City Lawyers Welcomes City Expertise
City Lawyers is delighted to announce the arrival of Sarah Vincent to its specialist personal injury and clinical negligence team. The appointment follows the recent arrival of Louise Stradling who is heading up the firm's wills, trust and probate department and demonstrates the firm's steady growth in these niche and complimentary areas of work.
Sarah Vincent was previously a Director and Head of the Claimant Personal Injury department at Rollingsons Solicitors in London. She has extensive experience of personal injury law and has covered most areas during her career. She specialises in working with people who have suffered serious injury through an accident at work, road traffic accidents or clinical negligence. She is known for her friendly manner, empathy and practical approach.
Sarah said: “I am excited to join the expert team at City Lawyers and I am confident my experience will add value to our clients. The team has been extremely welcoming and I look forward to working with them.”
Speaking about Sarah’s appointment, Director Louise Robson said: “I am delighted that Sarah has decided to bring her city expertise to St Albans. Her appointment supports and expands our position as a leading provider of expert personal injury legal services based in St Albans.”
2017 has already been an exciting year for City Lawyers who are committed to providing a personalised and caring client service to seriously injured accident victims and their families.

Probate Fees to Increase from May 2017
Earlier this year the Ministry of Justice announced it will change Grant of Probate registry fees from a flat rate to a banded rate based on the size of the estate. Louise Stradling, our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitor, explains what a Grant of Probate is and how the changes might affect you.
What is a Grant of Probate? 
In wills, trusts and probate work, this is one of the most frequently asked questions. What is this mysterious document that's often needed when someone dies? It is a piece of paper sealed by one of the probate registries in England and Wales, applied for by the Executors appointed under a Will!
What does it do?
It is often needed to release money from the deceased's bank, building society, insurance policies, pensions, shares, investments and allows the sale or transfer of a property.
Many surviving relatives believe they don't need a Grant of Probate. If assets are owned as Joint Tenants they may not as the house will pass by survivorship to the surviving spouse, but it's advisable to check this by speaking with a solicitor. A solicitor can advise whether the estate has been administered correctly and confirm if a Grant of Probate is necessary or not.
For example, a family home owned as tenants in common would need a Grant of Probate to transfer the deceased’s share as their will states. A tenancy in common is likely if the will has a nil rate band discretionary trust or a life interest trust set up due to a second marriage and the wish to protect an inheritance for children. 
What Changes in May 2017?
The Ministry of Justice announced on Friday 24th February that the proposed changes to Registry fees for Grants of Probate will go ahead in May 2017 (exact date not known).
The additional fees are intended to contribute to the operating costs of Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).
The proposal will proceed despite the overwhelming majority of respondents disagreeing to the proposed fee structure in the consultation, both to the value of the fees and the concept of a banded fee schedule.
The current fee for a Grant of Probate required for estates with a net value exceeding £5,000 is £155 and this applies to all estates no matter what their value.
The new fees will be banded based on the net value of the estate (before inheritance tax) as follows:

Value of Estate Fee Required
0 - £50,000 Nil
£50,001 - £300,000 £300
£300,001 - £500,000 £1,000
£500,001 - £1,000,000 £4,000
£1,000,001 - £1,600,000 £8,000
£1,600,001 - £2,000,000 £12,000
£2,000,001 or more £20,000
The net value of the estate will include all assets in an estate after deducting any liabilities, excluding joint assets, but not if a property is held jointly as tenants in common. It will include estates exempt from inheritance tax and property eligible for inheritance tax reliefs such as spouse exemption or business property relief.
How Does This Affect You?
Many people will be adversely affected by these changes. Local property prices alone will push many into the higher brackets, if the deceased was a home owner.
If you are worried about how the new fee structure will affect you or wish to discuss a probate matter please call our Wills, Trusts and Probate department on 01727 228890.

City Lawyers Launched Wills and Probate Service
City Lawyers is delighted to announce the launch of a new wills and probate service following the appointment of Louise Stradling (pictured right), former Partner at Gepp & Sons. Louise has more than 16 years' experience in private client work. Louise is also a full member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE).
For over 12 years City Lawyers has offered specialist legal advice in relation to personal injury and clinical negligence matters. Established in 2004 by Louise Robson and Virginia Ralfe, the firm has provided a highly specialised, personal service to accident victims and their families following traumatic events.
Commenting on the service launch, Louise Robson said: “This is a natural step for us. The service will be provided as an extension to the support already provided to clients and their families.”
The service has been set up to provide a highly personal bespoke service for clients. It is available to anyone who would like to:
  • Make or review a will or a lasting power of attorney
  • Appoint a deputy or establish a trust to deal with the management of the affairs of a vulnerable person
  • Receive advice in relation to probate matters
  • Inheritance tax planning
To celebrate the launch of its wills and probate service, City Lawyers is participating in Wills Month for Rennie Grove Hospice. During February, participating solicitors give their time and will writing experience in exchange for a donation to Rennie Grove Hospice Care. The suggested donation is £99 for a simple will or £195 for a mirror will (pair of wills). Tax payers can gift aid. Complex wills or trusts are excluded.



City Lawyers is the trading name of City Lawyers (Personal Injury) Limited, a limited liability company registered in England and Wales under number 06901117,
which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The registered office is Suite 2, Phoenix House, 63 Campfield Road, St Albans, Herts AL1 5FL.

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