Property experts predict a detrimental impact on the property market if Scotland vote ‘Yes’ for independence this month.

Property experts predict a detrimental impact on the property market if Scotland vote ‘Yes’ for independence this month.

If Scotland vote independence, it is likely that a new national currency will be introduced and this is predicted to depreciate against the pound by up to 10%.

Existing mortgages in sterling would need to be converted into the new Scottish currency and Scottish households could find themselves facing increased mortgage repayments each month!

Independence would also mean that Scotland will no longer be able to rely on the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme for first time buyers; making it even more difficult for those struggling to get onto the property ladder.

Something for those with property in Scotland, and those considering purchasing in Scotland to think about.

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Crane & Staples celebrate with County Properties

Crane & Staples very own Chris Lane helped fellow Welwyn/Haftield firm County Properties celebrate their anniversary at a stylish ball last weekend.

Chris with Linda and Zoe and the Hatfield office team clearly had a great time, while supporting an excellent charity MacMillan Cancer Support.

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Crane & Staples supports Remember a Charity in your Will Week

Writing a Will is one of the best ways that you can look after everything that you care about, from family and friends to favourite charities.

Remember a Charity week runs from 8th September to 14th September and Crane & Staples is proud to support this valuable campaign.

British people are generous but it seems from recent surveys that the difference between people’s intentions to give money in their Will to charity and those actually doing so is quite vast. For example – 35% of those questioned recently indicated that they wanted to leave money to charity in their Will but only 6% of the UK currently do so.

Crane & Staples can help to change this by raising awareness about making gifts in your Will and the value that those gifts bring to your chosen charity or charities.

Erica Pearce-Howard of Crane & Staples’ Private Client Department says “Legacies account for 13% of voluntary income received by charities and the Government is keen to further encourage legacy giving, e.g. by reducing the amount of Inheritance Tax that is payable if you leave 10% or more to charity the IHT rate is reduced from 40% to 36%”.

She says, “of course, your own family and friends must come first, and making a Will to safeguard them will be your priority. But once you are sure your loved ones are looked after, please consider including a gift to charity.  Any sum can help – you don’t have to be wealthy to make a difference.”

 Erica Pearce-Howard, Associate Legal Practitioner

Please contact either Erica Pearce-Howard ( or Samantha Webb ( to find out more about leaving a gift in your Will to a charity.

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Our Herts B2B expo competition winner Katy Doherty

Many congratulations again to our prize winner Katy Doherty of Knebworth Barns who was delighted with her much coveted prize of a helicopter flight over Hatfield House, complete with cream tea and a tour of the house and grounds.  Katy scored top at the Crane & Staples Hatfield House inspired game of quoits and was presented with her prize by Tim Wild.

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Herts B2B Expo – a great time had by all!

The Crane & Staples team was out in force yesterday at the Herts B2B Expo at Hatfield House. This year we used the location to pick our theme, featuring the oak tree made famous by Queen Elizabeth I and a traditional game of quoits, with a fantastic prize of a helicopter flight over the house and grounds and cream tea afterwards.

Congratulations to Katy Doherty from Knebworth Barns who won the top prize!

Everyone who played also got one of our tasty branded red velvet Crane & Staples cupcakes made by our very own member of staff Tom.

We made some excellent contacts and look forward to catching up with them soon.



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Winners again at the FSB Herts Business Awards 2014!

We were absolutely thrilled to win the FSB Herts Business Awards for Best Training and Development for the second year running.

It was an excellent awards dinner at Shendish Manor in Hemel Hempstead, and we’d like to congratulate all the finalists, winners and runners up.

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SKYPE appointments for your Wills now available

Crane and Staples is pleased to announce that they are trialing appointments for Wills via Skype thus removing the need for clients to visit the office during normal working hours and instead instructing the firm via the internet.

Erica Pearce-Howard of the Private Client Department believes that Skype enables the firm to adapt to people’s needs and changing lifestyle, which means they cannot always come into the office between 9am and 5pm or indeed they may require a home visit but if they have access to the internet we can chat to them in the comfort of their home or office.

Erica says “our research has shown that people are asking for more flexibility in the way we offer our services and appointments.  Skype offers clients the opportunity to speak to either myself or my colleague Samantha Webb as though they were in the office but from the comfort of their home or office”.

Of course, clients looking to make or revise a Will still have the option to come into the office or have a home visit if preferred.  It is not intended for Skype to replace our traditional service at all as we know that some people do want and are able to come in to see us in person.

Erica says “if we have any doubt as to the capacity or vulnerability of our client, or we have suspicions of undue influence, then we will not continue with the Skype appointment and we will ensure that the usual precautions of a visit in person or indeed a capacity report from a suitably qualified medical practitioner is undertaken”.

Once the initial appointment has been carried out the rest of the work can be undertaken via email, letter or telephone.  Clients can opt to come into the office to sign their Will or have the document sent to them with signing instructions prior to returning to us for checking.

At present this service is only available to clients making appointments with either Erica Pearce-Howard or Samantha Webb in the Private Client Department but if successful it may be rolled out to other areas in the firm.

Given that only one third of the adult population has a Will, Erica hopes that this new trial service will encourage those who have put off making a Will due to time constraints to finally take action and ensure they give themselves and their family peace of mind.

If you are interested in making an appointment (either by Skype or in the office) please contact Erica or Samantha on 01707 387074 or email: or

  Erica Pearce-Howard, Private Client Department

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Do you really want strangers looking after your children?

When I ask my clients why they haven’t prepared a Will, the answer most of them give me is “appointment of guardians”.  Parents just don’t know whom to ask to look after their children should they no longer be around to do so themselves.  They don’t want to upset family members by asking friends and don’t want to upset friends by asking family members – and is your own parent an appropriate person to look after a growing toddler or teenager?

It’s easier to forget about it and not worry about it (for now) than to actually sit down and talk about it.  According to the Office of National Statistics, two thirds of us die without a Will and given that over 24,000 children are bereaved of a parent each year in Britain I do wonder why so many parents are willing to risk our child’s future happiness, safety and wellbeing by not writing a Will or at least appointing a guardian.

The longer you delay, the more you are exposing your family to intense disputes played out in court and even having your child placed into foster care whilst waiting for a guardian to be appointed to care for them.  Is this what you really want?

Your children may not receive what you intended financially, or at an appropriate age as the laws of intestacy would apply or indeed your children may not inherit at all.

Make sure you to talk to both guardians and children about any plans for the future if anything should happen to ensure your children are left with a sense of security and the feeling that they will be loved and wanted by those whom you have appointed to look after them if you are no longer around.

Many people believe that writing a Will is going to cost lots of money.  What with the rising cost of living, wage freezes and energy bills it is no wonder Wills get put on the back burner.  However, depending upon your circumstances, here at Crane & Staples Wills, can cost from as little as £250 for two people – which when compared to court costs, uncertainty as to whom may be appointed and you, as parents, not having a say in any of it, can you put a price on your child’s future?

Whilst writing a Will is not something we necessarily want to do, I strongly believe it should be something we must do not only for our own peace of mind but for our children because we care for them, we love them but no matter what, if we cannot be there for them, we always want the best for them.

If you want to know more about writing a Will or appointing a guardian, please speak to one of the team in the Private Client Department on 01707 387074.

   Erica Pearce-Howard – email:

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Judge Free Divorces

You may have seen in the national press reports that the Head of the Family Division Sir James Munby has suggested that divorce will be made easier by making it an administrative process that could be dealt with by the same Registrar who marries you and issues birth certificates.

This may be considered a sensible idea but the Judge also stressed it would only be appropriate in cases of divorce by agreement and where there were no children.

 This in itself is surprising and recent changes in divorce procedure which came into force on 22 April mean that divorce Judges no longer consider the arrangements for the children of the marriage at all.

It is important that the public understand that this all relates just to the process of ending the marriage.  It does not relate to the financial matters.  It is the discussion of financial matters such as the ownership or sale of the house, the payment of maintenance and division of pensions that causes the most disputes and expense in divorce situations.

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Inspiring Herts Finalists

An excellent night had by all at the Inspiring Herts Awards finals last night at the Porsche Garage in Hatfield.

We were absolutely delighted to have been nominated finalists in both categories we entered – Best Small Business and Excellence in People Development and feel proud of our achievement, particularly given the fact that entries were up 20% on last year and the competition fierce.

We’d like to congratulate all the finalists, and particularly to the winners.

Many thanks to Kerigh Palmer for this great photo.

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