Latest Legal News

Ignoring Advice Not Path to Success

There really is little point in instructing lawyers to represent you if you do not then listen to their advice. In one case which illustrates this , two women dispensed with the services of not just one but two legal teams, after they were advised to...

Executors and Taxes

An executor of an estate is personally responsible for his or her actions, so as well as there being significant duties, on occasions the role can also involve significant risks. One example of this would be where an executor completes the estate...

Mutual Will Voids Thirteen Later Wills

Although a worryingly high proportion of the population never make a will, a fairly large number of those who do make more than one. It is sensible to make a new will or add codicils to an existing will if your circumstances change significantly. However,...

Estranged Daughter Gains Share of Late Father's Estate

The dangers of concluding that estranged children who have been disinherited will have no claim against a deceased person's estate were made very clear after a widely reported case decided last year. They have again been highlighted in a recent case in...

High Court Dementia Ruling - Judge Acts to Protect Widow

Amidst an ageing population, the role of judges in protecting the weak, vulnerable and infirm is of ever increasing importance. In one case that proves the point, the High Court stepped in to set aside land transfers made by an elderly farmer with dementia...

Don't Litigate Without a Lawyer to Tell You When You're Wrong!

One reason why it is rarely advisable to represent yourself in litigation is that you need a good lawyer to tell you when you are wrong. That point could hardly have been more clearly made than by a case in which a widower claimed that his sister had made...

Court Rejects Will in a Crisp Packet

Unfulfilled hopes of substantial inheritance are commonplace, both in fact and fiction, but not often do they lead to such ham-fisted attempts at forgery as that shown by a disappointed widow after her husband left her just £25,000 of his...

Managing the Affairs of Missing People Law Passed

With the general election hogging the headlines, the passing of the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 , which received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017, went almost unreported. Although the date on which the Act will come into force has not yet been...

Car Bonnet Will is Valid, Rules Court

There are a number of requirements that must be met for a will to be valid and one of these is that the signing of the will must be witnessed by two people who are not beneficiaries. A recent case before the High Court turned on that point. It was brought...

Power of Attorney Fees Fall

With the recent furore over the Government's proposed increase in the cost of obtaining probate on larger estates, currently on ice owing to lack of parliamentary time in the run up to the General Election, it is nice to see that the direction of change in...

Cocktail of Drugs Not Sufficient to Overturn Will

Disputes about the validity of wills frequently centre on allegations that the deceased lacked 'mental capacity' when they created a will. In a recent case, the court had to consider whether a man who died less than two months after writing a will was...

Assets of Elderly Are Target of Wrongdoers

Where there is money, there is opportunity for wrongdoing and a steady stream of cases show that vigilance is needed to prevent the assets of the deceased or elderly being misappropriated. In one case, three cleaners of a deceased South Wales man claimed to...

Accountant Forged Mother's $50 Million Will

Will disputes can be extremely bitter and the kind of skulduggery depicted in fiction sadly sometimes reflects reality. In one case, the High Court found that a well-respected accountant had forged his mother's will in order to gain control of business...

Probate Charges Increase Likely to Be Delayed

The Government has acknowledged that the upcoming general election makes it unlikely that probate fees will increase significantly in May as planned, as there will not be time for Parliament to pass the legislation. The planned changes to the fees payable...

Problems for Family Unaddressed as People Still Shun Wills

The latest research from National Savings and Investments shows that a staggering 64 per cent of adults in the UK have not made a will, and that 38 million adults have made no arrangements for their retirement or provision for long-term care, although half...

Solicitor Evidence Crucial in Proving Will Valid

A recent case shows the importance of involving a solicitor in the preparation of a will, especially where it is considered that an attempt to invalidate it on the grounds of lack of mental capacity may be made. It involved an elderly man who changed his...

Massive Increases in Probate Charges on Large Estates on the Way

Probate fees, which rose sharply only three years ago, are about to rise again. Under the present scheme an application for probate by an individual costs £215 and by a solicitor £155, but from May 2017 a new tariff is being introduced which...

Supreme Court Overturns Daughter's Will Claim Award

A surprising Court of Appeal decision that a daughter was a 'dependant' of her estranged mother and thus entitled to benefit from her estate has now been overturned by the Supreme Court. Heather Ilott had been deliberately excluded from the will of her...

Attorney Who Forged Will to Accelerate Inheritance Given Jail Term

When an elderly man died owning both a house and a half share in an attached property with his sister, whose financial affairs were already being administered by a cousin under a power of attorney, the scene was set for the cousin to seize ownership of the...

Changes in Trustees - Who Appoints New Trustees?

Trusts are relatively common and the death of a trustee is by no means rare. A trust deed normally contains a clause stipulating how new trustees are to be appointed in the event of the death, incapacity or inability to serve of a trustee, and normally it is...

Court Rejects Unprovable Claim of Property Gift

Arguments over the division of estates are unfortunately common where the value of the assets they contain is substantial, especially if family relationships are fractious. In such circumstances, the distribution of an estate can be delayed by legal...

Survivorship Clause Leads to Double Benefit for Beneficiaries

There is an established legal principle that where people have wills benefiting each other (as is normal with the wills of a husband and wife) and the order in which they died cannot be ascertained, it is considered that the older of the two will have been...

Alcoholism and Mental Capacity

In order to make a valid will, you need to know your own mind – and it helps to have a solicitor on hand to advise you. That was certainly so in a case in which a businessman left the lion's share of his £1 million fortune to a friend and...

Non-Working Daughter Loses Claim for Financial Provision

Claims by disappointed children seeking a share, or a larger share, of a parental estate are on the rise, with the latest figures published showing a year-on-year increase of more than 10 per cent in such claims. Although a widely reported case ( Ilott v...

Undisclosed Assets on Break-Up Cause Problems for Executor

When a couple break up, a financial settlement is normally agreed between them as part of the proceedings and that, usually, is that. However, in a recent case involving civil partners who had split up , the death of one partner shortly after the financial...
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