Contact Law blog

Wills and probate

Cat-lover who continued to claim benefits after inheriting £50,000 cleared of fraud

Yesterday, a cat-loving woman was cleared of four charges of making false statements or concealing her true financial capital to obtain £22,000 in benefits, between 2005 and 2011, at Gloucester Magistrates Court.

According to the Daily Mail, she was acquitted even though she appeared to have hidden a £50,000 inheritance from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and her local council, while continuing to claim pension credits.

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Estate left to nephew despite late art historian’s wishes

The nephew of a deceased art historian has won a hearing at the Court of Appeal regarding the inheritance of a property worth £800,000, despite a witness statement by the historian saying his nephew “would be the last person that I would leave the house to”, according to The Telegraph.

William Taylor, 90, believed Roger Taylor, his nephew, would spend all the money if he inherited the property, so wanted to donate £650,000 of his £1m estate to charity.

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Bee Gees’ member’s family fears inheritance dispute with mother of love child

On Sunday the 20th of May Robin Gibb, a member of the Bee Gees, died from liver and colon cancer. Many are now curious how his assets will be divided.

The Daily Mail reports that the singer had an open relationship with his wife Dwina, with whom he had three children. One of the women Gibb had been involved with was the couple’s former housekeeper, Claire Yang, and the two had a child together. (more…)

Sibling rivalry highlights major inheritance issue

Adoption has long been a sensitive subject, with people’s lives and emotions at the fore. A recent case, though, has dramatically highlighted one of the potential flaws in the system.

Sometimes, children become part of a family without being officially adopted. A non-biological family may consider their new member to be as dear to them as their biological offspring. However, in the absence of a properly executed will, a child that has not been adopted does not have any inheritance rights. (more…)

Partner of dead TV presenter loses legal battle for inheritance

The homosexual partner of the late TV presenter Timothy Hadcock-MacKay has lost his legal battle against the executors of the deceased’s will.

Alexander Torquil Mackenzie-Buist told the Court of Appeal that the executors had “eroded” the value of Hadcock-MacKay’s estate and were in danger of leaving him with nothing. However, the court said Buist’s request to have the executors replaced had “no prospect of success” and therefore refused him permission to continue the claim in court. (more…)

Legal Ombudsman warns consumers ‘ripped off’ by unregulated will writers

The first annual report by the chief Legal Ombudsman, Adam Sampson, has revealed that a high number of consumers are calling his organisation to complain about the legal services they have received from non-regulated providers.

In particular, thousands of consumers have been “ripped off” by unregulated will writers, resulting in invalid wills and high costs for unprofessional services. (more…)

Budget 2011: Inheritance tax reforms to encourage charitable legacies

George Osborne announced £540m worth of tax breaks for charities during his Budget 2011 speech on 23 March. The tax breaks include inheritance tax reforms aimed at encouraging people to leave 10% of their estate to charities.

The Chancellor said his goal is for it to become the norm for every person to leave a charitable legacy in their will when they die. In order to encourage people to do this, he is proposing to reduce the inheritance tax levy on the estates of those who do from 40% to 36%. (more…)

Number of adults without a will rises to 30 million

The number of adults in the UK without a will has risen to 30 million, an increase from 28 million in 2009. This is despite 92% of adults having a clear idea of who they would like to inherit from their estate. (more…)

Does every estate need a grant of probate?

Whether or not an estate needs a grant of probate will depend on the value of the assets that make up that estate. Generally, small estates that have a value of less than £5,000 and where all the tangible assets such as property are jointly owned with someone else, probate will not be needed. You should still check with an experienced wills and probate solicitor to ensure you do not have to fulfill any obligations.
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What formalities follow the death of a person?

When someone dies what you do afterwards depends on the circumstances surrounding their death. A death normally needs to be registered within five days. Usually the best course of action when registering a death is to go to the registry office in the area in which the person died. When registering a death you need to take the death certificate signed by the doctor and other documents such as a birth certificate, or marriage certificate, if they are available. A family law solicitor can explain the procedures you must follow when someone dies. (more…)

Wills and probate Image

Whether you are looking to prepare a will, or you have been elected executor of another person’s will, you will no doubt be looking for legal advice. In this section of our blog, we cover common questions about wills and probate law in the UK. We also cover related issues to do with estate planning, such as living wills, advance decisions, powers of attorney, trusts and inheritance tax planning. And, for executors, we cover the laws of intestacy, the process of probate and contested probate.

Occasionally issues about wills and probate law arise in the news and media. We explore those issues that affect UK and EU citizens, such as changes to inheritance tax laws and pension schemes.

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