WILLS & PROBATE SERVICES

A Question of Intestacy

Imagine this situation – a parent has written a Will leaving their estate to their 2 children in equal shares. Then after doing this, they make a gift of a substantial sum of money to the younger sibling to help them buy a house. If the parent then dies without making a similar gift to the older child, do we end up with an imbalance in the estate – would/should the older sibling expect to receive more from the estate to balance up the lifetime gift to their sibling? This is where the double portions rule is likely to be effective.

Double Portions – what are they and how might they affect my estate?

Imagine this situation – a parent has written a Will leaving their estate to their 2 children in equal shares. Then after doing this, they make a gift of a substantial sum of money to the younger sibling to help them buy a house. If the parent then dies without making a similar gift to the older child, do we end up with an imbalance in the estate – would/should the older sibling expect to receive more from the estate to balance up the lifetime gift to their sibling? This is where the double portions rule is likely to be effective.

Will you, or won’t you?

It is a number that is at an all-time high. More than 31 million people in the UK now do not have a Will, a number that has been rising over the last decade. But if you fail to make a Will and keep it updated, all your legacy will be is stress and worry for your loved ones, and at a time they are grieving and least able to cope with it.

Dying intestate – without a Will – also means that your belongings may not be dealt with in a way that you would want.

When Probate gets complicated…

Warning – if you are hoping this is a juicy tale of battling beneficiaries or a feuding family, you may be disappointed! However if you are looking for a poorly drafted will leading to some extensive family tree investigation, then read on! This is a cautionary tale of the perils of not keeping your Will reviewed and updated. How things can go wrong even if there is no dispute. The facts are those of a real estate I am currently dealing with, but anonymised.

Legal changes to Funeral Planning

A recent change in the law, spotted by one of our Wills and Probate Solicitors in Today’s Wills and Probate, has outlined new compliance standards for those in the Funeral Plans sector. The move, which will see new regimes set in place by the Financial Conduct Authority, will change the way funeral planners market themselves, set out plans with customers and outlaw the use of commission.

Will Writing: The Dangers Of Free Will Templates, DIY, & Unqualified Drafters

As this area of law often sees people using legal services during an emotional time in their lives (being terminally ill or having lost a loved one for example) the importance of getting things right, and of being sensitive to the circumstances could not be higher for service providers.

Where There’s a Will…

A couple of weeks ago, our attention was drawn to a survey conducted by Exizent. The survey found that 23% of people die without a Will and most do not leave their affairs in order; 71% of solicitors said that at least half of their clients died without putting their affairs in order; and 95% of probate professionals rely either entirely or somewhat on information from their clients to verify assets and liabilities.

Digital Assets and Social Media

More than one billion people are active on Facebook with younger people being more likely to have several different social media accounts. Social media is a part of our lives and many of us spend hours uploading photos and chatting with friends and family. Without instructions your family will not know how you would like these accounts to be dealt with should the worst happen, and they could have problems accessing your accounts and personal photos. This could mean that precious family photos and memories end up being lost.