Trust, Wills and Probate

  • Assessing Mental Capacity - Guidance

    One of the conditions which must be satisfied for a will to be valid is that the person making it must be of sound mind. With an ageing population, cases involving disputes over a testator’s mental capacity are becoming more common – it is...
  • Asset Valuation Problems - Chattels

    When dealing with an estate, an increasing problem for executors is the valuation of assets in the form of the chattels of the deceased. In probate terminology, chattels are the ‘everyday’ assets such as furniture and ordinary possessions, as...
  • CGT and Shares in Estates Valuation Trap

    In the UK, there are quite generous exemptions from Inheritance Tax (IHT) which apply to business assets. One problem with making use of such exemptions is the effect this may have on the subsequent value of the relevant assets for Capital Gains Tax (CGT)...
  • Changing Wills For Benefit

    A will expresses the final wishes of the deceased person and it is commonly thought that a will is irrevocable after death. However, provided everyone agrees, it is normally possible to vary a will provided that the application is made within two years of...
  • Cohabitees and Death - Who Can Claim?

    When one member of a cohabiting couple dies, it can come as an unpleasant surprise to the bereaved partner to discover that not all of their late partner’s estate will pass to them in the absence of a will. It is only when this happens that many people...
  • Dealing With an Insolvent Estate

    One of the rules that applies to the administration of estates is that whilst a person appointed as executor under a will can refuse to accept the appointment, once an executor ‘intermeddles’ in the estate, in principle he or she cannot then...
  • Estates - What Happens if Values Fall?

    One of the biggest problems now facing executors is that as the recession progresses, most assets, other than cash, are falling in value, which can mean that the value of an estate for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes is greater than the market value later on....
  • Heir Hunters - Take Advice!

    Until the recent publicity afforded by television shows on the subject, many people might not have realised that ‘heir tracing’ companies exist, let alone that they research ‘promising’ estates by looking at public records and then...
  • Helping Your Executors

    Being an executor is a demanding job at the best of times and a task that is made all the more difficult when the deceased has not given proper thought to the problems their executors will face. Here are some of the things you can do to make sure your...
  • How do I Leave Money to Charity in My Will?

    It's easy to include a charity in your will, but you should always consult your solicitor before you write or change your will  to be sure it reflects your exact intentions and that you understand its implications. Before you call your adviser, take a...
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney

    In October 2007 there was a fundamental change on the way in the way powers of attorney are created and the powers that they can give attorneys, when the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) was replaced by the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). EPAs are no...
  • Making Your Will - Guidance

    It is easy to keep putting off making a will. However, having a valid will is the only way to guarantee that your estate goes to who you want it to when you die. If a person dies having made a will, the distribution of their estate is normally...
  • The Unclaimed Assets Register

    Many people have assets which they have forgotten about – old bank accounts, shares or premium bonds for example. If you think you or a relative may have lost track of some of their assets a search of the register (which costs £25) may be...
  • What Happens on Intestacy?

    In 2013 the Government introduced the  Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Bill into the House of Lords. It reached the committee stage in March 2014. This will, when passed into law, Normal 0 false false false ...
  • What is a Trust?

    A trust comes into effect when a ‘settlor’ places money, land or other assets in the hands of trustees. The trustees are the legal owners of the property but are obliged to hold and manage the property for the benefit of a person or a group of...
  • Who is Under the Influence?

    The law recognises that some people (such as solicitors or accountants) have a high degree of influence over other people (their clients), since clients hire their professional advisers for the specific purpose of giving advice. However, it is not normally...