The Advantages of Voluntary Registration

11th May 2017

The Advantages of Voluntary Registration

If the title deeds to your home are currently unregistered, then you may like to consider the many advantages of applying for voluntary first registration of your title at the Land Registry (whether or not you are thinking of selling).

These benefits include having a state-backed registration giving greater title security and also providing protection against the possibility of losing your land due to a claim for adverse possession. When you sell your home, or apply for a mortgage, it is also favourable if your title is already registered.  This is because you will already have a register setting out the rights that benefit your land and the matters which affect your land.  You will also have a Land Registry filed plan showing the extent of your title, which is useful for marketing purposes.

Since 1 December 1988, unregistered land in the West Devon Borough Council area that has been bought for value or mortgaged for the first time has been subject to compulsory registration at the Land Registry. For such land in the Teignbridge District Council area, the relevant date was 1 February 1978.

If your title is not registered, then your only proof of ownership is the collection of unregistered title deeds and searches, which can often be mislaid or destroyed.

Philip Horlock, Solicitor at Gilbert Stephens says “I encourage owners of unregistered titles to apply for voluntary registration. Registered title holders enjoy greater protection from claims for adverse possession and if they decide to sell, the conveyancing process is generally faster and more certain”.

For more information on this subject or on buying and selling property, please contact Philip Horlock on 01837 51 21 00.


For more information on this subject or on buying and selling property, please contact Philip Horlock on 01837 51 21 00.

Philip Horlock

Gilbert Stephens proud to support Kenton Primary School May Day event

9th May 2017

Gilbert Stephens were again proud to support this years Kenton Primary School May Day celebrations held on the 1st May 2017 at the Kenton School field.

Each year this fun event is well attended by parents and the local community alike and this year saw a record figure of over £2000 being raised. The Firm supported the event by sponsoring the raffle tickets and BBQ which raised £800 and importantly ensured that energy levels were maintained throughout a busy day of bouncy castles, Sumo wrestling, pony rides, maypole dancing around the magnificent maypole show below and live music.

The firm would like to express its congratulations to all those involved with organising the event and the mammoth efforts put in in advance and on the day.







GS YPN team attend a fundraising wine tasting event

2nd May 2017

On Friday 28th April 2017, members of the Gilbert Stephens YPN attended a Headway Charity fundraising wine tasting and quiz evening at the XCentre, Exeter.

Interestingly the quiz was wine related. 6 wines, provided and discussed in detail by Majestic Wines, were tasted over the course of the evening and the team had to guess the type and country of origin. Fortunately for the team, their combined experience of years of wine sampling paid dividends and they scored a healthy 5/6 in the quiz and nearly came first, only losing out in the tie breaker question, guessing that Majestic Wines had 700 wines when in fact the answer was 600!

Headway is the UK-wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury. Through its network of more than 125 groups and branches across the UK, it provides support, services and information to brain injury survivors, their families and carers, as well as to professionals in the health and legal fields.

Team line up: Antonia D’Alessio (GS YPN), Nick Shepherd (NatWest, Business and Commercial Banking), Gemma Townsend (GS YPN), Cheryl Bolt (GS YPN).

Peter Bennett retires from the Firm after 15 years service

2nd May 2017

On Thursday 20th April 2017, Peter Bennett retired from the Firm after a long and successful career in the legal profession. Peter was born, raised and educated in Exeter. In 1976 he became a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives and subsequently in 1993 he was a founder member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. He has worked locally for all his professional career having joined Gilbert Stephens in 2002 as Senior Private Client Legal Executive from which he now retires after 15 years service.  Peter specialised in private client matters at the Firm, particularly the preparation of Wills, Inheritance Tax planning and estate administration.

Over the years, Peter contributed a great deal to the Firm and will be greatly missed by the partnership, his clients and colleagues alike.

A late afternoon drinks reception was held in the Library at the Firm’s offices in Southerhay East.  Colleagues gathered to wish Peter a fond farewell and best wishes for his future which will involve being an active grandparent, walking, cycling and making more of his membership of the Exeter Golf and Country Club.

GS Young Professionals Network host an Easter drinks evening at their offices in Exeter

13th April 2017

On Tuesday 11th April 2017 the GS Young Professionals Network hosted an informal Easter drinks evening at their office in Southerhay East, Exeter. The event was held slightly earlier in the week than normal to cater for members taking an extended break over the Easter holidays and over 20 members attended.  The Gilbert Stephens library felt very ‘Spring like’ as Easter Eggs adorned the mantelpiece and the mood was upbeat and jovial with talk of everyone’s plans over the Easter weekend – and of course local business matters.

New Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) now in force

6th April 2017

Since the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) was announced in 2015 it has been the topic of much discussion. The new band came into force on 6th April 2017 and now that it is finally here, it is time to ask what this new tax break means for you.

The RNRB has been described as increasing the amount that individuals can pass inheritance tax free from £325,000 to £500,000, however, that is not quite true. Currently everyone can pass £325,000 to anyone they like. This current ordinary nil rate band can be set against any asset. The RNRB is different. It is initially £100,000 but will increase every year until 2020 when it reaches £175,000. When added to the ordinary nil rate band, this brings us to £500,000 but it can only be set against your family home, and only if you leave that property to your direct descendants. This stipulation may cause problems to those using a discretionary Will trust to benefit their family. The situation for married couples and civil partners is slightly different as anything left to a surviving spouse passes inheritance tax free and on the survivor’s death their estate can claim both nil rate bands and both RNRBs. It is important to remember Inheritance Tax when making your Will and you should review your Will in light of these changes. With additional tax savings on offer, it would be a shame to miss out.

For more information on this subject or on Wills, Estate and Tax planning, please contact Claire Thompson on 01837 512100 or Richard Walford on 01392 424242


Gilbert Stephens attend the annual Devon County Cricket Club Quiz night at Sidmouth CC

5th April 2017

On Tuesday 4th April 2017, a team of quiz masters from Gilbert Stephens attended the annual Devon County Cricket Club Quiz event at Sidmouth County Cricket Club.

The purpose of the evening was to celebrate the launch of the seasons 2017 Souvenir Brochure and raise funds for three local charities; Sidmouth Hospiscare, The Sid Valley Admiral Nurse Appeal, Memory Café and The David Shepherd Cricket Trust through a charity raffle.  The event attracted a bumper attendance of over 80 people making up 15 competing teams.  The team consisting of Alastair Bates, Richard Shorey and Carolyn McAndrew (below) hoped to repeat their success of last year but alas, history was not to repeat itself with the team finishing a respectable mid table position behind the worthy winners Enchanted House Beds of Okehampton (above).  Everyone had an enjoyable and fun evening.

The Brochure, now in its 2nd year has been designed to help Raise the Profile of Devon County Cricket. Through the goodwill and support of local business sponsorship the brochure offers 40 page of news articles, photographs plus all the home fixtures for the 2017 season and will be distributed free of charge from this month.


Unique Painting Sold For Exeter Fire Fundraising

4th April 2017

A painting depicting everyday life in Exeter’s Southernhay district has been auctioned to raise funds for a new cultural tribute after the Cathedral Yard fire and has been purchased for a policeman who helped in the response to the blaze.

Property Search Group wanted to bring together the city’s law firms to raise money by commissioning and auctioning the painting, created by Devon artist and illustrator Sara Nunan.

Solicitors and colleagues gathered at the Mercure Exeter Southgate on Thursday (March 30) for the auction, conducted by TV’s Homes under the Hammer auctioneer Scott Gray.

The auction of the painting was won by 24-year-old Tom Backhouse, of TerraFirma, whose father Inspector Mark Backhouse, was involved in the emergency response to the blaze.

He said: “It’s an original piece of artwork and the money is going to a good cause which is the most important thing. I’ve never owned a piece of original art so that’s definitely a first. I was born in Exeter, my parents have lived in Exeter most of their lives, my dad works in the police force and was involved in the fire so it has a personal tie.”

The original was sold for £310, with an accompanying painting by Sara of Cathedral Yard selling for £320. Combined with donations from the 13 law firms for involvement in the painting, and the sale of limited edition prints, £2,620 was raised.

The money will go to the Devon Community Foundation for the cultural tribute, following the fire that destroyed the Royal Clarence Hotel last October.

Andy Towers of PSG, which provides conveyancing search services to legal firms across the region, said: “We’re thrilled that so many of Exeter’s legal firms have helped support a lasting legacy following the terrible fire in Cathedral Yard.

“I’m sure the cultural tribute will be a fitting tribute to remember what happened but also a positive statement about the future of the wonderful city of Exeter.”

Terry Bastyan, Managing Partner of Gilbert Stephens said: “The firm is delighted to have been involved in this initiative as a way of showing our respects to the brave people involved in putting out the devastating fire and people and businesses effected.”

The painting depicts a ‘day in the life’ of the area, traditionally the city’s legal hub adjoining Cathedral Yard. It features individual solicitors and colleagues from legal firms who have donated money – Browne Jacobson, Crosse and Crosse, Dunn and Baker, Everys, Foot Anstey, Ford Simey, Gilbert Stephens, Kitsons, Magdalen Chambers, Michelmores, Morgan and Pope, Stephens Scown and WBW Solicitors.

Young Professionals Network – Breakfast at Tea On The Green

30th March 2017

This month YPN members took a break from their busy schedule to enjoy a hearty breakfast at Tea on the Green.

Due to the location, the view of the aftermath of the Royal Clarence Fire could not be avoided as members enjoyed their breakfast. This incited much discussion on the current proposed plans for the restoration of the building and there was a general consensus that the building should be restored to its former glory and everyone was excited to hear that a proposed further storey is also to be erected.

Gilbert Stephens attend the Devon & Somerset Law Society Skittles event

28th March 2017

On the 27 March 2017, Gilbert Stephens attended the Devon and Somerset Laws Society (DASLS) skittles event in Dawlish.

Sadly our team comprising Antonia D’Alessio, Luke Kitteridge and Annabel Rowan didn’t win but did put up a valiant attempt with some good scores along the way. However Dunn & Baker were on top form that night and won overall.