Stafford Solicitors offering a fresh approach to legal services in Staffordshire and the surrounding areas.
• Fixed and Transparent Fees
• Out of hours appointments available
• Home Visits at no extra charge
• Free thirty minute consultation
We offer specialist advice in the following areas
• Probate offering Fixed Fees paid at the conclusion of the matter
• Wills & Estate Planning (Free Will Storage)
• Residential Conveyancing
• Commercial Conveyancing
• Lasting Powers of Attorney
• Court of Protection
If you do not have a Will or the Will is badly written, this can lead to costly, time consuming and lengthy disputes at a time when your loved ones simply need peace of mind. Making a Will can ensure that a lifetime of effort benefits those you love.
Without a Will your cohabitee may have no entitlement to your estate. If you have no Will your estranged spouse or civil partner is likely to inherit most if not all of your estate
A Will allows you to voice your opinion on who will look after your children when you are no longer able to. Your Will can clearly set out your preferences on your burial or cremation
Professional Estate Planning will reduce the tax paid on your death.
We can provide expertise to guide you throughout the process. We offer a free no obligation Will check to make sure that your Will does what you need and expect. If you cannot come to our office in Stafford do not worry we can come to you. Sheppard Fisher Solicitors will store your Will free of charge.
Sheppard Fisher Solicitors are pleased to announce that they have chosen to support The Donna Louise Children's Hospice. If you are prepared to leave a legacy or make a donation to The Donna Louise Children's Hospice, Sheppard Fisher Solicitors will both write a Will and make arrangements for you to execute your Will free of charge.
We offer a variety of payment solutions including commission free credit card payments. The first thirty minutes of every initial consultation relating to Will Writing will be offered free of charge. Appointments not always necessary.
Mark Sheppard started his legal career in 1982 and commenced working for a large practice in Staffordshire specialising in Residential Conveyancing, Wills and Probate.Within two years Mark had developed his conveyancing expertise and was asked to act in plot sales for two multi million pound Midland building companies.
Over a number of years Mark has gained substantial experience in drafting Wills and Estate Planning for High Net Worth clients. Mark developed his private client work working for another large solicitors practice based in Stoke-on-Trent. More recently Mark has developed a Commercial Conveyancing practice.
Throughout his legal practice Mark has gained a reputation of straight talking, staying calm under pressure and practical and effective solution finding for many clients. This has resulted in the appointment of Mark on occasions as a Professional Executor, Attorney and a Deputy in Court of Protection matters.
For those clients in the Stafford area who are becoming or who might become vulnerable or incapable in the future, a Lasting Power of Attorney can offer immediate help.
Many people ask us what a Power of Attorney is. A Lasting Power of Attorney gives someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf, if either you’re unable to in the future or you no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
Property and Financial Affairs – this document, once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian will allow your attorney to deal with your finances and your property. The Lasting Power of Attorney can include restrictions on how your finances and property can be dealt with, it can also contain guidance to enable your attorney to consider your wishes.
Health and Welfare – this document will enable your attorney to make decisions regarding your welfare and care. You can if you require, give your attorney the authority to make decisions about life sustaining treatment. This document to be legally valid must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Unlike the property and financial Lasting Power of Attorney, authority to deal with your affairs can only be exercised if you are losing or have lost your capacity. The document will allow you to restrict the areas that you wish your attorney to deal with. It can also allow you to provide guidance to your attorney in respect of your end of life care.
A Power of Attorney allows those who love and care for you to be able to look after you in a way that you need and deserve.
Allow our experience to guide you through the process of completing a Lasting Power of Attorney application which will avoid complications and often save time and when time is of the essence.
Our fees for a s ingle Lasting Power of Attorney £200.00 plus VAT, for a second Lasting Power of Attorney £180.00 plus VAT.
£110.00 each registration fee payable to the Office of the Public Guardian.
We offer a variety of payment solutions including commission free credit card payments. The first thirty minutes of every initial consultation relating to obtaining Power of Attorney will be offered free of charge. Appointments not always necessary.
If a person loses mental capacity their affairs will be supervised by the Court of Protection, this is simply to make sure that their financial and other affairs are dealt with in an appropriate way.
If a person (the donor) has made either a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) which has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, the appointed Attorney will on the whole be entitled to handle the donor’s affairs without intervention.
For those people who have lost or are losing mental capacity, and do not have either a LPA or EPA, a Deputy must be appointed by the Court of Protection. Subject to certain requirements any person can apply to be a Deputy, as part of the process the Court of Protection will decide whether the applicant is suitable.
Occasionally someone loses mental capacity and has no relatives or close friends who are able to apply to be a Deputy. We have the experience to be appointed as a Deputy. In addition to ensuring that all financial aspects are dealt with properly, we make sure that we visit the person regularly and will carefully consider what other practical measures should be put into place to make their lives a little easier.
Alternatively we can help you to complete an application to become a Deputy, advising and supporting you each step of the way.
We offer a variety of payment solutions including commission free credit card payments. The first thirty minutes of every initial consultation relating to applying to the Court of Protection will be offered free of charge. Appointments not always necessary.
At a time of bereavement we know how difficult it can be
to deal with practicalities and obtaining a
Grant of Probate
may be more than you can cope with.
Let us take away some
of the worry and confusion.
Unlike other solicitor's that may charge as much as 2.5% of the value of the estate, plus an hourly rate, we offer a fixed fee service.
Probate (Grant of Representation) is a legal term which put simply means the right to deal with a person’s estate, including their assets and liabilities.
Obtaining Probate and Estate Administration is often viewed as complicated which presents itself at a time when the death of a loved one is all that you can hope to cope with. Are you an Executor of a Will and unsure of your responsibilities? If you have been appointed as an Executor in an estate or you are one of the closest members of the family of the deceased you may wish to consider taking advice as probate can become complicated. This is particularly so if Inheritance Tax is payable to H M Revenue & Customs. In those circumstances it is critical that assets are correctly valued.
Probate advice from a Probate and Estate Administration Lawyer who will listen to your needs in a sensitive but efficient way can avoid the immediate added pressures of providing for yourself and your family.
• Grants of Representation include Grants of Probate and Grants of Letters of Administration (where there is a will)
• A Grant is not always needed, for example if the person who has died left less than £5,000.00 in total;
or they owned everything jointly with someone else.
• A Grant is normally needed when dealing with a house or land, stocks and shares and estates over £5,000.00
Costs vary significantly and many solicitors charge hourly rates and or a percentage of the Estate.
Our Fixed Fees
The first thirty minutes of every initial consultation relating to Probate and Estate Administration will be offered free of charge.
Obtaining a Grant of Probate £400.00 + V.A.T + Probate and Oath Fees.
Obtaining Grant of Letters of Administration only £500.00 + VAT and Probate Oath Fees.
Administration of Estate up to four accounts for example bank accounts, stocks and shares etc. £1,150.00 + VAT and Probate and Oath Fees.
Administration of Estate five to ten accounts for example bank accounts, stocks and shares etc.
£1,600.00 + VAT and Probate and Oath Fees.
If there is no will an additional fee of £300.00 + V.A.T will be added to the above.
If there are between 3 and 5 beneficiaries an additional sum of £100.00 + V.A.T.
If there are 6 or more beneficiaries an additional sum of £250.00 + V.A.T.
Conveyancing costs are in addition to the above prices, competitive fixed fees are available on request.
“From our very first telephone contact through to the conclusion of Power of Attorney and Will business Mark Sheppard's knowledge, patience and understanding have been exemplary. Each time we met, he ensured that every legal aspect was carefully explained and questions fully answered. All appointments were kept on time and we never had to wait or chivvy for things to happen.
We would highly recommend Sheppard Fisher to anyone who requires the services of a solicitor and we would personally like to thank Mark Sheppard most sincerely for all his work and care.”
"I used Sheppard Fisher when selling my property. I would highly recommend Mark Sheppard for any legal work. I found him very approachable and professional, the fees were very reasonable. Would certainly use again.
"We needed to update our wills, land registry entry and have all various powers of attorney drawn up. We received prompt and efficient resolutions via friendly face to face visits when all were explained simply and effectively. The various separate documents, duly authorised, were provided to our complete satisfaction and at a very reasonable total cost. We have no hesitation in giving our highest recommendation."
"If you want a small, friendly, professional outfit, this is the place for you. Impressive from when you enter their door."
"My brother recently fell ill and needed to go into a residential nursing home. It has been an extremely difficult and emotional time, we had no idea where to go for support and help and then we had the added stress of having to 'fight' social services in regards for funding a home suitable for his needs. Fortunately we got in contact with Mark Sheppard whose help and guidance through this difficult journey was invaluable. We were so impessed with his service we have recently returned to get our Wills and Power of Attorney sorted out. I can't recommend them enough, nothing is too much trouble."
recommended on www.carehome.co.uk
"I can fully recommend Sheppard Fisher if you need any help applying for a Court of Protection Order. Their help has been invaluable in completing the myriad of forms and ensuring all the necessary information was included, having expert help from Sheppard Fisher made all of the difference. They were always there to answer my questions and kept me up to date with what was happening. If you need help don't hesitate to call them."
recommended on www.carehome.co.uk
"I contacted Sheppard Fisher Solicitors at a very stressful time and I was helped in a very professional and sympathetic way. I have been kept up to date with all the information that was necessary and feel the solicitors have acted upon my dilema in the most diligent way. I would like to thank all concerned for all the help I have received."
recommended on www.carehome.co.uk
"We have always been very happy with the service provided by Sheppard Fisher Solicitors and find their standards of work and attention to be of the highest level"
"I was helped through a very difficult procedure by Mark, who kept me completely up to date with progress in a professional but friendly manner."
"Advice and guidance throughout legal proceedings was given with politeness and courtesy in all sectors."
"All queries were dealt with promptly and we were extremely well treated, with patience and perseverance."
"Thank you for your hard work and efficiency, Mark, your calm manner was much appreciated in the final few fraught days!"
"Thank you so much for your kindness and patience in dealing with our problem, we really do appreciate all your help. Many Thanks."
"The service we received was first class and we felt the service was efficient and we had a very comfortable experience throughout."
We are proud to be a recommended Solicitor on Carehome.co.uk
Our social care system has been entirely overhauled by the Care Act 2014. A significant aspect of this is care and support statutory guidance which sets out the standards expected by the Care Act.
Major areas of the guidance include:-
The paying for care provisions and in particular the £72,000.00 capital care cap.
A national level of support and care needs.
A deferred payment agreement which should avoid in most cases being forced to sell your home.
The average cost of residential care home fees are currently £35,000 a year. Experts expect this to rise to £55,000 by 2040.
What is the reality of the Care fee cap?
Too many people have misconceived ideas of whether they should pay for their care home fees.
For some the cost of care home fees should be funded by the NHS. Funding by the NHS is non means tested and therefore free irrespective of what savings you have.
There have been a number of cases where the NHS have failed to apply the relevant guidelines and people who should qualify for NHS funding have had no alternative but to pay for the fees from their own income and savings. Recent figures have shown that as few as 58,000 people have received NHS funding whereas as many as 150,000 should be entitled to it. Recent research has shown that more than a million homes have been sold in the last 5 years to fund care home fees.
The reasons why NHS care funding decisions may be wrong are many and varied. Those who have been denied NHS funding and are paying for their own care, may through a legal challenge to the decision be able to reclaim nursing home fees. Some families may be able to reclaim nursing home fees exceeding £50,000.
If you have a relative who has now died, and you consider that they may have wrongly been paying care home fees, you might still be able to have the decision reviewed retrospectively. Some families have recovered sums in excess of £100,000.
If you, a friend or relative are presently being assessed or are likely to need assessment in the near future, we can provide the expert advice and guidance to ensure that the criteria is properly followed. We can also make sure that the benefits and allowances that you are entitled to are claimed to reduce the real costs of care home fees.
The State has a crucial role to play in ensuring that those who are vulnerable due to advancing age, illness, injury or mental or physical disability are fully considered. The issues are ever changing and becoming more complex. At Sheppard Fisher solicitors we will ensure that our clients are cared for, provided with accommodation where appropriate and are paid the benefits they are entitled to.
Come and see our Care Home Solicitors for a free 30 minute consultation on Care Home Fees. If you cannot come to us we will come to you.
Sheppard Fisher Solicitors has secured membership to the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme - the mark of excellence for the home buying process.
Sheppard Fisher Solicitors underwent rigorous assessment by the Law Society in order to secure CQS status, which marks the firm out as meeting high standards in the residential conveyancing process.
Law Society President Andrew Caplen said that the CQS accreditation is the hallmark of high standards and establishes a level of credibility for regulators, lenders, insurers and consumers.
"CQS is the quality mark of the home-buying sector and enables consumers to identify practices that provide a quality residential conveyancing service. With so many different conveyancing service providers out there CQS helps home-buyers and sellers seek out those that can provide a safe and efficient level of service."
Many people describe buying or selling a property as one of the most stressful experiences of their life. This shouldn’t be the case with the right solicitors. At Sheppard Fisher we have the right blend of experience, ability and availability to make the whole process entirely painless.
We can help with
- Re mortgaging
- Transfer of Equity
- Landlord and Tenant
We offer no obligation quotes
We will provide the service you want at competitive rates
Please email email@example.com or telephone 01785 250606.
It is essential that you use a commercial property solicitor when buying or selling a commercial property. It is equally important to do so if you are either taking or giving a lease of commercial premises. There are many pitfalls that can be avoided by using a firm with the right kind of knowledge and experience. Whether you are a young entrepreneur setting up their own business or a long established company or business we can help.
Once you have agreed heads of terms we will assist you throughout the process, including registering your lease at the Land Registry and discharging any Stamp Duty Land Tax payable on the transaction.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01785 250606.
The loss of a loved one is difficult enough but where there is a dispute over their will or estate it can be hard to know where to turn to for advice and support.
At Sheppard Fisher we have the expertise to help you with your case, offering clear advice. We will guide you through the options available to you in confidential and supportive surroundings.
There are a number of grounds upon which a will can be contested.
If you are concerned about any of the grounds listed below please contact us as soon as possible since some claims have short time limits and legal advice should be obtained without delay.
Sometimes suspicion can be raised where money or other assets are given to a person you may believe has persuaded or manipulated the deceased to make or change a will in their favour. Undue influence can be difficult to prove and the evidence must be of a sufficiently high standard to persuade the court that there is no other explanation for the will being made in those terms. If the deceased was elderly or vulnerable through ill health for example their free will may be more easily overcome.
If undue influence is proved the court will revoke the will and the Rules of Intestacy may apply.
A person must be of ‘sound mind’ to make a valid will. A legal test applies for a will to be valid which includes the following:
. The deceased must have understood that they were making a will and the effect of the contents of the will.
.They must know the value and nature of their estate and the consequences of including or excluding certain people under their will.
. They must not be suffering from any disorder of the mind that would have affected their decision.
A person suffering from any form of dementia or who was medicated at the time of making the will may not have the appropriate mental capacity.
There are strict rules which apply when a will is signed or ‘executed’. The person making the will should have signed it in the presence of two witnesses and they should then sign it in the presence of the person making the will. It is surprising how many wills (particularly ‘home made’ wills) are not executed correctly which renders the will invalid.
There are also strict rules which apply with regard to who is able to be a witness to a will, for example a witness must be over the age of 18 and of sound mind. Furthermore, a beneficiary cannot benefit from a will they have witnessed.
Rarely someone may suspect that the will is a fraud or forged in some way. This is extremely difficult to prove and may result in costs if you fail to successfully prove the will is a forgery. Expert advice is essential if you suspect the will may be fraudulent.
A solicitor who drafts a will owes a duty of care to the person making the will and to all beneficiaries under the will. It is possible to rectify a will where for example it has been drafted negligently. Expert advice should be taken where you think the will has not achieved the intentions of the deceased.
Executors and personal representatives have a duty of care to beneficiaries under a will. If you are concerned that the estate is not being dealt with appropriately or that their powers are being abused you may be able to apply to the court to remove them. Professional advice is necessary before considering such an action.
We offer a variety of payment solutions including commission free credit card payments. The first thirty minutes of every initial consultation relating to Contested Wills will be offered free of charge. Appointments not always necessary.
Or complete the form provided.
Josh Morris, 21st April 2016
Latest Wills & Probate News
29% of home owners over 70 haven't thought about what happens to their home when they die with an additional 18% over 70s unaware their ISAs won't escape inheritance tax charges.
The research undertaken by Opinium on behalf of Octopus Investments also revealed that just 14% of people are aware of the current inheritance tax threshold.
The survey of 2,004 people comes as government forecasts predict taxes receipts from IHT will increase from £3.8 billion last year up to £5.6 billion in 2020/21 despite the phasing in of the nil rate residence band, worth up to £175,000 per person.
Daily Mail 30.11.15
A lawyer who billed his firm as 'the affordable law company' has been struck off for charging an 'unconscionable' £750 an hour and even billing for attending the client's funeral.The 79-year-old, based in York, overcharged a client by more than £50,000 when executing the will of a client who died in 2009, a tribunal heard. An independent costs lawyer said his hourly rate was 'unconscionable and dwarfs the rate that even the senior partner of a City firm could conceivably charge on the most complex of matters'. Mr Crowe, who retired three years ago, also took a loan of £121,950 out of a client's account to pay off a hefty personal loan.The tribunal, involving the Solicitors Regulation Authority, decided he should be struck off the roll of solicitors and ordered to pay £30,000 costs, subject to the tribunal's permission. Mr Crowe was instructed to prepare a will by a Mr HHL, which was executed in 2000 and which appointed Mr Crowe and another man as the man's executors and trustees, the hearing heard.The will made charitable gifts of £3,000 each to 11 charities, with the residue to be held on trust by the trustees. Mr HHL died in 2009. An independent costs lawyer examined the level of fees charged by Mr Crowe on matters including the administration of the estate and of the trust, which came to £71,646. The lawyer concluded that in his opinion, Mr Crowe had overcharged by £51,136, with an effective hourly rate of £750 an hour.It's nearly double the government's recommended rate of £409 an hour for even the most senior and experienced lawyer's in inner London. The rate recommended for top-grade lawyers nationally ranges between £201 and £217.
Perhaps it is for a straight forward estate. You will save on legal fees and have the satisfaction of dealing with things yourself. However, there have been a significant rise in High Court claims against Executors/Administrators dealing with an estate without legal advice. From simple errors of misunderstanding the will or the processes, to wrongful distribution and even theft. The consequences can be severe. The Executors/Administrators can become personally liable for their mistakes. Disputes quickly diminish the value of estates. Frequently the costs of putting things right are significantly greater than initially taking legal advice. Families can be torn apart.
How long will it take to complete?
A complicated estate can take many months to complete.
Coping with the responsibility?
An Executor/Administrator is legally responsible for:
Collecting in the assets, paying all liabilities and distributing the estate in accordance with the law.
Families often disagree about how the estate is administered, including which assets should be sold and what the terms of the Will mean.
Still prepared to do it yourself?
The process can be straight forward. Complete Form PA1, the relevant Inheritance Tax Return, submit those to the Probate Registry and swear an Oath.
When should you consider using a solicitor?
• The estate is over the Inheritance Tax threshold of £325,000.
• Doubts about the validity of the will.
• No will and the deceased was married with children and left an estate worth over £250,000.
• Dependents left out of the will who may have a claim from the estate.
• Complicated arrangements such as assets held in trust.
We understand that the cost of Probate is a great concern. Many solicitors’ fees can be charged at as much as 2% of the value of the Estate. We are one of the few solicitors in Stafford that offer a Fixed Fee Probate Service, fees being paid out of the Estate at the conclusion and there is no need to stay with the solicitors holding the will. Contact Sheppard Fisher Solicitors for a free 30 minute no obligation consultation.
The number of will-related disputes to reach the High Court climbed by more than 80pc last year to 178 – the highest number since 2007. Booming property prices are the “main motivation” for children and other family members to contest a will, say lawyers.
Contact Sheppard Fisher Solicitors to draft your will to reduce your risk of becoming one of these statistics!!
It’s never easy to consider what would happen if our mental capacity deserted us. The odds of over-65s developing dementia are one in three; plus similar difficulties that can be faced by victims of stroke, serious accidents and more.
If you lose your faculties, don’t assume relatives can walk into the bank and access your money – not even if it’s just to pay for your care.
If you’ve not prepared, and your family have to take charge of your affairs, they will need to apply to take over via the Court of Protection. This is a nightmare for many families, a hardcore hassle that can drag on for many months; with costs of around £400 and legal fees, that can be in the thousands.
As Norma, whose mum had to apply via the court, wrote on my forum: “It’s a long, drawn-out process and quite intrusive. It’s also expensive; mum will have to pay hefty yearly fees. I just wished she had managed to get Power of Attorney when my dad was more capable. He got ill really fast and we couldn’t implement it.”
Indeed a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) would’ve made life easier. With this you nominate a trusted friend or relative while you have mental capacity to look after your affairs if you lose it. Don’t think this means you are giving up control there and then; you can choose for it to come into effect only if and when you’re no longer capable.
And there’s no “too early” to do this (even at my age, 41) as a prevention measure. There are two types of LPA: property and finance, the main focus here; and one for health and welfare, which lets you make choices on your care if you’re ill.
By Jenny and Martin Updated 23 Jan 2015 and as discussed on ‘Martin Lewis Money Show’
One in three over-65s develop dementia. Yet don't assume relatives can just walk into a bank and access your money, even if it is to pay for your care.
Unless you have a Power of Attorney already, loved ones need to apply through the court which can be lengthy and costly.
The Telegraph has recently published an article suggesting, based upon research carried out on behalf of Wills and Assets, that Dying without a Will or having a Will which is out of date typically costs beneficiaries £9,700 in “lost” assets.
Other research suggests that half of the British population fails to draw up a Will.
Can you afford not to?
of our clients would recommend our service.*results from current client satisfaction survey