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New Supreme Court Judgment sees Charities triumph over the deceased’s daughter in a dispute over Will
After the death of a family member or loved one, it is very difficult to think about what will happen to their assets and whether they left a Will. It is even more difficult when you are provided with a Will that you were not aware of or feel unsure about and you may need advice about this.
Individuals making a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can require complex conditions to be satisfied before it takes effect, but these should be drafted very carefully for the LPA to be effective.
Beneficiaries trying to save inheritance tax by varying a Will must ensure the deed of variation contains a special clause, or it will be ineffective to save tax.
Savers with ISAs should consider making wills, or revising existing wills, to see if surviving spouses or civil partners could benefit from new ISA inheritance laws when they die.
Having no Will can lead to arguments and upset amongst your loved ones, friends and any business partners after you die, just when they are trying to cope with their bereavement. We set out some of the problems that could arise.
Ashley Marshall, Wills and Probate solicitor at Marsden Rawsthorn urges people to consider making a lasting power of attorney (LPA) following the government’s decision to reduce the cost to register by approximately 15%.
The fee to register an LPA was previously £130. This has now been reduced to £110 due to changes in the management of the schemes, including the introduction of new technology and improved efficiency, according to the Ministry of Justice.
Preston and Chorley-based solicitors, Marsden Rawsthorn, warns people about the dangers of DIY Wills, as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) looks to bring Will-writing under legal services regulation. The firm is urging individuals to seek professional advice when preparing a Will, in order to meet legal requirements and avoid financial pitfalls.
"People must be able to write a Will with confidence, not fear," according to a report from the Legal Services Board which calls for Will writers to be regulated to improve standards. A Will is a document in which a person declares their intention as to what should happen to their estate after their death. The Chairman of the Legal Services Board, David Edmonds, said "Making a Will is something everyone should do. It is one of the most important actions that individuals can undertake."
Under current legislation Will writing services can be offered by anyone, even if they have no experience. Research has shown that there are significant numbers of people who receive poor service and poor outcomes from their advisors. Sadly for many, by the time a mistake is realised it may be too late to do anything about it. Under plans unveiled by the LSB Will writing will become a 'reserved activity', meaning that those who provide Will writing and estate administration must be regulated by one of eight approved regulatory bodies.
We welcomed the airing of BBC's Panorama "Wills: The Big Rip Off" on the 9th August 2010, which exposed some of the problems with Will Writers. Marsden Rawsthorn have for some time been warning about the dangers of using unregulated and unqualified Will Writers to prepare your will, and worst still execute probate.
One the attractions of Will Writers is initially the cost seems very attractive. Often, as we saw in Panorama, initial fees quoted are low, in the example yesterday £60. However, once the salesperson visits, this is soon inflated as the Will Writers charge based on the number of clauses that are added, often these are unnecessary and can cause further problems if not they are not written correctly. Some examples we had dealt with include an instance where the client wished to exclude a family member from their will and the will writer used a generic term i.e. children rather than naming the individual beneficiaries. We have also seen examples where beneficiaries cannot be indentified as they are members of a class, for example, grandchildren whenever born, which would prevent distribution of the estate until no further grandchildren could possibly be born. Often tying up the estate for many years.
Made the process easy. Thorough but clear explanations given in a relaxed environment. - Michael Mercer
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