Latest Legal News

Half of Estate Value Goes in Fees When Will Lost and Family in Dispute

When a person is appointed executor of an estate, they are given a reasonable period to progress the estate administration but cannot procrastinate without adverse consequences being likely. When a woman died intestate in 2012, she left behind a house and...

Just Because You Agree Doesn't Mean the Court Will

It is common in legal disputes for the two sides to agree to suspend the court proceedings for a period so that they can get as much agreed between them as possible, and gather their evidence and prepare their arguments over what remains in dispute without...

No Will Means Negotiation to Decide Estate Split

A professionally drafted will is something every adult should have. Not only does it provide certainty as to who should inherit your possessions after your death, but it will also make things a lot easier for your executor at a time that is usually...

Woman Who Assisted Husband's Suicide Can Inherit Estate

The law in the UK is not supportive of people who assist, however unwillingly, those they love who want to die. Although such wishes are often borne out of suffering years of intractable pain or disability, assisting the suicide of another remains a criminal...

Lost Will Means Court Hearing in Family Dispute

The impossibility of asking a deceased person what their real intentions were makes the value of these being clear before death quite obvious, as a recent case shows. It involved an elderly widow who died in 2016. After her death, her family discovered an...

Fake Will Admission May Lead to Criminal Charges

When your spouse's lack of attention to making a will causes issues, faking one is definitely not a good idea, as a Kent woman found out recently. Her husband died in 2013 leaving various properties in Spain and a flat in England, but no will. The woman...

Attorney Allowed to Take Over as Executor

It is commonplace for people to appoint siblings or friends as their executors. When they do and they are of a similar age, there is a risk that when the person who has made the will dies, the proposed executor will have predeceased them or lack the mental...

Disinheriting Relatives Can Be a Recipe for Discord

You may have good reasons for writing close relatives out of your will but, as any lawyer will tell you, the consequence of doing so can be family discord after you are gone. That was certainly so in one case concerning a father who disinherited his...

Son Who Did Not Do Enough Excluded From Farm Inheritance

When parents changed their wills to exclude their son from inheriting their £1 million farm after a family falling-out in 2016, he took the unusual step of challenging their right to do so. Normally, such challenges are made against the estates of...

Court Visit Required to Give Clarity to Will

Many wills contain clauses which alter the distribution of assets in the event of changing circumstances, such as the death of one of the beneficiaries under the will before the person making it. When drafting such clauses, it is essential that they are...

Transfer of Pension Fund Does Not Escape IHT Charge

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is not only payable on the value of the estate of a deceased person, but can also be levied on 'transfers of value' from the deceased's estate in the seven (exceptionally 14) years prior to their death. But what counts as a transfer of...

Probate Charges to be Increased for Larger Estates

Proposals to link the cost of being granted probate over an estate valued at more than £5,000 (currently fixed at £215 for those applying individually or £155 if applying through a solicitor) to the value of the estate were announced in...

Lack of Will Leads to Family Dispute in Court

When a man's first wife died, he inherited her share of the property they had owned jointly. At the time, he was living with his third wife, and the couple remained together for a further 28 years until his death in 1990. He died without making a will and...

Leaving Your ISA to Your Family

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) have many advantages over normal savings accounts – chiefly that the investment income earned on them is tax free and gains within them are not subject to Capital Gains Tax. They are, not surprisingly, widely regarded...

Keep Your Records Safe

The High Court of Justice is a very expensive place to resolve a family dispute, as is evidenced by a recent case which pitted members of a farming family against each other : it shows beyond doubt the importance of documenting decisions and retaining the...

Court Accepts £6 Million Distribution to Attorney

When a person's affairs are being managed by someone else under a lasting power of attorney (LPA), there are strict rules about what the attorney can and cannot do with the assets placed under their control. The attorney is expected to safeguard the assets...

Law Overrides Will That Excludes Partner

The law that allows someone who was dependent on a deceased person during their lifetime to make a claim against their estate if there is no, or inadequate, provision for them in the will is one of long standing (the Inheritance (Provision for Family and...

Deliberate Mistruths in Estate Administration Mean Court Hearing

When an estate is to be administered, an application for probate must first be made if the deceased left a will. Once probate is granted, the process can begin. However, the mere granting of probate does not mean that all is said and done on the matter, as a...

Can a Will Be Valid if You Can't Read it?

One of the requirements for a will to be accepted as valid is that the person who makes it must have 'knowledge and approval' of its contents...in other words, they must understand what the will says and what it means in practice. It might seem, therefore,...

Farmer Acts to Protect Family Promise

Farming families appear regularly in the courts these days, as more and more cases arise that feature undocumented promises that have been made (or are alleged to have been made) by parents but not kept. The law will only enforce such informal arrangements...

Disappointed Children Fail to Overturn Will

When a will is made late in life which materially changes how an estate is to be distributed (especially when the new will favours one of a number of children), a dispute following the death is almost inevitable. So it was when an 85-year-old woman made a...

Witnesses Save the Day for Widow in Will Argument

A divorced man who remarried in his late 50s made a new will in 1998, one year after the marriage, which left his entire estate to his new wife. After he died, a home-made will was discovered, made shortly before his death. This left virtually his entire...

Will Wishes Rescinded by Court

One powerful reason why you should always seek legal advice before making your will is to ensure you meet your responsibilities to those who depend on you financially. In one case on point, the High Court effectively rewrote the will of a wealthy landowner ...

Trust Variation for Minors - High Court Holds Sway

Setting up family trusts with minors or those with mental incapacities as beneficiaries is by no means uncommon and it sometimes occurs that such trusts need to be varied for one reason or another. The mechanism for this is the Variation of Trusts Act 1958...

Understanding Between Couple Regarding Work Done Creates Legal Obligation

Legal arguments between cohabitants who break up are commonplace. However, a recent case dealt with a lengthy legal dispute between the surviving partner of a gay couple and his deceased partner's family. The couple lived in a property that was owned by...
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