It takes two: the benefits of mutual or mirror Wills

One of the major challenges of any relationship making joint decisions, but when it comes to making your Wills as husband and wife or civil partners, it can be incredibly beneficial.

If you can co-ordinate on areas such as what happens to your assets (money, property and so on) and beneficiaries (children or other recipients), you will make the most of your shared assets and make the process much easier for those handling your estate after your death.

What are mutual or mirror Wills?
When you make mutual or mirror Wills, you create two separate documents – one for each of you – but they ‘mirror’ one another, so all the decisions in them are the same, from who you appoint as executors to those who will benefit from your estate and appointed legal guardians for your children.

You’ll need to add at least one extra executor and beneficiary to each Will to safeguard your shared estate in the event that you both die together. You can choose the same substitutes or different ones.
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Guard them with your life: make a Will to protect your child

Being a parent often equates to a series of decisions – choosing a school, a GP, vetting boyfriends and girlfriends, weighing in on everything from crayon selection and wardrobe choices to university applications and careers – but one of the most important and lasting decisions you can make is using your Will to protect your children after you’ve gone.

It may be difficult to think about, but facing this reality and preparing for it now will help your offspring in the long run. Whether you’re making your Will as a married parent, unmarried or in a civil partnership, this is crucial step to take – and will give you peace of mind.

Appoint a guardian
If you have younger children (under 18), one of your key decisions is who should care for them if something happens to you. Relatives are often the first choice for a legal guardian, but close friends may also be sensible.
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Changes to gas safety certificates for landlords

Landlords whose property contains concealed gas flues have until January 1 2013 to fit inspection hatches or risk the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) declaring the flue ‘at risk’.

Often flats or properties with extensions have hidden flues running through voids in the building. These can sometimes leak and release carbon monoxide into the property. To combat this, the HSE now requires inspection hatches to be fitted so engineers can inspect the flues as part of the gas safety inspection process.

If landlords don’t comply, engineers will declare the property ‘at risk’, turn the system off and formally advise landlords to fit the hatches and tenants to switch off their boiler. This invites tenants to refuse to pay rent or make a disrepair claim.
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Younger homebuyers increasingly likely to be unmarried

A survey by Halifax has revealed that only one-quarter of 25 to 34 year olds were married when they became first-time buyers, compared with three-quarters of 35 to 44 year olds.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of the younger group had bought property at some point with a partner, but were not married when they made the joint purchase.

Confirming that shift in priorities, when asked whether buying a house or getting married was a bigger commitment, 28% of 25 to 34 year olds said they considered getting on the property ladder more of a commitment than marriage.
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Should a Spouse Be Given a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Choosing a Lasting Power of Attorney

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legally binding document that hands control of an individual’s personal or financial affairs to another person. An individual appointed under an LPA is referred to as an attorney, but doesn’t need a background in law. Any person aged over 18 years can be chosen as an attorney, provided that he or she is mentally capable and has never been declared bankrupt (though this rule does not apply to an LPA that pertains exclusively to health and welfare).

Choosing a lasting power of attorney is more complex than randomly selecting an 18-year-old person who has not encountered financial problems in the past. When writing an LPA, several factors should be considered. Age and health are two of the most important considerations, as nobody should appoint a person who is not expected to live long. An LPA ends when the sole attorney dies, unless a condition exists to appoint another person.
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Does Divorce Affect Power of Attorney?

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) enables someone to take control of another person’s finances or personal affairs. A type of legal document, an LPA refers to matters involving health and welfare or property and finance.

Registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, an LPA is useful for protecting the interests of individuals who are no longer capable of making their own decisions. Power of attorney is usually granted long before people require somebody else to look after their finances and personal welfare.

A person who is appointed under an LPA is called an attorney. He or she does not need to possess any special legal knowledge, but should be reliable, trustworthy and willing to take on this important duty. Attorneys, therefore, tend to be friends or relatives of those who appoint them; in fact, wives and husbands are often chosen to act in this capacity.
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Employers face rise in historic equal pay claims

The Supreme Court has upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision that employees whose equal pay claim has failed to meet the time limit of an Employment Tribunal (usually six months after termination of employment) can instead bring their claim to the High Court (subject to a six-year limitation period).

The decision came after a group of 174 predominantly female former council workers brought claims against Birmingham City Council in High Court, as they were out of time to launch Employment Tribunal claims.
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Age discrimination law in provision of goods and services now in force

As of October 1 2012, the age discrimination ban in the provision of goods and services took effect as part of the Equality Act 2010.

This means that it’s unlawful to discriminate on the basis of age unless an exception applies or you can show good reason for the differential treatment.

The allowable exceptions are as follows:
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Will and Probate Law: Liability of Executors

Will and Probate

Will and probate is a phrase that is commonly used when describing the execution or management of a will, but the constituent terms are not the same. A will is a legal document that states how the testator’s assets should be distributed upon his or her death. Probate refers to the authority to administer the estate.

When a conventional or online will has been written, witnessed and signed, the people named therein, who are otherwise known as executors, must apply to the probate registry for a grant of probate. Once probate has been granted, the executor can manage the will in accordance with the testator’s wishes. What some people do not realise about will and probate law, however, is that the executors can be held personally liable for any mistakes they make.
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How to Obtain a Decree Absolute

A court will grant a decree nisi (in the UK, this might be referred to as form D29) when there are no obvious reasons why a person or couple cannot apply for divorce. This stage of the divorce process deals with entitlement and if the petitioner is not entitled to divorce, the decree should not be granted.

What is a Decree Absolute?

A decree absolute signals the dissolution of a marriage. Granted only if the petitioner is entitled to end his or her marriage, this important legal document finalises proceedings. It is essentially a certificate of divorce.
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