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Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Intestacy Law Shake-Up Ahead as Bill Enters Lords

Published on: 19 August 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Following en extensive consultation, the Government has introduced the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Bill into the House of Lords.

The Bill aims to reform the laws of intestacy (i.e. those that apply when a person dies without leaving a will) to allow the spouse or civil partner of a person who dies childless to inherit the entire estate.

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Will Beneficiary Wins Over £700,000 from Negligent Solicitor

Published on: 14 July 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

A woman who lost a substantial part of her inheritance from a wealthy relative due to a solicitor’s negligence has been awarded more than £700,000 compensation. The High Court found that the solicitor, although understandably concerned, had failed in his duty to follow the instructions that he had been given to change the 90-year-old woman’s will in the days before she died.

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Private Care Home Owners Triumph in Fees Dispute

Published on: 03 July 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Private Care Home Owners Triumph in Fees Dispute

A local authority’s social services budget has been thrown into chaos after the High Court unleashed a barrage of criticisms of the way in which it set the fees it pays to private care home owners.

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Adopted Daughter Triumphs Over ‘Heir Hunter’

Published on: 11 June 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Adopted Daughter Triumphs Over ‘Heir Hunter’

Notwithstanding her formal adoption as a child, a war veteran’s natural daughter has triumphed in her fight for possession of his £250,000 home despite arguments put forward by a genealogist and so-called ‘heir hunter’ that the property should be inherited by his long lost brother and other relatives.

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Are You an Equitable Life Policyholder?

Published on: 06 May 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Are You an Equitable Life Policyholder?

It has been 12 years since the collapse of insurer Equitable Life, which had more than a million members. In that time, the financial pieces have been picked up and a compensation pot of £370 million is now available for policyholders who have suffered losses.

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Presumption of Death Now Law

Published on: 09 April 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Anyone who has ever had to deal with the affairs of a person who goes missing and is never seen again will welcome the passing of the Presumption of Death Act, which was passed into law on 26 March 2013.

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Court Rules on Destination of Oscar-Winning Composer’s Manuscripts

Published on: 20 March 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

The resolution of a long-running dispute between the children and carer of Oscar-winning composer, Sir Malcolm Arnold, largely hinged on the interpretation of a brief postcard he wrote to his son.

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Cemetery Commemorative Masonry is VAT Zero-Rated

Published on: 10 March 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Cemetery Commemorative Masonry is VAT Zero-Rated

In a significant decision for cemetery owners, the first-tier tribunal has ruled that urns, vases and plaques put immovably in place to commemorate the dead are zero-rated for the purposes of Value Added Tax (VAT).

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Supreme Court to Rule on Tax Errors by Trustees

Published on: 30 January 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

The Supreme Court is to hear two important cases in which HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are opposing the right of trustees of a settlement to reverse a decision they took which had an unexpected side effect of creating an enhanced tax liability.

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Elderly Man Fleeced by Carer

Published on: 17 January 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

When an elderly stroke victim placed his trust in a carer and made her a co-signatory on his accounts, the result was that she emptied his bank account and stole his life's savings.

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Football Club Employees’ Remuneration Trust Declared Effective

Published on: 22 November 2012 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Football Club Employees’ Remuneration Trust Declared Effective

An employees’ remuneration trust (ERT) established for the benefit of executives, football players and their families was in principle effective to avoid PAYE and NIC liabilities and, ultimately, to reduce inheritance tax, the First-Tier Tribunal has ruled.

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Court Rules on £4 Million Will Dispute

Published on: 07 November 2012 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Court Rules on £4 Million Will Dispute

The niece and nephew of a wealthy restaurant owner have fought off a bid by his 90-year-old sister to strip them of their share of his £4 million fortune. In a case which raised important issues regarding domicile and conflicts between English and Italian law, the Court of Appeal ruled that Piero Curati’s English will remained valid at the date of his death.

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Cemetery Awarded in Will Dispute

Published on: 18 October 2012 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Cemetery Awarded in Will Dispute

Europe’s largest cemetery has been awarded to the partner of a deceased businessman after the Court of Appeal ruled that she and the child they had together are entitled to reasonable provision from his estate.

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Legal Ombudsman Hits Out at Lottery of Unregulated Legal Services Market

Published on: 15 August 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

The Legal Ombudsman has recently published a report indicating that there are more than 130,000 unregulated providers of legal services in the UK. The legal services market is estimated to have 3 million users a year.

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Family Feud Pensioner had Capacity to Make a Valid Will

Published on: 11 July 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

In a decision which vividly reveals that not every frailty or mental infirmity will inhibit the making of a valid will, the High Court has rejected arguments that a pensioner’s health problems and long-standing addiction to prescription drugs meant that she did not have testamentary capacity.

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Best Laid Inheritance Tax Plans Tore Family Apart

Published on: 12 June 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

In a painful illustration of the truism that even the best laid plans depend for their success upon the existence of good will between the parties, a bid by a multi-millionaire businessman to dispose of his wealth in a tax-efficient manner backfired and tore his family apart in a bitter High Court dispute.

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Challenge to Dementia Sufferer's New Will Fails

Published on: 03 June 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

The mental state of an elderly woman who signed a new will at her 88th birthday party and died three years later was at the centre of the argument when her son challenged the will.

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Businessman’s Death-Bed Codicil Upheld

Published on: 06 May 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

The validity of a codicil signed by a businessman in hospital, seven weeks before he died, has been upheld. The High Court ruled that former chartered surveyor Leslie Stolkin had testamentary capacity to execute the codicil, which benefited his long-term cohabitee, and that he had knowledge and understanding of its contents.

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Court Writes Statutory Will for Wealthy Dementia Sufferer

Published on: 08 April 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

In a rare move, the High Court has stepped in to write a statutory will for a wealthy dementia sufferer (F) to ensure a fair division of his assets between his family and loved ones upon his death.

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Woman, 96, ‘Unduly Influenced’ to Change Her Will

Published on: 12 March 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

A will signed by a 96-year-old woman two years before her death has been declared invalid by a judge on grounds that its execution was procured by the undue influence of her eldest son.

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Couple’s Inheritance Tax Plans Saved by Judge

Published on: 10 March 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Couple’s Inheritance Tax Plans Saved by Judge

A retired couple’s inheritance tax planning was very nearly scuppered by a drafting error in a deed by which they intended to transfer their substantial home to their son and daughter-in-law.

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Widow ‘Pressured’ into Changing Will Judge Rules

Published on: 22 January 2013 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Two brothers were denied their rightful inheritance after their frail step-mother was pressured into changing her will by a relative, the High Court has ruled.  The 75-year-old widow’s free will had been ‘worn down’ by her brother-in-law who had exerted undue influence upon her.

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Beneficiary Fails in 12-Year Inheritance Tax Fight

Published on: 06 December 2012 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

A dozen years after a businessman's death, his principal beneficitary is facing a stinging inheritance tax bill after losing a marathon dispute with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The first-tier tribunal accepted that HMRC’s calculations were correct in law and that the deductions sought by the taxpayer were rightly disallowed.

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Parties Bound by Declaration of Tenancy in Common.

Published on: 15 November 2012 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

Parties Bound by Declaration of Tenancy in Common.

Where parties of full age and capacity executed a declaration of trust stating that a residential property was owned by them in equal shares as tenants in common, the burden of proving that the document was ‘a sham’ and did not reflect the parties’ true intentions was a heavy one, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

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Will Ambiguity Resolved

Published on: 25 October 2012 | in categories: Legal Updates | Trusts Wills and Probate Updates

The necessity of a High Court hearing to resolve fundamental ambiguities in a will has underlined the wisdom of testators employing professional will drafters.

The will of Ronald Anthony Allcroft Gibbons was drafted in such a way as it to leave open to question the identity of his intended beneficiaries.

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