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Solicitors For The LGBTQ+ Community

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

At Wilson Browne Solicitors we’re well known for our friendly, down to earth approach.

It’s our forward thinking attitude that has seen us awarded the Northamptonshire Law Society, Large Law Firm Of The Year Award amongst many other awards and accreditations such as Lexcel, the Law Society’s legal practice quality mark for excellence in legal practice management and excellence in client care.

You may be wondering just what exactly it is that we do differently for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender clients: the honest answer is, perhaps surprisingly…..nothing. We’ll treat you exactly the same as any other client, striving for client service excellence, great legal advice and a down to earth, friendly approach.

The plain truth is, we know the law and we know that you have a right to be treated exactly the same as anyone else…and that’s exactly what we’ll do.

What the law says

In simple terms, there should be no difference in the way the law is applied to same-sex couples and if you feel you have been discriminated against, not treated fairly or are just confused about your legal standing in relation to a particular issue, you’ll want a solicitor or lawyer who you feel comfortable with  – being friendly, down to earth people is what we pride ourselves on.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender couples have the same legal rights as non-LGBT citizens, given that the UK provides one of the highest degrees of liberty in the world.

For couples that want legal recognition of their relationship there are two options for them: either same-sex marriage or a civil ceremony.

No doubt, everyone is familiar with the Supreme Court ruling in June 2018 where it unanimously ruled in favour of Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, and Charles Keidan, 41, from London. The court said the Civil Partnership Act 2004 – which only applies to same-sex couples – is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Same sex marriage and civil partnership give you the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples in respect of pension rights, house ownership, inheritance issues and making ‘next of kin’ decisions in hospital.

For all couples, whether they are same sex or heterosexual, the law treats unmarried partners in a very different way to married couples.  The term “common law” partner does not have any legal meaning within the law and it could be said to not exist! Therefore a couple choosing to live together do not receive any of the rights or obligations enjoyed by spouses or civil partners.

If you want to live as a couple without marriage there are steps you can put in place to protect yourself in the case of a relationship breakdown or if you were to pass away.

Putting things in place would mean your assets can be administered in the way you would want, setting out important choices such as your funeral arrangements, guardians for minor (young) children, and any gifts you wish to make.

The future can be uncertain – at Wilson Browne Solicitors we can help bring clarity.

Co Habitation Agreements

Our Family Law team can ensure that a Cohabitation Agreement can be tailored to your specific circumstances and deals with what should happen if the relationship breaks down. If you are buying a property together you also need to consider how that ownership will be recorded at the Land Registry to show your entitlement to a share of any equity. We can advise on all of the options available to you.

A cohabitation agreement is an agreement between partners who live together and want to ensure clarity both during the course of the relationship and in the event that it should break down. This generally covers rights in relation to property, children and assets.

You need a cohabitation agreement when you decide to live with your partner and want to ensure that both of you are clear about the ownership of assets and how bills will be paid.

A cohabitation agreement will also make it clear what happens if it’s not a ‘happy ever after’ and the relationship breaks down. In simple terms, you agree ‘who gets what’.

Without a cohabitation agreement, if there is a dispute about who own what, it could (and probably will) result in Court proceedings….a lengthy and potentially costly and emotionally draining experience. On top of this, there’s also the chance that if you are unsuccessful in the dispute you could be required to pay for all of the legal costs of the other party.

Cohabitation agreements also make matters clear if one of you were to pass away whilst cohabiting as it helps identify exactly what belongs to each person at the time of death (therefore avoiding potential disputes as to the deceased person’s Estate).

Prenuptial Agreements & Postnuptial Agreements

Before getting married or entering into a civil partnership you may want to talk to one of our Family Law solicitors to clearly set out arrangements, dealing with financial matters such as property ownership and financial contributions (Prenuptial Agreements).

It is advisable for those arrangements to be reviewed in the course of your marriage or civil partnership (Postnuptial Agreements) to see whether they should be updated as circumstances change. If your relationship breaks down these Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements are not automatically binding, but where a Court considers them to be fair, they may be the basis of any financial settlement within divorce proceedings.

Making a Will

Making a Will can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that in the event of your death your wishes will be carried out.

Your assets can be administered in the way you would want, setting out important choices such as your funeral arrangements, guardians for minor (young) children, and any gifts you wish to make.

When property prices increase, more and more people find that they are worth more than they thought and that their estates will be subject to Inheritance Tax.

Making a Will can enable you to plan for matters in a way that reduces the liability for Inheritance Tax.

The beauty of a Will is that you can change it whenever you want to. The chances are that if your Will is more than 5 years old, it may need updating.

You may find your family growing, you may find friends have come and gone or your own circumstances have changed.

Lasting Power Of Attorney - Health and Welfare

An LPA is a legal document allowing you to appoint someone you trust (your Attorney) to deal with any Property and Financial and/or Health and Welfare decisions on your behalf. It provides your Attorney with the legal authority to make these decisions should you lose mental capacity at some time in the future or if no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.

Part of living longer involves healthier lifestyles and keeping fit with activities such as cycling, mountain biking, rugby, football, winter sports, jogging, horse riding and many others: all carry an element of risk. Even the daily commute isn’t without obvious dangers.

Accidents can strike at any time – they say “you never know what’s around the corner” but being prepared can go a long way.

A Health and Welfare LPA concerns decisions on the type of health care and medical treatment you receive (to include life sustaining treatment), where you live, day to day matters such as your diet and daily routine.

This LPA allows your appointed Attorneys to act on your behalf should you become mentally incapable of making the decisions yourself.

Lasting Power Of Attorney - Property and Financial

This LPA covers decisions about your finances, such as managing your bank and savings accounts, making or selling investments, paying your bills and buying or selling your house.

Your appointed Attorney will make decisions on your behalf, should physical difficulties or mental incapacity prevent you from doing so yourself. The Attorney can make decisions for you as soon as the LPA is registered unless you stipulate otherwise.

Making a Lasting Power of Attorney is a safeguard for the future, but need not necessarily mean you lose control over your affairs.  With a Lasting Power of Attorney in place you are still free to deal with matters for yourself so long as you feel able or are willing to do so.

The Power of Attorney can be revoked at any time while you still have mental capacity, and conditions can be placed upon its use or scope.

Mediation

Family mediation is open to any members of a family who have a dispute they need to resolve.  Family mediation usually takes place in divorce proceedings – providing a means by which to resolve issues around finance, children and property – but can also take place between wider family members.  For example, grandparents may seek family mediation to arrange time when they can see their grandchildren following the breakdown in the parents’ relationship.

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential way to resolve family disputes and is an ideal solution as it comes without the worry, expense and adversarial nature of litigation and Court appearances.

A mediator is impartial, neither deciding upon nor judging the issues, instead working to identify areas of agreement and possible solutions.

As an alternative to having an outcome imposed by a Court, mediation is a positive way to reach an agreement. The Family Courts now expect you to have tried to resolve matters through this route before you can apply for an Order concerning a child or finances.

People often worry that using a solicitor means uncertainty about cost. Not with the Family Law team at Wilson Browne. We promise to inform you before we begin and to keep you informed throughout.

We know how important it is to make the right decisions about your future and we are here to help you from the start.

Our Family Law solicitors offer expert advice from our convenient offices in Northampton, Kettering, Corby, Higham Ferrers, Wellingborough and Leicester….in fact we cover most of Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and sometimes beyond.

If you need any expert advice, contact our Specialist Team