Remember a Charity in your Will Week

September 10th 2021 | wills and probate

This week is Remember a Charity in your Will Week. For most of us it can be pretty easy to overlook the reliance that our society has on charities and those who work in the charitable sector: whether it is The British Heart Foundation or Cancer Research UK who undertake read more...

Gift Exemptions: Inheritance Tax

August 31st 2021 | estate planning

OK, let's talk gifting allowance for inheritance tax. This is a topic that I see a lot of clients get very confused about, whether it's for their lifetime planning or as executors completing an IHT400 where there have been gifts during the deceased’s lifetime.  There were 4 ways in which read more...

Can You Resign As An Executor?

August 16th 2021 | estate planning

The role of an executor is not something to be taken lightly. In an earlier blog I discussed some of the pitfalls that can arise for executors and the risks associated with the role .  However, what people often fail to realise is that, once you start to act as read more...

Advice for Executors: Estate Accounts

July 14th 2021 | wills and probate

All executors are required to keep accurate and detailed accounts setting out the assets that form part of the estate, details of estate debts and confirming what steps have been taken with assets throughout the estate administration. The accounts also set out how the estate assets have been, or are read more...

What is Probate?

May 17th 2021 | wills and probate

As a person who deals with estates constantly, I often take it for granted that individuals understand what it means to “apply for probate” and why you may need to do this. In case you, like many others, have ever been confused by this concept, here is a brief explanation: read more...

Personal Injury Trusts: Who, What and Why?

March 30th 2021 | trusts

There are a wide range of reasons why trusts are still used in modern society (and not all of them have to do with tax). One particularly useful, and often overlooked, type of trust is a personal injury trust. This is a trust which is specifically set up to receive read more...

Solicitors - The Stereotype vs Reality

March 18th 2021 | wills and probate

To all the lay folk out there, what do you picture when someone tells you they are a lawyer? Is it the man in an expensive suit, working in swanky offices who charges you a small (or not-so-small) fortune? Or maybe the criminal lawyer of many an American movie, banging read more...

Making Gifts Under a Power of Attorney

March 12th 2021 | court of protection

Powers of Attorney (whether they be Lasting Powers of Attorney for Finance, Enduring Powers of Attorney or Court of Protection Deputyship Orders) give an individual the authority to access a person’s financial assets. This includes their bank accounts and investments as well as the authority to sell, transfer or mortgage read more...

Should I Apply for Probate Personally?

January 21st 2021 | wills and probate

It has always been possible to apply for probate as a private individual, however the prospect of completing tax forms and muddling through the legal jargon of Wills has meant that most executors seek professional assistance. However, in the recent times there has been a steady increase in individuals choosing read more...

Lasting Powers of Attorney - The Slippery Slope of Digitisation

December 4th 2020 | wills and probate

There has been an active step by the Office of the Public Guardian towards digitising the process of creating Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). This has been met with mixed reviews, with solicitors in particular showing general concern about the changes being made. As of the 17 th July 2020, read more...

Survivorship Provisions- 30 Days to Benefit

November 9th 2020 | wills and probate

It is common to included a survivorship clause in Wills. The logic behind this is to prevent assets from passing to a beneficiary who dies shortly afterwards and so has very little or, more likely, no benefit from the asset. If the soon-deceased beneficiary leaves a taxable estate then the read more...

Modern Technology – An Executor’s Nightmare

October 1st 2020 | wills and probate

A recent Direct Line survey has found that modern technology has been making it more difficult for executors to correctly administer estates. This has largely been blamed on the rise of online only banking and the use of biometric login details. For environmental and confidentiality reasons, most people now opt read more...

Attorneys vs Deputies- What is the Difference?

September 23rd 2020 | court of protection

When it comes to managing other people’s affairs, there are effectively two ways to gain authority. To the lay person the distinction is not always apparent, however there are significant differences in the time and cost involved in one route over the other, as well as the reason why a read more...

Who’s On The Hook?- The Case of Linda Box

August 6th 2020 | wills and probate

Cases involving a former solicitor, Linda Box, who misappropriated estate funds are currently before the Courts. Ms Box was jailed in 2017 for fraud, theft, and forgery, having stolen millions of pounds from clients during her years in practice.  It can be quite uncomfortable for us as lawyers to discuss read more...

Deathbed Gifts

July 17th 2020 | wills and probate

Death bed gifts, or donatio mortis causa ("DMC") , are a bit of a legal quirk. They received some publicity when the residential nil rate band was introduced a few years ago as a possible way of side-stepping the £2m taper threshold. So, what are they? A DMC is a read more...

Remembering Charities

June 30th 2020 | wills and probate

When preparing Wills, one of the most difficult points for clients (particularly those with young children) to think about is a disaster provision. Sometimes (and with misplaced cheeriness) known as a Disneyland Clause, these ask a client to consider who they would wish to inherit their estates if, at the read more...

The Role of Executor – A Risky Business

May 19th 2020 | wills and probate

Glancing through the news recently I noticed a story about an executor who has had a warrant issued for his arrest due to his failure to comply with his duties. The role of an executor carries quite significant obligations and the consequences for failing to correctly administer an estate can read more...

How to Sign a Will During Coronavirus Lockdown

April 6th 2020 | wills and probate

The current COVID 19 crisis has lead people to review their circumstances and, as such, Private Client practitioners have seen an increase in the demand for Wills. This has been from a combination of people who had no Wills in place finally deciding to put their affairs in order and read more...

The Checklist- Getting your Affairs in Order

March 23rd 2020 | wills and probate

In light of the recent coronavirus outbreak, I have received several concerned calls from clients in relation to steps that they should be taking. I am not the alarmist type, and so have stressed the need to remain calm, however the virus has caused many people to take a look read more...

The Importance of a Staple

February 11th 2020 | wills and probate

Who knew a staple could cause so many problems? When a professional drafts a Will, we generally arrange for them to be sewn with ribbon or bound. This not only looks nice but also makes it harder for clients to unsuspectingly separate the document.  Where it is apparent that a read more...

A Scottish Connection

December 20th 2019 | wills and probate

Fun Fact! Did you know that you can make a Will at the age of 12 in Scotland? There are quite a few variations in the law when you head north of the border, and it is important to remember that Scotland is a separate legal jurisdiction. As such, careful read more...

Guide to The Court of Protection - Health and Welfare Deputyship

December 9th 2019 | court of protection

If someone loses capacity without having a valid Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney in place, then those seeking to make decisions will need to apply to the Court of Protection for the authority to make decisions on their behalf. There are several types of a decision that the Court read more...

Guide to The Court of Protection - Property and Finance Deputyships

November 6th 2019 | court of protection

What happens if decisions need to made for someone who lacks mental capacity? With an ageing population this is an issue which has become more prominent in people's mind. This is further compounded by significant care costs and high property values, which mean that incapacitated individuals are left with valuable assets read more...

The Horror of Homemade Wills

October 31st 2019 | wills and probate

I have been seeing more and more homemade Wills in recent years. I will freely admit that, as a Probate Solicitor, these fill me with dread. This is because homemade Wills usually lack useful administrative provisions, or worse, contain clauses which are unworkable or open to challenge. I would never read more...

A Quick Guide to Trusts

September 25th 2019 | trusts

The concept of trusts can be a difficult one to explain to non-lawyers. Most people know that they exist but have very little knowledge about how they operate or why they might be established. In recent years they have received a particularly bad rap as they have become associated with read more...

What Happens If I Do Not Have a Will?

August 21st 2019 | wills and probate

A Will is a document, created by someone during their lifetime, which sets out what they would like to happen to their assets when they die. If you die without a Will, your estate passes under the rules of intestacy. There are several common misconceptions about what happens when someone read more...

The £1 Million Inheritance Tax Threshold - Is it Real?

August 14th 2019 | wills and probate

The concept of inheritance tax is fairly strange to our American cousins. In the UK, when someone dies, any amount in their estate above their available tax-free allowance is charged to tax at 40%. There are some exceptions to this rule, for instance if estates are passing to spouses or read more...

Lifetime Gifting: A Salutary Lesson

July 31st 2019 | wills and probate

A friend of mine recently forwarded this article to me, asking what the legal position is in relation to gifts to children, and if parents have an ability to ask for their money back. In this scenario, a lady’s parents gifted her £100,000 to help her to buy her home. read more...

Statutory Wills: A Brief Guide

May 20th 2019 | court of protection

A Will is a document, made by someone, which sets out how their estate should be distributed on their death and who should deal with the administration. However, recent research carried out by Prudential found that around 60% of the UK population does not have a Will. If someone dies read more...

Mortgage Deposits and the Bank of Mum & Dad

March 14th 2019 | wills and probate

The cost of buying homes in the UK has escalated significantly in the past few years. However, house prices themselves seem to have stagnated –Most likely as a result of a concerted effort by the conservatives to curtail the buy-to-let market (by way of increased stamp duty and loss of read more...
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