A lot can happen in a year!

6th January 2017

There tends to be the view that Probate law never changes. That the Will you wrote years ago will still be valid and that the plans you have made for your estate don’t need to be changed. To a certain extent, this is true. It’s difficult to argue that Probate law is constantly evolving when the act that contains the formalities for making a legally valid Will was passed into law by Queen Victoria! However, a closer look at Probate law reveals that it has changed more that you might think.

It’s easy to overlook the significance of 2016 because the seeds of change were planted in 2015. It was in 2015 that you will have heard about the introduction of the nil rate residential band for inheritance tax but it was in 2016 that it actually became law.

This means that, from 6th April 2017, if you die and leave your residential property to direct descendants, the first £100,000 of the property will pass inheritance tax free. When added to your existing nil rate band of £325,000 (which can be set against any assets) this means that £425,000 of your estate will not be subject to inheritance tax. As this new residential nil rate band is set to increase by £25,000 a year until 2020 it is likely that this will have an impact on a large number of people’s approach to inheritance tax planning.

2016 was also the year that the well-publicised Ilott v Mitson case reached the Supreme Court. This case, seen by many as an attack on a person’s right to chose who to put in their Will and who to leave out, highlighted one of many aspects of Will writing which many people overlook if they don’t seek legal advice … that leaving people out of your Will is not always as simple as not including them!

If you would like advice on how recent changes in Probate law might effect your Will and estate planning or if you would like to discuss any aspect of Probate law, contact Gilbert Stephens and arrange an appointment to speak to a member of our knowledgeable and approachable legal team.

Time for an Update?

2nd December 2016

How old is your Enduring Powers of Attorney?
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) are legal documents which can allow other people to look after and deal with your property and financial affairs even if you lose your mental capacity to do so yourself.

If you have an EPA then it will still be valid, but, in 2007 EPAs were replaced with Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) which means that even the youngest EPAs are nearly 10 years old! So, it may be time for you to review your EPA.

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Young Professionals Network – End of year celebration drinks

30th November 2016

The Young Professionals Network annual drinks evening was held on the evening of Tuesday 29th November in the library at Gilbert Stephens Southernhay East office. The Firm were delighted to host the last event of the year to celebrate the forthcoming festive period over plenty of mulled wine and mince pies.


Gilbert Stephens Solicitors pledged support today for the Exeter Cycling Charter

18th November 2016

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors pledged support today for the Exeter Cycling Charter.

We recognise that an active workforce is a healthier workforce, which is good both for the well-being of our staff and also for our business, because healthy employees are more productive employees who are absent less often.  At Gilbert Stephens we are pleased to support the Exeter Cycling Charter as a demonstration of our commitment to a more sustainable way of doing business, many of our staff cycle to work daily and over the past four years taken part in the FORCE Cancer Charity Nello bike ride, along with other charity events” says Rick Shorey, Chief Operations Officer at Gilbert Stephens Solicitors LLP.

Cheap and cheerful? Your Will is more than a tick in the box.

7th November 2016

If you want to be a Will writer, you can be! It’s as easy as that. You don’t need training, you don’t need qualifications and there is definitely no oversight or regulation.

For these reasons a cheap Will service is easy to find but, as with so much in life, you get what you pay for.

Writing a Will can be a tricky business. Basic mistakes can cause gifts to fail or worse, if the correct witnessing procedure is not followed, the whole document can be invalid. This could cause unnecessary distress and financial hardship to your loved ones after you die.

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Exeter’s young professionals get creative in the kitchen

27th October 2016

Members of Gilbert Stephens’ Young Professionals Network (YPN) recently hosted a tasty networking session at Exeter Cookery School, one of the region’s hottest new culinary destinations. Having been handed three recipes by the school’s head chef and tutor, Jim Fisher, the group was divided into teams and then let loose on the kitchen to create three festive canapés. Despite the look of sheer panic on some of their faces, with a little encouragement everyone was soon prepping like pros and surprised themselves by creating a veritable feast for the evening.

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