Wills, Trusts and Probate

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In the third of a series of articles about the circumstances when a new Will should be made, Solicitor Vanessa Swales looks at what effect the death of a witness or executor has on a Will. Who can witness a Will or be an executor? Any adult who has mental capacity and is not blind can witness your Will, as long as they are not a beneficiary, or married to a beneficiary. An executor, by contrast, can be a beneficiary, though they must be...

In the second of a series of articles about when a new Will needs to be made, Solicitor Vanessa Swales looks at what effect divorce has on a Will. Divorce doesn’t automatically revoke a Will Unlike marriage, divorce (or the dissolution of a civil partnership) does not automatically revoke your Will in its entirety. Following divorce your Will remains valid, but it takes effect as if your former spouse (or civil partner) had died on the date the decree absolute (or the dissolution...

In the first of a series of articles about when a new Will needs to be made, Solicitor Vanessa Swales looks at what effect marriage has on a Will. It is always good idea to review your Will from time to time. However, this is all the more important when your personal circumstances change as certain life events should always trigger a re-assessment of your estate planning. Getting married is one of those key events and with the royal wedding only...

Contentious probate solicitor, Chris Green takes a look at the new Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act. With the Lord Lucan affair back in the headlines we turn our focus to a neglected area of the law; what happens when someone goes missing for an an extended period of time and is presumed to be dead? Missing, presumed dead When an individual is missing, presumed dead, but no body has been found, how should their affairs be dealt with? And in particular, what happens to that person’s assets?...

Solicitor Charlotte Mitchell looks at the pitfalls of making a Lasting Power of Attorney online Are you thinking of making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)? If so, this article explains why you should avoid the temptation to opt for a ‘DIY’ LPA online and why you should use a Solicitor to prepare your LPA. What is a LPA? A LPA is a legal document which allows you to appoint individuals to make decisions for you (if you were to loose your ability to...

The problem of dishonest attorneys is in the news again. The latest report to hit the press involves an attorney who stole £194k from his mother who was suffering from dementia   “Cunning” attorney jailed for financial abuse An attorney who was jailed for five-and-a-half years for stealing his mother’ life savings was described as “cunning, depraved and incredibly selfish” in court. The attorney abused his position by selling his mother’s property when she went into a nursing home after being diagnosed with dementia....

Wills and probate solicitor, Alyson Coulson, looks at whether a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a blessing or a threat. Denzil Lush, the now retired senior judge at the Court of Protection, has published a book on Lasting and Enduring Powers of Attorney. The publication has hit the headlines due to the grave concerns the ex-judge has expressed about Lasting Powers of Attorney and the significant potential for financial abuse of vulnerable people. I had the privilege on several occasions of hearing Mr...

LPA fee reduction There has never been a better time to plan ahead and make a Lasting Power of Attorney. On 1 April 2017, the fee to register a Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA, was reduced from £110 to £82. The Office of the Public Guardian says the fees have been reduced because an increase in the volume of LPA applications means the income it receives in registration fees now exceeds the cost of the service. Slee Blackwell’s Private Client team has...

The Law Commission launches public consultation about wills. The Law Commission's consultation, which is open until 10 November 2017, invites views on how we can improve the legal system regulating wills. The need to modernise our Victorian system In 2013 the Commission undertook a public consultation which suggested that the law was not working. Since then the Commission has been taking soundings and considering how our legal system can be improved. Our law is still based on 19th century principles, with the Wills Act 1837...