With the increased levels of Coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the country, we would like to reassure all of our clients that it is business as usual at Stephens Wilmot solicitors as we continue to offer a full service, in the safest way possible.

We have reviewed and analysed the strength of our business continuity plan. In line with the Government’s strategy we are planning for all scenarios and working hard to protect our clients and the community in which we live and work.

Our priority is to support all our clients and contacts effectively and efficiently throughout this time. We have the technology to continue to meet our clients’ needs and deliver what is required and all of our professional and support staff have the ability to work remotely.

We have arranged for meetings to be conducted by telephone and over the next few weeks and months wherever possible and we are asking all of our clients to carefully consider the necessity to attend our offices in person. If you are able to interact with us via other means, such as telephone, email and video conferencing, we strongly encourage you to do so. Wherever possible, please consider the use of post and email in order to provide us with any necessary documents, rather than attending our offices in person. Hand gel is available throughout our offices and all visitors to our offices are asked to wash their hands for 20 seconds on entering and leaving our building to minimise the risk of inadvertently introducing the virus to any of our offices.

We have always treated as a priority the health and well being of our staff, clients and communities. We have our own “Cobra Committee” of senior leaders from the core business areas in the firm monitoring developments on a daily basis and responding to them. We are following the guidance of Public Health England and Wales and the reports of the World Health Organisation.

We will, of course, update our clients with any significant developments over the coming weeks and months but for now we would like to re-iterate that we fully intend to meet all of our clients’ needs and deliver them the best possible service through these unprecedented times.

Many thanks,

Stephens Wilmot Solicitors

Industry research carried out by Yorkshire Building Society found that first time buyers accounted for 51% of all mortgaged property purchases in 2019. 

Compared with a mere 38% at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, these figures are a promising sign for the housing market.

In spite of concerns over the effect of Brexit on interest rates, 353,436 first-time buyers bought their first home with a mortgage last year. Though it is only marginally up from 2018, which saw 353,130 first-time buyers enter the market, it is still the highest level since 2007.

Strong competition has driven mortgage rates down in recent years and Government schemes, such as Stamp Duty relief, Help to Buy equity loans and Help to Buy ISAs, have certainly supported growth. Though house prices have risen considerably in comparison to salaries over the past 12 years, a rise in 95% loan-to-value mortgages has reduced the need for a higher deposit. Furthermore, many first time buyers are now opting for home loans with terms of up to 40 years, making their repayments more affordable.

Although the Help to Buy Isa was discontinued in November 2019, the Lifetime ISA is still available and offers a generous Government bonus of 25%, up to a maximum of £1,000 per year. You must be between 18 and 40 to open a Lifetime ISA and you can put in up to £4,000 each year until you’re 50.

If you are a first time buyer looking to get on to the property ladder in 2020 our revolutionary conveyancing service will help simplify the process. Whether you are looking for advice and guidance on how to enter the market, or you are ready to enlist our services, contact our team today.

Who would look after your children if you died?

Worryingly, six in ten parents in the UK either do not have a Will or have one that is out of date, research by Royal London found.

If you are a parent without a Will you haven’t documented your wishes for the care of your children if you were to die. If the worst were to happen the Court would decide the future for your children, including where they would live and who would care for them.

A Will nominating guardians for your children is especially important for single parent families, who make up one in four families in the UK. This gives you the opportunity to carefully consider who should have parental responsibility over your children if you were to die.

The role of a guardian is essentially the same as that of a parent and will include decisions about schooling and health, as well as moral and social training. There will be financial, social and emotional implications, and these should be discussed with the guardian prior to their appointment.

However, while guardians have daily responsibility for the children, it is better for financial control to be handled by someone different. This would normally be the trustees of the estate. Through the appointed trustees, you can make financial arrangements for your children in the event of your death. For more information about our Will writing services, request a call back today.

According to the Office of the Public Guardian, the number of people setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney has more than doubled in the last three years. This growth is likely attributed to an aging population and a greater awareness of conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that there are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with this number predicted to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.

Whilst it is not pleasant to imagine being in a situation in which we will not have complete control of our own personal affairs, there are many illnesses that can leave us reliant on those around us – between 2016 and 2017, someone was admitted to hospital every three minutes with a head injury.

If there comes a time in the future when you don’t have the mental capacity to make a particular decision, and you haven’t created a valid LPA, your assets will be effectively frozen which can lead to problems paying bills, claiming pensions, entitlements and making vital decisions regarding property and investments.

To avoid the issues outlined above, it is crucial to set up an LPA while you are still mentally capable, well before you need it. Our solicitors will help to demystify the LPA application process and identify which kind of LPA is right for you. For more information about setting up an LPA, request a call back today.

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