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Undue Influence and Challenging a Will

Undue Influence and Challenging a Will
There are various ways in which a Will may be challenged on the grounds of the validity. This may include the deceased lacking testamentary capacity at the time of providing instructions for the Will and at execution. The Court must be satisfied before probate is given that the testator (person making the will) knew and approved the contents of the...
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How to find a Will or obtain a copy

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On the death of a person, locating a Will can be very important. It not only identifies who the deceased chose to appoint to conduct their affairs but to whom their assets would pass. In the absence of locating a Will, the statutory Intestacy Rules provide potentially for a list of different beneficiaries to those the deceased may have intended. 3M...
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Video witnessing of wills during Coronavirus pandemic to be legalised

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The outbreak of Coronavirus and the risk it poses to our health has led to an increased demand for people wanting to put a Will in place. At the height of the lockdown, social distancing rules meant that the strict legal requirement that Wills must be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses could not be easily observed. 3This led to som...
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The impact of COVID-19 on estate executors

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Probate lawyers have witnessed a significant increase in the number of cases as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. The related volatility of stock markets and unstable property market has important tax implications for executors and their advisers. Inheritance TaxInheritance Tax is calculated based on the value of an estate on the date of death....
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532 Hits

Making a Will during lockdown

Making a Will during lockdown
The outbreak of the Coronavirus and the risk it poses to our health has led to an increased demand in clients contacting us to put a new Will in place. The lockdown has presented significant obstacles to lawyers assisting their clients and a requirement to adapt quickly to different working practices to ensure client instructions can stil...
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What is STEP and what does it mean for our clients?

What is STEP and what does it mean for our clients?
The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is a global professional body for lawyers that sets standards for training and education in the areas of Wills, Trusts, Estates and Tax. Full membership of STEP is seen as a kite mark of excellence in these areas of law. The pathway to full STEP membership is rigorous and requires lawyers to qual...
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Current guidance for making a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney

Current guidance for making a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney
The outbreak of the Coronavirus and the risk it poses to our health has led many of our clients to contact us to review their existing Will or put a new Will in place. This is an understandable response in a time of considerable uncertainty and anxiety for some. ​We want to assure our clients that despite the current disruption brought about by the...
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Changes to the Statutory Legacy on Intestacy

Changes to the Statutory Legacy on Intestacy
On the 6th February 2020 the new Statutory Legacy on Intestacy came into force.What are the intestacy rules?The intestacy rules are statutory rules that determine who receives your estate if you die without a Will.How is the Statutory Legacy applied?The Statutory Legacy is the amount your spouse or civil partner will receive if you die without a Wi...
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The impact of gender reassignment surgery on gifts in Wills

The impact of gender reassignment surgery on gifts in Wills
When a person undergoes gender reassignment surgery it can raise questions as to whether they still inherit if a Will refers to their birth name and previous gender. Should their parents change their Wills to reflect their child's change of name and gender? The Gender Recognition Act 2004The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) provides assistance on ...
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602 Hits

Who died first? A key question in some probate cases

Who died first? A key question in some probate cases
To some this may seem a strange question but in the context of Wills this can be a very important question and sometimes pivotal in determining who inherits an estate. In the recent case of John Scarle and Ann Scarle, which was heard in the High Court at the end of June 2019, John and Ann were both found dead from Hypothermia in October 2016 in the...
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Lack of knowledge & approval - can it make a will invalid?

Lack of knowledge & approval - can it make a will invalid?
For a Will to be valid there are a number of criteria which the Testator must meet, the Testator being the maker of the Will. This includes age, knowledge of all the facts and approval.Firstly, the Testator must be over the age of 18 years and the formalities of s9 Wills Act 1837 must have been followed.The Testator must also know and approve the c...
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Domicile for the purpose of an Inheritance Act Claim

Domicile for Inheritance Tax
When making an Inheritance claim, the domicile country of the deceased is an essential element of the Court's decision.​ Various eligible individuals identified within s1 of the I(PFD)Act 1975 may apply to the Court for an Order for a share and disposition from a deceased's estate where, either through their Will or by intestacy, no such reasonable...
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Free Wills & LPA Advice Seminar in November

Free Wills & LPA Advice Seminar in November
Join us for one of our ever-popular free Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney talks on 23rd November to ensure that you're set for the future (please note the advertised seminars on 9th and 10th November are now full).Over half of people in the UK currently do not have a Will and this can lead to unfortunate difficulties upon death. Your ...
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1677 Hits

Free Wills & LPA Advice Seminar in August

Free Wills & LPA Advice Seminar in August
Join us for one of our ever-popular free Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney talks on 15th and 18th August to ensure that you're set for the future.Over half of people in the UK currently do not have a Will and this can lead to unfortunate difficulties upon death. Your assets may not pass to whom you want to inherit, leaving your loved ones i...
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1780 Hits

When is Someone Too Ill to Make a Will?

When is Someone Too Ill to Make a Will?
Dementia, among other disorders and diseases, can highlight huge challenges for both doctors and lawyers when assessing the testamentary capacity of a person when preparing their Will. The current UK law requires a person to fully understand what they are doing and the implications of such decisions. But what processes are used to ensure that someb...
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2048 Hits

Will FAQs - The Basics

Will FAQs - The Basics
In today's society, many people are choosing to put off making a Will. Perhaps it's because we're all living longer – you don't need to think about that yet, do you? In fact, making a Will is the most vital thing you can do to protect your loved ones.A properly drafted Will ensures that you decide who receives your Estate when you die and that all ...
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Reform to Wills - Imminent Changes Afoot?

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The process of making a valid Will is currently governed by the Wills Act 1837 – but a consultation may see these laws radically change. Chris Dickinson explains.

The Act provides, amongst other things, that a valid Will must be in writing and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign in the presence of the person making the Will and of each other.

The Law Commission has been carrying out a consultation since July of this year on whether these laws are outdated and if changes should be made to the way Wills are made.

Some of the key issues being considered are changing the way solicitors assess mental capacity for someone to make a Will, altering the age required to make a Will from 18 to 16, and giving the courts greater flexibility to uphold wills that do not meet the necessary legal requirements. Digital Wills may also be considered in the future.

Whilst some solicitors support in principle the proposal to extend the Court’s discretion to uphold Wills that do not meet existing legal requirements, there is also concern about making changes to laws that are long established and widely understood.

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A Landmark Judgement for Right to Die Cases?

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A recent judgement questions if legal permission is still required by a court before life-supporting treatment is withdrawn from patients in certain circumstances.

Cases involving applications to the Court by family members or doctors for an order to lead the withdrawal of life sustaining treatment have become increasingly common in recent times. However, a recent judgment means that the number of such cases may decline.

The judgement was made by Mr Justice Peter Jackson in the Court of Protection and is likely to have a bearing on how future ‘right-to-die’ cases are approached in the future. The ruling stated that providing strict medical guidelines have been observed and the family and medical staff are in agreement with the decision to withdraw treatment, there will be no requirement to obtain the consent of the Court.

This particular case involved a lady suffering with Huntingdon’s disease for which there is no cure. Permission was sought to end her treatment in June and was eventually granted by the Court in July - she died shortly afterwards having been in a persistent minimally conscious state for over a year and receiving treatment that both her medical staff and family felt were not in her best interests. The Official Solicitor acts for patients in these circumstances and has argued that all cases of this nature should be referred to the courts and so it is highly likely the decision will be appealed.

MORE INFORMATION

A Lasting Power of Attorney relating to your Health and Welfare can save this distressing situation for you.

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Free Wills and LPA Advice Seminar in September

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Join us on one of our popular free Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney talks on 15th and 16th September to ensure that your affairs are in order. 
Over half of people in the UK currently do not have a Will and this can lead to unfortunate difficulties upon death. Your assets may not pass to whom you want to inherit, leaving your loved ones in financial stress and hardship. It also can be time-consuming and expensive to resolve. In order to ensure your affairs are in order, we recommend that you prepare a Will.

 
In addition to this, over 850,000 people in the UK have Dementia; this figure has been estimated to rise to 1 million in 2025. Dementia can lead to your loved one being unable to make their own decisions regarding their financial affairs. By setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney now, you are able to nominate a person (your Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf in the future if you become unable to.

Ensure that your affairs are in order to minimise stress for your family before and after your death. Join one of our free events to hear a short presentation about the different types of Will and LPA, and get some free tailored advice from one of our solicitors over a tea or coffee afterwards.

date: Friday 15th September

(Please note that Saturday's session is now fully booked)

Time: 11am – 12.30pm

Venue: Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors, 54 Station Road, Upminster, Essex, RM14 2TU

For more information and to book your free place please contact Kayleigh O'Donnell on 01708 229444 or complete the form to the right.

(Please note - the seminars will be taking place in our boardroom, located up one flight of stairs.)

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Estranged Daughter Succeeds in Will Dispute

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A Judge has awarded an estranged daughter £30,000 in yet another unprecedented move by the legal system. Our Senior Associate Kerry Hull explains.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in March of this year in Ilott –v- The Blue Cross & Others when it was thought that the principle of testamentary freedom had been bolstered, His Honour Judge Saffman in Leeds County Court has awarded an estranged daughter £30k of her deceased father’s £240k estate, despite the fact that he made it clear he had disinherited his children in his Will.

The earlier ruling of the Supreme Court had established that “it is not the case that once there is a qualified claimant and a demonstrated need for maintenance, the testators wishes cease to be of any weight. They may, of course, be overridden, but they are part of the circumstances of the case and fall to be assessed in the round together with all other relevant factors.”

Despite the daughter having no contact with her father for several years before his death and the deceased having left a letter explaining why he was disinheriting his 3 children and leaving his entire estate to his friend, HHJ Saffman determined that the daughter’s wish to complete a veterinary course was a ‘maintenance cost’. The Judge was presumably satisfied that the evidence presented in the case was sufficient for the Act to prevail as against the wishes of the deceased.  

A half sibling of the daughter, who was unable to work through ill health, was similarly successful having also made a claim under the Act, receiving a settlement of £22k.

 

MORE INFORMATION 

For all enquiries relating to contested probate or Wills, please contact our Contested Wills and Probate Department - our team of expert solicitors will be able to assist. Call on 01708 229444 or email us using the form above.

 
This article was written by Kerry Hull, a Senior Associate at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of July 2017.
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