Wills, Trusts and Probate

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The South West Legacy Manager for Cancer Research UK has praised Slee Blackwell’s “amazing contribution” to beating cancer through the Charity’s free Will scheme. Since joining the Charity’s initiative we have undertaken 88 wills, with 66 of our generous clients including a gift to Cancer Research UK. The average pledge of £11,147 is significantly higher than the national average of £7,000. This has resulted in a total of £735,722 promised to the Charity, with 80p in every £1 being invested into research. At...

Hard working and generous staff at Slee Blackwell Solicitors in Braunton and Barnstaple recently took part in Will Aid 2013 and are delighted to announce a fabulous fundraising total of £8,500 (including Gift Aid) to contribute to the nationwide 25th anniversary total. This is approaching twice the amount raise in the 2012 campaign and is a fantastic achievement. Will Aid is the UK's leading charity will-writing scheme. It offers everyone the opportunity to make or update their Will in return for...

Slee Blackwell has supported Will Aid for the last five years. November 2013, saw Will Aid celebrate its 25th anniversary. Slee Blackwell’s Braunton, Bideford, South Molton and Barnstaple offices raised over £6,000 to support last year’s Will Aid campaign. The Will Aid campaign funds nine charities in total, ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF and Trocaire. The Will Aid campaign is very straightforward. We draft the Will, as directed by the client, as normal,...

Lee Dawkins, a solicitor in our contenttious probate team in Taunton, Somerset, looks at the options open to beneficiaries who want to challenge a solicitors's costs of administering an estate. We are regularly asked by beneficiaries whether they are entitled to challenge solicitors’ costs in probate and estate administration. Legal costs in probate cases are governed by the non-contentious costs rules. . Non-contentious costs are defined as “monies payable for legal services in connection with non-contentious business”. Probate is an example of “non-contentious...

Can a Will be varied? North Devon based Probate Solicitor, Emily Hockin, looks at the variation of Wills A person can make a Will to reflect their wishes and who they would like to benefit from their estate. However, in practical terms, the person benefiting from the estate could end up being disadvantaged by the terms of the Will. This is where a Deed of Variation can sometimes help. If, for instance, the beneficiary’s own estate is increased dramatically due to an...

Inheritance Tax for farmers and their families   The rules governing Inheritance Tax, or IHT, can change with each financial new year. The subject therefore presents a moving target for short articles like this that was written some years ago. So if you are looking for up to date information on inheritance tax for farmers then do give us a call.   The current inheritance tax regulations have remained largely unchanged for the last 3 years, due in no small measure to the recession....

When a relationship with a spouse, civil partner or cohabite breaks down should consideration be given to what will happen in the event of death? Yes. It is likely prior to the breakdown of a relationship that a spouse, civil partner or cohabitee will have made some provision for the other. Whenever a personal relationship changes or breaks down it is important to ensure that testamentary wishes and ownership of property is reconsidered in the light of the new circumstances. Does a...

We take a look into the murky world of unregulated will writers Walter Ventriglia was the owner of a will writing firm called Legacy & Law and a will storage business called UK Will Register. He has just been sent to prison for fraudulently charging clients for fixing non-existing problems with their wills. Is he typical? That is not an easy question to answer but you must be on your guard against unregulated Will writing firms who cold-call by telephone, particularly if people...

Wills and probate solicitor, Toni Sinclair looks at the risks people take when they choose to deal with an unregulated Will writer, rather than a reputable solicitor Despite being an important legal activity, the business of Will writing is completely unrestricted. Anyone can set up in business to provide a Will writing service - even if they have no formal legal qualifications or training. Yet given the social, familial and financial dynamics of our modern society it is probably more crucial...

Professional negligence solicitor, Lee Dawkins echoes the ombudsman's warnings about unregulated and uninsured will writers. The BBC is reporting that thousands of people in the UK are being 'ripped off' by 'cowboy' companies providing unregulated legal services such as will writing. Quoting the Chief Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales the report says: "One service which crops up a lot is will writing. It's a service carried out often by will-writing firms who aren't regulated." "Because of this, customers are left with little means...