Do I need a solicitor if I have been arrested?
You should always ask for a solicitor upon arrest. You will be generally entitled to free and independent legal advice from Smith Partnership, your solicitors of choice. Sometimes, suspects are led to believe that free advice is only available from the ‘duty solicitor’ - this is not the case and the same free service is available from your own lawyer.
We will be able to obtain details of the allegation from the police and advise you in private prior to any interview taking place. Never agree to be interviewed in our absence to ‘get it over with’ or ‘because you have nothing to hide’ as the extent of the allegation will not always be transparent. We will be present to ensure that the questioning is conducted properly. Our assistance can often accelerate your release. We provide 24-hour personal cover, 365 days a year.
I have been asked to attend a voluntary interview, what should I do?
You should make immediate contact with our nearest crime department. Voluntary interviews take place by arrangement with the police and commonly result in suspects being interviewed without a solicitor. Such interviews are almost always conducted under caution, by the police, at a police station in which case we will be able to offer you free legal advice. The fact that the police have chosen not to arrest you does not mean that the allegation or outcome will be any less significant. There is no such thing as a ‘quick, off-the-record chat’ and voluntary interviews often generate prosecutions.
What is a caution?
In laymen's terms, a caution is a warning which, if issued, avoids a suspect being prosecuted through the courts which would potentially result in a criminal conviction. A caution is generally issued for minor crimes which must be admitted. If not accepted by the suspect, it is likely to result in a formal charge.
What is a trust?
Creating a trust is a way of protecting assets for you and your chosen beneficiaries. You can place money into a trust and you will no longer be regarded as being an owner of the funds. Your trust will appoint trustees who will manage the funds, the beneficiaries and you can determine how these funds are managed. A trust can be created during your lifetime or by will on your death.
How do I claim on a life insurance policy?
Your executor will need to send a copy of your death certificate to the life insurance company and the company will then explain what they require to encash the policy. We can assist you with this.
Can I avoid selling my house to pay for care fees?
There is no requirement for your property to be sold to pay for care fees. What is expected is that you pay the monthly fees and most people ultimately sell a property when they move into care as the property will be empty.
Is there a seven-year inheritance tax rule?
You can give away money or property and, provided that you survive seven years from making the gift, that amount will be ignored for inheritance tax purposes. If you do not survive seven years from making the gift, your estate may need to pay some inheritance tax on the gift.
What is inheritance tax?
Inheritance tax is a tax payable when a person has died and their wealth exceeds the inheritance tax threshold. This is currently £325,000 for unmarried people and £650,000 for married people who leave everything to the surviving spouse on the death of the first. The taxable rate is 40% over and above the inheritance tax threshold.
Can I change my will?
You can change your will as often as you like, provided that you have the mental capacity to do so.
What is a beneficiary?
A beneficiary is a person who receives some form of benefit in a will.