Further advice relating to Coronavirus - Issue 4 - 01/05/2020

Farleys

Have you made a Will? - Farleys Solicitors

When a person doesn’t leave a Will, their estate must be divided according to a strict set of rules, called ‘intestacy’ whereby only married couples, civil partners or close relatives are allowed to inherit or claim an estate.

The division of the estate according to intestacy might be an acceptable solution if you have a relatively small family, an uncomplicated family history, or you simply don’t mind if your spouse, civil partner or children will be the sole inheritors of the bulk of your estate.

However, more and more people are entering into first (or second) marriages with children from previous relationships, creating large blended families. Intestacy does not account for blended families, unmarried partners, complicated living situations, or other dependents.

Choosing to write a Will is the only way to ensure loved ones receive what you want them to upon your death.

If you don’t leave a Will, here’s what will happen

Intestacy rules

  • Under the rules of intestacy, your estate will be distributed in a specific order. Generally, the distribution begins with your spouse, children and descendants, before expanding to other members of your family tree
  • If you aren’t married or in a civil partnership then the estate will pass to your descendants first, followed by other close blood relatives. Full blood relatives will always be prioritised according to this system, followed by half-blood relatives. Keep in mind that your estate will never pass to a relative related to you only through marriage.

Who inherits under intestacy?

Under intestacy, your estate is passed onto your spouse and close blood relatives. In England and Wales this includes:

  • Your spouse or civil partner
  • Your children (including legally adopted children) and their children
  • Your siblings (including any half-siblings) and their children
  • Your parents and grandparents
  • Your uncles or aunts (full blood) and their children
  • Your uncles or aunts (half blood) and their children

If there is no living close member of your family, the estate is absorbed by the Crown and legally becomes ownerless property. This type of ownerless property is called ‘bona vacantia’ – this is complicated but it means it could end up with the Crown.

Who can’t inherit under intestacy?

The rules are old fashioned and don’t account for modern blended families and complex living situations.

Examples of loved ones who cannot inherit your estate under intestacy include:

  • An unmarried partner and their children
  • A step-child or step-children
  • A close friend
  • A carer
  • A financial dependent

You may be financially providing for a loved one or actively caring for them, but under intestacy they won't be adequately provided for.

Farleys Solicitors are on hand to help you prepare your Will to ensure that your loved ones are protected with a legally binding document.  Contact us on 0845 287 0939 or email us today.

Working from Home

Working from Home - Pierce

Employee Wellbeing

Employers are responsible for the health and safety of all employees by law, including those working from home.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, employers will be unable to make the usual health and safety risk assessments at an employee's home but hey should still check that:

  • each employee feels the work they're being asked to do at home can be done safely
  • employees have the right equipment to work safely
  • managers keep in regular contact with their employees, including making sure they do not feel isolated
  • reasonable adjustments are made for an employee who has a disability

Employees also have a responsibility to take care of their own health and safety.  They should keep in regular contact with their manager and advise them about any health and safety risks and any home working arrangements that need to change.

Employers and employees are currently likely to be experiencing a higher level of stress and anxiety than normal as the isolation takes its toll.  Many workers have been isolating at home for over 6 weeks and now the novelty has worn off issues with mental health are likely to increase.

There has never been a more important time to support your staff in relation to their mental health and wellbeing. As the pandemic as proven, without health our economy suffers.

Some simple planning and organisational structure around mental health can go a long way. We have partnered with PH7 Health who give our staff access to wellbeing and mental health resources and peer led support groups, along with 8 sessions of counselling should our staff require it.  Go to https://ph7wellbeing.co.uk/ for more information.

"When we come out of this crisis we will need our co-workers to be mentally and physically as fit as possible to enable us to recover in the most effective way. The nation at the moment is in grief and if feelings aren’t listened to, understood and worked through, the result of this will be trauma. Pro-active planning now will result in greater growth in the future and there is an opportunity here to invest in building professional intimacy" – Paul Howarth – Founder PH7 & Advanced Training Psychotherapist.

Cyber Hygiene & data

Unfortunately, this current period of disruption is a breeding ground for criminal scams who are introducing a new twist on existing attacks.  Many employees are trying to learn new systems and practices whilst working from home and thieves are taking advantage of this confusion.

We are seeing an increase in phishing emails and other scams targeting vulnerable people and businesses offering refunds, grants or fake products.

It is important to get the basics right and ensure that your data and systems are kept secure.  There are many guides online including the following from the National Cyber Security Centre and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales:

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/small-business-guide

https://www.icaew.com/-/media/corporate/files/technical/information-technology/essential-guides/tech-essentials-10-steps-to-cyber-security-for-smaller-firms.ashx?la=en

Some of the key points include:

  • Ensure software is kept up to date, especially anti-virus and anti-malware software.
  • Backup your data regularly
  • Use strong passwords
  • Educate employees on how to spot and avoid phishing emails
  • Protect sensitive data

The National Cyber Security Centre also has an online cyber security training course available at:

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/blog-post/ncsc-cyber-security-training-for-staff-now-available

pareto

Protecting the Family - Pareto Financial Planners

There is no doubt that the current climate has brought all manner of concern regarding our families and their future plans into sharp focus. Each of us and the people we are close to have been affected in various ways.

The financial aspects, be it short term income concerns, implications to our businesses, the effect of the loss of loved ones can all be planned for by implementing simple financial planning strategies. The core of every financial plan is to ensure that long term goals and objectives, for you and your loved ones can be met, unhindered by the adversities that life can throw at us along the way.

As such, protecting the family tends to be the central focus of many adviser/client meetings. Clients plan to ensure that their goals and objectives, for them and their families are achieved, and then look to safeguard those achievements for the next generation.

There are a whole host of tools that are available in order to achieve this. They may include income protection, critical illness cover, private medical insurance, life cover or long term care strategies. Wealth preservation aspects including; inheritance tax and wealth transfer to the next generation, wills and lasting powers of attorney can also be considered.

Contact Pareto for more information.

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