Below you can find a selection of articles written by our lawyers.
Applying for a Grant of Probate - do I really need a solicitor?
A Grant of Probate is a court order which details who is responsible for dealing with a loved one’s estate, once they have passed away.
There is a lot of information online and so you may wonder whether you really need to get a solicitor involved.
If your loved one has left a Will then it will name Executors. Underwoods solicitors can help the Executors to fulfil their responsibilities.
What does that process involve?
The first thing you need to do is find out what the value is of all of the belongings which can include property, cash and shares. You will need to pay any outstanding debts, complete the necessary tax forms, collect in any money and then pass this on to the beneficiaries, that is the people named in the Will.
Why should you instruct a solicitor?
The loss of someone close is an extremely difficult time and having to deal with a Will with no experience of having done it before can often be very hard.
At Underwoods Solicitors we can help take the stress and anxiety away and give you the peace of mind that everything is being handled correctly. We will find out how much the estate is worth, complete the necessary forms and distribute any money in the Will as quickly as possible.
Sometimes matters can be much more complicated and in these circumstances it is even more important that you have a solicitor rather than leaving yourself liable to making mistakes.
Underwoods Solicitors offer a free initial consultation for Probate.
Please do get in touch if you would like to consult one of our solicitors on 01442 430 900 or contact Anna Patsalides at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prisons and Courts Bill: Cross-examination of witnesses in family law
On February 23 the government introduced the Prisons and Courts Bill which looks to put in place protection for vulnerable witnesses.
This is a long and overdue proposal which could see the end of face to face cross examination of witnesses in the Family Court. The court can put in place special measures under the current system but even video links do not offer enough protection.
The cutbacks in legal aid have led to an increase in the number of people representing themselves at trial. This means that alleged perpetrators of violence were cross-examining their alleged victims.
The National chair of Resolution, Nigel Shepherd has welcomed the proposed changes saying
"We welcome the MoJ's
proposals to prevent alleged abusers from being able to cross-examine the
person they're alleged to have abused. It is a reform that is long overdue in
family cases where the fear of such cross-examination can result in victims of
abuse not seeking the protection they need and, if they do go ahead, adds to
the trauma they have suffered.
"As ever with legislation, the devil will be in the detail and there is much hard work to be done to ensure these measures can be successfully delivered. Resolution looks forward to playing its part in this."
The proposed changes will mean that the court has the power to appoint a publically funded legal representative to undertake the cross-examination where they feel it is necessary in the interest of justice.
Although further details are awaited there are further calls on the government to review Legal Aid Funding but the bill is definitely a step in the right direction.
If you need help and advice in relation to a family law matter then please contact Anna Patsalides or email email@example.com.
Legal Services Consumer Panel - A blot on the landscape
Here is Kerry Underwood's blog in relation to The Legal Services Consumer Panel's response to the Competition & Markets Authority's Legal Services Market Study.
Kerry Underwood would be interested to hear your thoughts on the response and can be contacted on 01442 430 900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Litigants in Person
Litigants in Person is the name given to people who are dealing with a court case themselves, rather than having a lawyer.
Click here to see Kerry Underwood’s piece on the subject.
If you are a Litigant in Person dealing with a matter yourself or you are not sure whether to use a solicitor or not, then please phone Anna Patsalides on 01442 430 900 for a free telephone chat about your matter.
Silver Service Law
Here is Kerry Underwood’s piece on the standards we think law firms should achieve.
This piece has been used by the Law Society in its Risk and Management section newsletter and in its Managing for Success newsletter.
There is always room for improvement and so if you have any ideas as to how law firms can improve their service to you then please telephone Kerry Underwood on 01442 430 900 or email him email@example.com.
Court Fees and help with Fees
It is Government policy to make a profit out of court fees. This means that court fees have rocketed.
However, depending on your savings and income and outgoings you may be able to get help with these fees, meaning that you pay a reduced fee or nothing.
Please see here for Kerry Underwood’s article on this subject.
If you need further help please telephone Anna Patsalides on 01442 430 900 for a free telephone chat about your matter.