News Items – Severn Valley Business Group
 

Category: News Items

Our Matrimonial Law team works digitally to deliver a faster efficient service to our clients
by Louise Martin.

Family law can sometimes seem archaic and out of date. However, with the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 on the horizon, change is afoot, and the same can be said for the practice and procedure that delivers it.

At Onions & Davies we champion a service that is straightforward and efficient. We understand that family clients are burdened enough by the stress and emotion of the situation, which can easily be exacerbated by a slow and inefficient service.

Which is why at the first hint of change we signed up to MyHMCTS. This allows family law professionals, such as the solicitors in our family law team, to deal with divorce, and uncontested financial remedy, online for our clients, which speeds up our cases exponentially.

The results we have seen, as compared with filing paper divorce petitions and consent orders, has been astounding. We have in the past waited several weeks, and often several months, for the process of one component in the process, whereas now the results can be seen within the week.

With effect from 24th August 2020, a new pilot Practice Direction 36T applies, the effect of which are to make use of the online system mandatory where the applicant is legally represented. The two month lead in before the new pilot PD36T takes effect is intended to allow legal representatives time to make the transition from paper to the digital system.

 

Our Family law team is already there, and can progress your case digitally today. Please to our team by contacting 01630 411226 or email louise@onionsanddavies.co.uk for further details.

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In the current situation, a lot of people are using the opportunity to plan for the future, by making Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

The combination of flexible working from home and the summer weather has meant that we have been able to meet up with families, sometimes several generations of a family, sitting safely in their gardens and discussing their planning requirements.

Being able to take several sets of instructions for Wills and Powers of Attorney at the same meeting, makes this very cost efficient for our clients and they feel as though they are making good use of their time while they are not tied to office hours and commuting.


If you would like to make the most of this opportunity, please contact our Private Client team on 01630  652405 or chris@onionsanddavies.co.uk

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Don’t Forget Lasting Powers of Attorney

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Here at Onions & Davies, since coronavirus started to affect the country, we have seen a sharp rise in the number of Wills that we normally make for people.

A crisis like this can remind people of their mortality, and more and more people are realising that they should plan for what they would like to happen when they die.

That is still a good idea and our specialist team would be happy to help you, if this is what you want to do.

We have, however, not had a similar rise in the number of people making Lasting Powers of Attorney. This is surprising because they are equally as important.

Here are a couple of examples of recent cases that we have had, that illustrate this.

In the first, we received a telephone call from a man whose elderly Uncle had become ill with the virus, but had not died. He was already relatively frail, but able to live at home, and his Nephew managed his day to day income and expenditure, as his DWP Appointee.

The Uncle’s worsening health means that he now needs to go into care and there is a lot to have to arrange and organise.

DWP Appointeeship only covers dealing with state benefits, whereas now the Uncle is to have all his assets assessed as part of the care fees funding assessment process, discussions need to be had with the council and the care providers, a suitable care home for him to live in needs to be found, his house needs to be sold and his personal effects need to be dealt with. None of these things can be done by a DWP Appointee.

If the Uncle had made Lasting Powers of Attorney, both financial and healthcare, the Nephew could now get involved in all these aspects of his Uncle’s life, even while being socially distanced from him, and this would ease the burden on them both.

The second example is one of many similar situations that we are dealing with at the moment.

A lot of people informally help their elderly relatives or friends with their finances, in many ways. This quite often involves them going to visit them and helping them with telephone calls to utility companies, with applying for attendance allowance or similar benefits, liaising with a financial adviser, cleaners, gardeners, carers, and so on, collecting pension, getting cars and properties insured, etc.

In the current situation, it is so much harder for people to get together to help with those things.

With a Lasting Power of Attorney, all of those things can be done at a distance.

In making a Lasting Power of Attorney, you need to decide who you would like to help you with your finances and/or your healthcare decisions; you can decide what power you want them to have and how and when they should exercise it; and you can choose replacements should your first choice of people become unable to act for you.

It is possible to make Lasting Powers of Attorney even in the current situation and we at Onions & Davies can help you find the best way of doing so.

The whole process of getting a Lasting Power of Attorney made and registered, so that it can be used, is currently taking around three months, but if there is a need for someone to act for you sooner than that, then we can advise you on how that can be done.

For experienced and specialist help on all matters involving Wills, Powers of Attorney and Estates, please contact our Private Client team on 01630 652405 or chris@onionsanddavies.co.uk

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Government relaxes restrictions for the housing market

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As many of you are no doubt aware, the government has recently announced an easing of restrictions for the housing market. This effectively means homebuyers and sellers are now able to carry on with their plans but subject to the existing rules on social distancing. We are sure this will come as a great relief to many who have had to put their move on hold for many weeks.

The two main obstacles at either end of the property transaction have now been lowered. Estate agents are now allowed to carry out viewings on properties, thereby enabling new sales and purchases to enter the market. At the other end, removals firms are now allowed to operate thereby alleviating the pressure that has been building on completions.

It should be stressed that we are by no means back to normal. The country is still subject to strict social distancing rules in an effort to reduce infection rates. Therefore, although Onions & Davies are ready and able to deal with your property transaction, whether it be a new purchase or sale, or completing on a property that has been on hold, there are factors which still need to be taken into consideration. For example, removal firms still need to provide a safe working environment that complies with social distancing rules. Many firms of solicitors have had to close their offices and furlough staff and there may be a delay before they return to being fully operational.

Most importantly, there are vulnerable people who are self-isolating or shielding who will be unable to allow people into their houses to carry out viewings or be reluctant to move house due to risk of infection. We are all going to have to be patient and realise we are not back to normal, whatever will transpire to be the new “normal”. The news of the reopening of the property market is very welcome and we at Onions & Davies will do our utmost to deliver our usual efficient service subject to the restrictions in place and mindful of the particular needs of the more vulnerable in society.

For more information on the governments amended policy regarding the housing market, please follow the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

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Land registry rules on verifying ID and witnessing signatures updated as a result of Covid-19

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By David Williams, Director & Head of Property

In all cases solicitors need to obtain confirmation of the identity of their clients. This is especially the case in property transactions and Land Registry have always been strict on who can verify an individual’s ID.

Previously, anyone verifying identification documents had to be a solicitor, licenced conveyancer or chartered legal executive.

Land Registry have accepted that social distancing and the fact many offices are now closed, verification of ID has become increasingly problematic. Therefore, they have now relaxed the rules by widening the field of people who can carry out the verification.

It now includes people who work, or have worked, in certain professions including conveyancers, chartered legal executives, solicitors and barristers who have now retired; bank officials and regulated financial advisers; medical doctors, dentists and veterinary surgeons; chartered and certified accountants; together with police officers and officers in the UK armed forces.

They have also included teachers and college and university teaching staff, Westminster MPs and Welsh Assembly members; UK civil servants of senior executive officer grade or above; and magistrates.

Hopefully, this will make the job of producing verified identification documents far easier. The Land Registry have also confirmed this verification can take place via a video call.

 

For a property quote please email David at david@onionsanddavies.co.uk or call on 01630 411222.

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