will be met after you die.

If you die without leaving a Will your assets become subject to the “laws of intestacy”; unforgiving and inflexible rules meaning that your house, savings and other possessions will be distributed under fixed rules as laid down by the law.  This will depend on how you own your assets, in your sole name or jointly. You will also have no say in who administers your estate. These rules may not be in accordance with your wishes, the needs of individuals or family situation, especially if you are unmarried and living with a partner. Equally, if you are married or in a civil partnership, it is a common misconception that everything will pass to your spouse or civil partner when you die. This is not always the case when there is no Will. Your relatives will not only have to cope with your death but also with the uncertainties and injustices of seeing your assets sent where you would not want them to go and decisions being made for you by others. A bad situation is made very much worse, and in some cases the family is left having to pay Inheritance Tax that could have been avoided with some simple planning.

A Will can help to avoid these issues and is the only way to make sure your savings and possessions (your estate) go to the people and causes that you care about.

Whilst it is not difficult to make a Will, it does have to be done properly, to avoid costly arguments after your death.

Here are some questions about making a Will. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions and do not currently have a Will, you need to be taking some action:

  • Do you wish to ensure that your estate is inherited by the people you choose?
  • Do you wish your spouse/civil partner or unmarried partner to inherit your entire estate?
  • Do you wish to appoint guardians for your young children?
  • Do you wish to set up a trust?
  • Do you wish to pass on your business or farm to people you choose?
  • Do you wish to choose the people (executors) who will be responsible for winding up all your affairs and implementing your wishes?
  • Do you wish to leave a legacy to a friend or charity?

If you have already made a Will you should also ensure that you review it every few years, or as your family circumstances change.

At Greene & Greene Solicitors instructions for Wills are taken by experienced lawyers who know exactly what questions to ask. They will advise you on how best to achieve your intentions without undue complexity or uncertainty, delivering workable solutions in a sympathetic and professional manner.

For more information on Wills please contact Martine Swaep in the Private Client Department martineswaep@greene-greene.com or by calling 01284 717458 (Direct).  For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

This article was first pubsihed in the July edition of bury & West Suffolk Magazine.

Wednesday
Jul192017

Record £9,000 Donation to Hospice from Greene & Greene Wills Week

Greene & Greene lawyers, Martine Swaep and Sandra Bowden, with the support of Sue Wiseman, recently took part in the “Wills Weeks” scheme in support of St. Nicholas Hospice Care in Bury St. Edmunds. The scheme sees legal advisors across West Suffolk and Thetford offering to write or update wills, in return for a suitable donation to the Hospice instead of their usual fee.

The Greene & Greene team offered its services to the Hospice for a week in June and all appointments were booked by new and existing clients with a month to go, leaving a waiting list if last minute cancellations arose.

The week ran swimmingly and a record amount of donations of £7,678.00 were received. With a gift aid top-up of £1,404.50, the Hospice will receive a total of £9,082.50 from Greene & Greene and its generous clients.

Estate and Trusts executive, Martine Swaep, said “Wills Week is always extremely busy for us, but seeing how much money we have raised again this year makes everything worthwhile. These donations will help the Hospice to continue to offer its vital services to people in the community who really need it.”

On handing the donations to St Nicholas Hospice Care Legacy Officer, Nick Duncan, he said:

“St Nicholas Hospice Care has been promoting its Wills Weeks campaign for 14 years, attracting over £20,000 each year in donations.  Greene & Greene’s participation during the past five years has contributed significantly towards this total.  I am delighted, and most grateful, that Martine, Sandra and Sue have been able to achieve another outstanding Wills Weeks campaign for us, surpassing even their successes of previous years.  Our thanks also go to the Greene & Greene Wills Week clients, whose generous donations will help to support patients and families in our community.”

If you are considering making a Will please contact Martine Swaep (martineswaep@greene-greene.com or 01284 717458) or Sandra Bowden (sandrabowden@greene-greene.com or 01284 717411) who would be happy to talk throug the process and advise of estimated costs.

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Friday
Mar172017

Ilott v Mitson – Testamentary freedom back from the grave?

On 15th March 2017 the Supreme Court handed down a landmark Judgment in the well documented case of Ilott v The Blue Cross and Others (known as Ilott v Mitson).  This is the first case in which the Supreme Court has been tasked with considering the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 (“the 1975 Act”).  The 1975 Act allows certain categories of applicants, such as a surviving spouse or adult child, to challenge a Will on the basis that it fails to make reasonable financial provision.

Ilott concerned a claim by an independent adult daughter who had not been left anything in her Mother’s Will.  The Mother left her Estate entirely to three charities.  Her Estate was worth £486,000.

Astonishingly this case was first heard around 10 years ago.  The Supreme Court’s Judgment has been much anticipated in the hope of clarifying the law governing the circumstances when adult children may be able to successfully challenge a Will of their parents.

It is likely that the dust will need to settle further following this Judgment, however, a number of points at first glance appear to be of great interest in this fascinating area of the law.

Claims for applicants, other than surviving spouses or civil partners, are limited to “maintenance”.  The Supreme Court has attempted to further clarify the meaning of “maintenance” and said: “The concept of maintenance is no doubt broad, but the distinction made by the differing paragraphs of section 1(2) shows that it cannot extend to any or every thing which it would be desirable for the claimant to have.  It must import provision to meet the everyday expenses of living.”

Testamentary freedom, which is the ability for you to decide who you leave your Estate to on your death, is back (sort of).  The Supreme Court underlined the significance of a Will maker’s (Testator) wishes in deciding whether a Will should be varied with the result that beneficiaries lose out or see their “entitlement” reduced or redirected completely.

In relation to claims by adult children, the Supreme Court said that they must establish:

  • a need to be maintained (nothing new here);
  • the relevant relationship to qualify the claimant; and
  • that the testator had a moral obligation to look after the claimant (the resurrection of the, so called, “moral claim” requirement).

However, the Supreme Court said that long estrangements could be an example of where needs are not always enough to justify a claim under the Act.

What does this all mean?

It initially appears that claims by adult children are likely to be more difficult to succeed and the wishes of the Testator may now finally be given more weight in light of this decision.

If you have any questions regarding the contesting of wills, trusts or probate matters please contact Ben Fox (benjaminfox@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717442).   For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com

Monday
Aug012016

Estate Planning Workshops 2016

Greene & Greene regularly hosts a series of workshops and seminars on current legal issues. These always prove popular with clients and fellow professionals. The seminars are free to those who have registered their places in advance.

This year we will be presenting the following Estate Planning Workshops:

  1. Tax and Residential Property – Downsizing, Surcharges, What Next? – Tuesday, 13 September 2016 at 8:00am (Denny Brothers’ Conference Rooms, Kempson Way, Bury St Edmunds)

    Wayne Perrin (Private Client) and Jonathan Mathers (Agricultural and Residential Property) will look at the broad range of taxes from a residential property perspective including:

    • Inheritance Tax - the residential nil rate band and the downsizing proposals one year on; are we any clearer?
    • Capital Gains Tax – how the new rules (do not) affect residential property;
    • Income Tax – the changes in the deductibility of mortgage interest; and
    • Stamp Duty Land Tax – the new surcharge rules; when they apply and when they do not.
  2. Whose Will is it Anyway? – Tuesday, 18 October 2016 at 8:00am (Denny Brothers’ Conference Rooms, Kempson Way, Bury St Edmunds)

    Introduced by Wayne Perrin (Private Client) and with the main session including Kate Chandler (Contentious Trusts and Probate), Martine Swaep (Private Client), and Ben Fox (Contentious Trusts and Probate).

    The decision in Ilott v Mitson (currently referred to the Supreme Court) brought into the public eye the ability to “interfere” with a person’s Will. This caused a large degree of consternation in the English media, with some commentators even expressing the view that there was no longer any point in preparing a Will. In this session attendees will be given the chance to sit in judgment on a (fictional) disputed Will case. This promises to be a lively and entertaining debate.

    For further information on the above estate planning workshops, please click here.

Monday
Jul252016

Wills Week

Martine Swaep and Sandra Bowden from our Private Client team recently took part in the ‘Wills Week’ scheme in support of St Nicholas Hospice in Bury St Edmunds.  The scheme sees local solicitors prepare straightforward Wills in return for a suitable donation to the hospice.

Greene & Greene participated for the week commencing 27 June 2016.  The scheme was well publicised and by mid-May both members of the team were fully booked with an additional list of clients awaiting cancellations.

Donations of £6,510 were received and, with £1,280 of gift aid, this means that the hospice will receive £7,790 from Greene & Greene and clients.  

Martine commented:

“It was a very busy week; we saw several new clients and advised them about the Will making process. 

We often have to explain to clients the importance of having a Will, not only to deal with the money side of matters and to make sure that the individual’s estate passes to those they wish, but also to ensure that named guardians are mentioned if young children are involved.

The week is always a busy one and it takes a lot of work, but seeing how much we have raised this year makes all those extra hours worthwhile.  Some clients mentioned that they had personal experience of the work of the hospice this year and this was a good way of supporting a cause close to their hearts.  Their generous donations will go some way to meeting the daily running costs of the hospice, which are currently around £16,000 per day.”

If you are considering making a Will please contact Martine Swaep (martineswaep@greene-greene.com or 01284 717458) or Sandra Bowden (sandrabowden@greene-greene.com or 01284 717411) who would be happy to talk through the process and advise of estimated costs.