Changing Your Will After Divorce

Once again may I repeat myself.“Do you have a Will? YOU SHOULD HAVE. It is an important document as it is your way of making sure your wishes are known and your property and assets are distributed after your death the way you want them to be.”

However, if you have a Will and you divorce or separate from your partner you need to remember to change your Will, otherwise on your death your ex-partner could receive everything you listed in your old Will.

When amending your Will you need to look at all your assets, everything you own. Certainly after splitting up from a partner the likelihood is that you will have far fewer assets than you had before – you might even feel that you have very little to leave to anybody. Nonetheless if you have children you will want to provide for them after your death so it is key that you see a solicitor to make the appropriate revisions needed.

If you have bought a flat or house you can ensure it goes to your children (if they are under 16 it can be held in trust for them until they are older).You will want to be certain that your ex partner cannot touch your heritable property.

The chances are that under your old Will your ex would have been appointed executor of your estate. Obviously you will need to alter that also.

And remember that your assets can include heirlooms, family photographs and memorabilia which are things you may want your children to have by which they can remember you.

You may find a new partner and move in with or marry them which is another huge change in your circumstances and one that may again require a new Will.  Your new partner may already have children and you may go on to have children together so there is a lot to take into consideration.

The sheer act of changing your Will is an admission that you have moved on. I have the experience to advise on the best possible way to deal with your new situation.  If I can help please call Lauren Hill on 0141 552 3422 or contact me by email at lnh@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

To Where Do You Want To Retire ?

Me Vancouver, Canada and for my office room- mate Port Charlotte , Isle of Islay. However according to recent research carried out by the Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh is the destination of choice for people looking to buy their last home for retirement.

Over 3000 Scots were asked in a recent survey to name where they would like to retire, even if retirement was some years away and our capital city topped the poll at 8%, followed very closely by Glasgow, the Highlands and abroad all tying at 7%.

Future ‘Last Time Buyers’ aspire to live in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh (13%) over any other part of the city. Being brought up in Edinburgh  I know this area well and  with its architecture, colony houses, proximity to the Royal Botanic Gardens and Inverleith Park, plus ease of access to the city centre I can understand its popularity.

The Bank’s research showed that there were three categories of ‘Last Time Buyers’ :

  • the majority of people wanted to retire in the area where they currently live or have always lived. 55% of Fifers want to remain there. 44% of those living in Glasgow and 42% of those living in Edinburgh want to remain in their respective cities when they draw on their pension.

There is then a fairly even split between :

  • those looking for a quieter life , either by the seaside or in the country
  • those wanting a more vibrant city setting

Robin Bulloch, Managing Director of Bank of Scotland explains “As a stage of life not usually focused on, it’s interesting to see where people would like to settle and buy their last home,” he added “With such a diverse landscape, Scots are really spoilt for choice.”

I have over 20 years of experience in Property Law. If I can help you buy or sell your home please call me, Alison Gourley on 0141 552 3422 or email me at ajg@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

Contact With Your Grandchild If Their Parents Divorce or Separate

“Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent.”  Donald A. Norberg

Around 10,000 couples divorce every year in Scotland and adoring grandparents may be the biggest losers, as contact with much loved grandchildren may be lost. In fact recent research carried out by some family focused charities has shown that 40% of grandparents lose contact with their grandchildren after divorce or separation, a quite disturbing statistic, given that a new Growing Up in Scotland survey undertaken for the Scottish Government reveals that as many as 69% of families rely on grandparents for childcare in one way or another. There are various reasons why grandparents may become involved in the care of children these days: parents may need to work full-time and the cost of independent childcare may be prohibitive and there are of course marital breakdowns. Also older people are living longer with good health and taking pleasure in more active retirements giving them time to care for their grandchildren.

Unfortunately grandparents do not as yet have automatic rights to see their grandchildren in the event of a divorce or separation. At present grandparents wishing to see their grandchildren must make an application to court for a contact order. The court will apply the same criteria as they would to an application from a parent-namely they will focus on the welfare of the child and the child’s best interests.

Losing contact is a difficult and heart breaking situation and it is vital that anyone facing this should get proper qualified advice.  It is best to try and reach an informal agreement with the parents first. Only if that fails should you ask the court to intervene. Going to Court should be used as a final resort as it can be expensive, take a lot of time and be disruptive for the child. But do, however avoid too much passage of time without seeing your grandchildren. The longer you leave it before taking steps to get satisfactory arrangements put in place, the harder it may become to achieve this.

If you are an estranged grandparent who is seeking contact with your grandchild I can help. Please call me on 0141-552-3422 or email me at fhw@mitchells-roberton.co.uk.

From Polishing to Peregrines

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Mitchells Roberton have used the cleaning services of ABC Professional Office Cleaners of 30 Boylestone Road ,Barrhead , Glasgow for over 30 years. Scott Maxwell the owner of the cleaning company is an enthusiastic ornithologist and photographer.

He was kind enough to share with me some photos  taken of a Peregrine Falcon he has been watching for a while. He had to sit hidden for over four hours before the bird made an appearance but I think the pics are a just reward for his efforts.

Peregrines have suffered illegal killing from gamekeepers and landowners, and been a target for egg collectors, but  better legal protection and control of pesticides ( which indirectly poisoned birds) have helped the population to recover considerably from a low in the 1960s.

Peregrine 3Peregrine 1

Our Continuing Support for Mary’s Meals

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I posted a blog way back on 9th July 2014 about our firm’s support of Mary’s Meals. Since the beginning of 2011 until July 2014 Mitchells Roberton has donated 450 filled backpacks to be gifted to children receiving Mary’s Meals. Mary’s Meals is a registered charity that sets up school feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities. It is a simple idea-by providing a daily meal in a place of education chronically poor children are attracted to the classroom where they can gain a basic education that provides an escape route from poverty. Since July 2014 Mitchells Roberton has donated a further 145 backpacks each filled with a notebook, pencils, coloured pencils, a rubber and a pencil case. We also put in every pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, a towel, a new outfit, sandals, a ball and a spoon. All of this is funded from staff  and client donations. Margaret Ritchie our receptionist who organises this project says “ It is a wonderful charity which Mitchells Roberton will continue to support.” To find our more about this wonderful cause, please follow this link: http://www.marysmeals.org.uk/what-you-can-do/backpack-project/

Book Club- Katharine Grant – Sedition Q & A

sedition_uk_cover1Our book club choice for January was Sedition by Katharine Grant. We had the pleasure of having Katharine come to speak to us about her book. Katharine has written a number of children’s books but Sedition is her first adult novel. I was delighted that she took the time to answer some of my questions.

1. The date of Sedition, 1794, is very precise. Why did you choose 1794?

In revolutionary Paris, the Terror reaches its climax in 1794. London holds its breath. Will revolutionary fervour hit its streets? Will a guillotine be erected in every London square? For subversive fever and revolutionary excess, 1794 is a perfect year. Having said that, Sedition is not a novel of the Revolution. Harriet’s French shoes are the girls’ only experience of France. Rather, Sedition is a novel about revolution with a small ‘r’, or about how five girls, whilst doing exactly as their parents direct, contrive to do precisely the opposite. But 1794 gives Sedition a particular edge. That’s why I chose it with such care.

2. Sedition is quite hard to categorise in that it’s both tragic and comic. How do you think of it?

I can see the value of labels for books: they’ve got to be described somehow! But just as life is darkly comic, so I see Sedition. It’s interesting that when people talk about it, some foreground the comedy, others the tragedy. If I was the reader, not the writer, I’m not sure which way I’d fall.

3. Did the plot of Sedition arrive first, or the characters?

I could see the concert scene at the end of the book. I think that came first, then I heard the music – Bach’s Goldberg Variations – then the girls. Perhaps the plot was in my subconscious. It’s actually quite hard to remember. A bit like spring in the garden, a novel creeps up on you.

4. Did you draw on real people for the characters?

That’s for me to know, and the models to discover …

5. Who’s your favourite Sedition character?

A bit like your children, it’s hard to have a favourite amongst your creations. If readers hate a character, that’s signals success for the writer in that the character has made a real connection. So, in a rather contradictory way, the most hateful and hated character can sometimes be a writer’s favourite. Amongst the Sedition girls, I’d be friends with Harriet, want to make music with Annie, and be frightened of Alathea.

6. Do you have a routine for writing?

I try and always fail. Writing is hard – can feel like breaking stones. Procrastination is much easier! Research, though necessary, can also be a form of procrastination. My 2015 New Year’s resolution is to write at least 200 words every day, on the basis that once I start writing, it’s like oiling a hinge. And actually, once a novel has found its voice, I write obsessively, almost blind and deaf to anything else. Sedition was written mainly in my study at home, but also in the supermarket queue, the dentist’s waiting room, in various carparks, and at Glasgow Central Station. (I’m a ridiculous traveller: I like to arrive at least 30 minutes before my train leaves.)

7. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

In an ideal life, I’d be a ballet dancer or a concert pianist. I think it’s a bit late for ballet! As for a concert pianist, I think people would pay to stay away …

8. Have you any advice for wannabe authors or even solicitors?

Writers of both novels and legal documents use the same tools. Use them with care to say precisely what you mean. The best friend of all writers is the delete button.

To learn more about the book please visit http://katharinegrant.com/

Advanced Medical Directive

An Advance Medical Directive (AMD), also commonly known as a Living Will, is a written statement of your wishes to refuse certain treatments in a specific situation.

In Scotland, any adult with capacity can refuse medical treatment. There may, however, come a time when you are unable to communicate your wishes or you no longer have the ability to make a decision regarding your treatment. An AMD is a way of preserving your right to make treatment decisions even when capacity has been lost.

Any adult over the age of 16 who has mental capacity can make an AMD. Having mental capacity means that you are able to understand the information relating to the decision you are making, retain the information for long enough to make the decision, weigh up the information involved in making the decision and communicate your decision in any way to your doctor or others caring for you.

Many believe there are benefits to making an AMD. You may feel more in control of your circumstances, future care or indeed the end of your life. You can avoid taxing treatment which may not always be helpful to you. Your family and healthcare team will know what you want and can respect your wishes thus making treatment decisions easier for your family. It can also help avoid disagreements about your care and treatment within your family or healthcare team.

Friends, family and Welfare Attorneys can use AMDs as evidence of your wishes to ensure that you are not being kept alive in a situation that you have decided would be intolerable for you. You can use an AMD to refuse any treatment, including life-sustaining treatment such as resuscitation, artificial nutrition and hydration or breathing machines. An AMD cannot be used to ask for your life to be ended.

In Scotland an AMD is highly likely to be legally binding if it is validly signed and witnessed with a solicitor’s certification that you understand the document and you have not been influenced by another person when writing your AMD. The treatment you have chosen to refuse in your ADM also must apply to your specific medical circumstances at the time of writing the directive.

Remember to let your healthcare professionals, next of kin, family, friends and Welfare Attorney ( if you have one) know you have made an AMD.  Also it is important to review your AMD regularly so you can be sure it is up to date and reflects your current wishes.

If you do not have an Advance Medical Directive nor have appointed a Welfare Attorney doctors will make the final decisions regarding your care.

If you would like to discuss an AMD please get in touch with me on 0141 552 3422 or by email eb@mitchells-roberton.co.uk