Wills & Probate
Hylton-Potts - London Based Law Firm Helping People Across the UK since 1999
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[audio:04_wills_and_probate.mp3|titles=Wills and Probate|artists=Rodney Hylton-Potts]
Will and Probate lawyers
FIXED FEES: Will £125 inc. VAT
LIVING WILL £100 + VAT
PROBATE £950 + VAT
Lasting Power of Attorney- Property and Personal Welfare : £495 plus VAT
We can make a straightforward Will for £125 plus VAT, or £195 including VAT for a couple. We can advise on tax saving devices and the creation of family trusts.
We can help you obtain probate or wind up an estate, at a fraction of the cost charged by solicitors and banks. We charge a fixed fee of £950 + VAT .
Better, cheaper and faster than solicitors. For more information or a free legal opinion telephone 020-7381-8111 or email [email protected].
We offer a fast and efficient service and are committed to a high level of client satisfaction.
Why you need a plan
Your own will and estate plan enables you and your family to answer such questions as:
- Who will look after my children if both my partner and I die prematurely?
- How can I prevent my children inheriting too much too young?
- How can I protect my assets if one of my children divorces?
- What if my partner remarries after my death – will my children’s inheritance be protected?
- How can I be confident that my partner will be properly cared for when I am gone? Does it make a difference if we are not married?
- Have I done everything I can to minimise the inheritance tax burden on my family?
- What happens if I become too ill to make important decisions?
- How can I legally make decisions on behalf of my parents if they are no longer able to make those decisions for themselves?
Consult the expert. Over 25 years experience.
020 7381 8111 or e-mail [email protected]
Attacking a Will
If you feel a will has been signed resulting from duress undue influence or lack of capacity, look no further. We are experts of this and can give you a free opinion by telephone or email.
Family provision for an adult child
The majority of parents with children will wish to ensure that their property ultimately benefits the next generation. Most parents want to be ‘fair’, which usually means each child taking an equal share. Sometimes, however, a parent wants to give one child a greater share than his siblings, or excludes one or all of the children altogether.
The Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Ilott v Mitson is important.
When Mrs Jackson died in 2004, she had been long estranged from her daughter, Mrs Ilott, aged 50. Mrs Ilott was not mentioned in the will, which left the estate to charity. Mrs Jackson left a letter to her executors explaining why she was leaving nothing to her estranged daughter. Nevertheless, Mrs Ilott (who was living on state benefits) claimed ‘reasonable provision’ from the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975.
The county court judge agreed that Mrs Jackson’s will did not make reasonable provision for her daughter and awarded her £50,000 – a little over ten per cent of the estate. The Court of Appeal held that the judge had applied the correct test, and that they would not interfere with his decision.
Importantly, the Court of Appeal did not rule that it will always, or normally, be reasonable for a parent to provide by will for their adult child, any more than the previous landmark cases ruled that it is always, or normally, reasonable for a parent to leave him or her nothing.
The Court of Appeal also noted that parliament deliberately included children over 21 among the categories of individuals entitled to claim under the 1975 Act, even if not financially dependent on the deceased.
This decision undoubtedly poses problems for a testator who wants to leave his child little or nothing from his estate. One useful strategy is to make a will containing a modest legacy for the child together with a forfeiture clause. This will not prevent the child claiming under the 1975 Act but makes his risks significantly higher. It means if they make a claim and fail, they get nothing.
Objectively, is reduced (or no) provision for this child in this will reasonable? Has he or she already received significant lifetime gifts? Does he have other financial resources available?
Estates with an international dimension often raise issues as to whether the children of the deceased have a legal right to inherit notwithstanding the terms of the will and the intentions of the deceased. In some foreign jurisdictions, it is impossible to completely disinherit children.
One such estate came before the High Court in May 2011: Morris v Davies.
The claimant was the executor of a British citizen who lived in Belgium and France from 2001 until his death in 2008. He sought probate of the deceased’s will; various family members opposed this, claiming that the deceased was domiciled in Belgium, that Belgian compulsory inheritance rules applied, that the will was invalid, and that Belgian intestacy rules operated. At a case management conference the Master directed that the question of the deceased’s domicile be tried as a preliminary issue. A trial in the Belgian court was scheduled before the hearing on domicile.
The executor obtained an anti-suit injunction precluding the defendants from proceeding in either Belgium or France before the preliminary issue had been heard in England.
- The foreign court’s findings would be relevant only after the English court had determined the issue of domicile, and there would still need to be a trial of that issue in England
- it would not deprive the defendants of any legitimate advantages in the foreign proceedings; and
- it would protect the process of the English court from misuse.
The judge,, concluded that “the wide-ranging nature of the Belgian proceedings at present seem to me to be designed at the very least to enable… the second defendant to reduce to her own possession and for her own benefit some of the deceased’s assets in advance of the hearing of the preliminary issue in England… Given that the present defendants had submitted to the hearing of that issue and had allowed costs to be incurred, in my judgment such conduct is vexations and oppressive.”
If you have a problem or an issue, in relation to drafting a will which does not provide for your children equally, or if you are a child whose parent has died, without giving you equal provision with your siblings, contact the experts – For more information or a free legal opinion telephone 020-7381-8111 or email [email protected].
You may think that informally appointing someone to take over a digital asset on your death is the answer but it will have no legal effect. Equally of no legal effect are services that store your passwords and last wishes like Entrustet.com and LegacyLocker.com. Legacy Locker specifically warns by email those you seek to appoint that ‘it is not legally binding’ because ‘ownership of any electronic rights related to the internet such as intellectual property, domain names, or marketing affiliation agreements, cannot be granted or transferred through Legacy Locker’. This is because the law dictates who is entitled to your assets, including your digital assets, and the only way to impose your wish above the law is through a Will, or Codicil to a Will. A friend who acts, albeit innocently, on your informal wishes can be sued by the next of kin entitled to your estate. We ensure you are able to make such wishes binding and effective after you pass away.
Most cost-effective solution is Mydigitalexecutor.co.uk, with which, by the way, we have no connection
They will contact all accounts on your registration to put the service owners under formal notice that you have set out legally enforceable rights over the accounts, put on record their contact details to them and require contact on any future application to them over posthumous management of the account.
There is no extra charge from us for the service.