Jenna Hopkins

Jenna is a Senior Associate Solicitor in our Private Client Department, based in our Godalming office. She deals with a broad range of private client matters, including drafting Wills and providing tax planning advice, Powers of Attorney, advising on the administration of estates and trusts and Court of Protection work. Jenna is a member of both the Society for Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE).

More articles from this sector

Lasting Powers of Attorney - Why You Should Have One

As part of lifetime planning, it is really important to make a Will but it is becoming equally important for people of all ages to also consider making Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). A Will deals with your affairs following your death, but a Lasting Power of Attorney looks after you and your affairs whilst you are still alive whatever age you are.

Will the latest inheritance pay out present law changes for unmarried spouses?

Two sisters have been ordered to pay their late father’s girlfriend almost a third of their inheritance payment, after she was deemed “a wife in all but name.” This is the latest story to cause families to reflect carefully on their particular circumstances and to take steps to protect the family and avoid emotional stress as well as avoiding large legal costs.

Three ways to achieve a problem-free probate

According to recent statistics, more than 98,500 people handled probate without the help of any professional services, such as legal or accountancy advice, last year – around 38% attempted to execute wills on their own. It led to an increase of around 35% of cases that end up in court because of disputes relating to wills and probate.

Family members acting as attorneys?

Last week we covered off some of the issues associated with Lasting Power of Attorney and what happens if family members take advantage. Not only does this often lead to financial difficulty for the vulnerable family member, but it can also cause a lot of heartache for other family members involved.

IHT: Possible to pay the “Bare” minimum?

Following on from an earlier article on inheritance tax (IHT), there was mention of a way to make provision for your children, without being involved in a long period of running a trust and incurring IHT charges including the costs associated in running a trust. The answer might be creating a Bare Trust.

Keeping LPAs child’s play

A story in the news at the weekend highlighted an important point: how can you ensure you keep control of your finances, after you have legally signed them away?

Gifts and trusts are an important part of protecting family wealth

On your death, everything you own that is part of your estate will be liable to 40% inheritance tax (IHT), which could cost your loved ones thousands of pounds. The only way to help reduce paying any IHT unnecessarily is to plan as effectively and as early as possible to ensure your family is protected – and your wishes are respected. Here are a few things to consider for your IHT plan.

The law surrounding incapacity: time to dispel a few myths

We wrote an earlier blog relating to research from the SFE, which revealed an incapacity crisis-causing gulf between those who planned for mental incapacity and those who didn’t. Despite a growing concern among individuals, and how their mental state may deteriorate, it seems that excuses for not getting their affairs in order are boiling down to a few common myths.

The incapacity crisis – a disconnect

There is something of an unspoken topic in the headlines at the moment – that of mental incapacity and what we should do with respect to your wishes during future life.

Are you caught up in Universal Wealth Preservation?

You may have already heard of Universal Wealth Preservation but, if you haven’t, there’s plenty you can read about them in the headlines. However, the case has recently come to light again, as the company’s owners have been arrested in connection to a number of offenses – and families are wondering if they will ever see their hard-earned cash again.

Protecting your little ones - 5 reasons to get your Will done!

A Will is on everyone’s ‘to do’ list. But do you know what would happen to your children if the worst were to happen? Here are 5 reasons why you should put a Will in place in order to protect your little ones:

Dealing with general conflict and estate planning

Yes, it is an awkward topic, but there are many modern families that do not see eye to eye. Whilst it is easier to let bygones be bygones in the land of the living, what should you do if you need to discuss your family affairs in the event of your death?

Lasting Power of Attorney – what is it and when do you need it?

It’s National Love Your Children Day on Saturday 7th April, which is a good time to reflect on how important our family is to us. In many legal scenarios, we often consider our nearest and dearest when it comes to protecting ourselves – and our children’s future. Lasting Power of Attorney is something that is difficult to consider, but, when it comes to allowing someone you trust, like your children, to take over your family affairs, it is an extremely important document.

Gifts of Property

Author: Tim Hughes

We are often approached by clients who say they are thinking of gifting their home, or other property, to their children or other family members to “save tax”.

Residence Nil Rate Band

Author: Joanna Pashley

Did you know that from April 2017 an additional allowance for inheritance tax came into force which could save your estate up to a further £350,000 by April 2020? This has the potential to take a married couple’s total tax allowance to £1 million.

STEP Launches New Website

To increase awareness of the role of the The Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and its members (TEPs), they have launched a new public facing website www.advisingfamilies.org. The website explains what a TEP is, what they do and what benefits you can expect from using a TEP.  STEP members are from a range of professions, including accountancy, banking, financial advice, law, tax advice and trust administration.

Can You Avoid Care Home Fees?

Author: Brian Fraser

A recent BBC article has highlighted the importance of seeking legal advice when taking steps to mitigate the costs of Nursing Home Care. It concerns Don Steer, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Due to the value of his savings and owning his home outright with his wife, he did not qualify for council support in relation to costs of care. Concerned they may have to sell the house to pay for care home fees, Mr & Mrs Steer placed their house into trust. Mr Steer passed away before needing to pay care home fees, but should they have been required it is likely that the transfer of the house into trust would have been ineffective. This is because a significant factor in placing the house in trust was to reduce their estate for capital assessment. If the local authority determine this to be deliberate deprivation of assets, they can take action to recover charges.

The Hidden Cost of DIY LPAs

Author: Liz Dalgetty

Private Client Solicitor, Liz Dalgetty, has joined a number of organisations representing older and vulnerable people to raise serious concerns around the Government’s online tool for creating Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).

Inheriting ISA's - The New Death Benefits

Author: Joanna Pashley

Did you know that it is now possible for you to inherit your partner’s ISA savings? Before 6 April 2015, when a person died the ISA(s) tax benefits died with them. The effect being that if a spouse inherited money that they wished to reinvest in their own name, they could only reinvest into another ISA, up to their own ISA allowance for that year.

Ilott v Mitson - Estranged Daughter Wins Inheritance Battle

Author: Zara Munday

English law has historically provided that you should (with some exceptions) be able to leave your estate to whomever you wish. The exception lies in the ability for certain disappointed family members to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family Dependants) Act 1975 for ‘reasonable provision’. It is usually very difficult to prove that you have not been left a ‘reasonable provision’ by the deceased.

Change in Succession Law for British Nationals

Author: Zara Munday

The upcoming changes to European Law will allow greater flexibility to owners of foreign property and give individuals increased control over who they can leave their property to once they have passed away. The following article is relevant for individuals who have moved from England to a participating EU state and for those who live in England but have property in a participating EU state.

Where there's a Will, there isn't always a way

Author: Elizabeth Muston

Some years ago, an elderly client visited our offices to update his Will. We found that his wife also needed a Will but he wasn’t sure if she could make one because she was in a nursing home hundreds of miles away suffering from dementia. We suggested that a solicitor local to the home should visit her to try to establish whether she could understand enough to make a Will and if so, whether she wanted to. We heard no more…

Tax Savvy Education Trusts

Author: William Edwards

For parents who are concerned about Inheritance Tax (IHT) following their own deaths, education trusts are a tax efficient means of both financing their children’s education and reducing the value of their estate for IHT purposes.

Why do I need a Will?

If you do not have a valid Will the law sets out who gets your money, your property and all your personal effects.  You would have no say over what happens to your assets when you die and this can cause difficulties for those you care about most; therefore, everyone should have a Will.

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