Wills, Trusts and Probate

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It's natural to want to provide for your children after you have gone. Even if we haven't amassed a vast fortune that would qualify us for inclusion in The Sunday Times Rich List, most of us will still want our children to benefit from all our hard work. To ensure that our wishes are carried out the conscientious among us make a will specifying precisely how our assets are to be distributed on our death. However, even the best laid plans go awry and...

People often confuse the terms “Mutual Will” and “Mirror Will”. However, in law they are two very different things and it is important to be precise. So what is the difference between a mirror will and a mutual will? A mirror will This is a will that simply “mirrors” another will. They are generally made by couples whose wills are very similar.  A common scenario is a wife leaving everything to her husband and the husband leaving everything to his wife. On the death of the survivor the...

Can a mistake in a will be corrected? There are legal steps available to correct a mistake in a will, but the options are limited. Here is a quick summary of the help that might be available if you find you have lost out as a result of a mistake in a will. A mistake in a will relating to 'knowledge and approval' You may be able to establish that the maker of the will did not 'know and approve' the contents of the will....

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....