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Wills news articles

Wills: Government refuses to regulate will-writing

The government has decided not to regulate will-writing, despite recommendations by the Legal Services Board’s (LSB) to do so. The LSB’s recommendation was published in February, following lengthy research by the Legal Services Consumer Panel and a long consultation in which the majority of the professional associations supported the proposal to tighten regulation of will-writers. The government has decided not to implement the LSB’s suggestion to amend the Legal Services Act even though the Lord Chancellor acknowledged that consumers are harmed by poor practices within the will-writing field, and that regulation might solve some of the problems. Instead the Lord Chancellor mentioned alternatives for unregulated will-writers such as voluntary regulation, extra guidance, codes of practice, and education of consumers. LSB Chairman David Edmonds said he was “disappointed” by the government’s decision and Elisabeth Davies, Chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, said the decision is “terrible news for consumers and …Read More

Wills: Are you using the Certainty Will Register yet?

What’s the point of making a will for your client if their loved ones don’t know where to find it when they die?  In a recent survey, 67% of people did not know where to find their parents’ wills.  Every firm I know holds wills of people who have died – wills that were never collected by the deceased person’s family. These are all lost opportunities for firms who have prepared wills, probably at a loss. Changing circumstances, moving to another area or simply the passage of time can sometimes make it difficult for beneficiaries to locate a will.  And then, of course, there are the people who deliberately “lose” wills  to achieve a more favourable result for themselves (for example, someone who has been “cut out” of a will). The solution is to register your clients’ wills on the Certainty National Will Register.  The idea is similar to the …Read More

Wills: Confusion over lifetime gifts made to beneficiaries of a will

The recent case of Kloosman v Aylen highlights the confusion that can arise when lifetime gifts are given to the same people who are due to benefit under a will. In September 2007, Richard Frost made a will that divided his estate into thirds; one third for his daughter Linda, one third for his daughter Susan and the remaining third for his son and grandchildren. Soon after making the will, Mr Frost sold his London house for £350,000 and moved in with his daughter Linda.  A few weeks later, knowing he was dying of cancer, he made cash gifts of £100,000 each to Linda and Susan. When Mr Frost died in March 2008, his estate consisted of the remaining £137,000 from the sale of his house. The question was, had Mr Frost intended the gifts to be advance payment to Linda and Susan from their thirds?  Or did he want them each to inherit a third of the remaining £137,000 in addition to the £100,000 they had …Read More

Wills GUEST BLOG: When is a testamentary capacity report needed?

My Practice receives a lot of enquiries about Mental Capacity Reports but less instructions.  Clients do not seem to understand their value and perhaps the same is true for some solicitors.  Yet on a regular basis, my elderly psychiatrist colleagues charge many thousands of pounds to sift through the medical records of deceased people, whose wills are being contested, with no guarantee of any conclusion being reachable. In contrast an assessment done specifically to address the testamentary capacity of someone about to make a will is a relatively easy exercise and a brief report from a psychiatrist can be used after death as much clearer evidence, especially if it addresses the specific issues which are likely to be controversial. As with any instruction the psychiatrist is looking for the questions the solicitor wants answered, but also what, if any, controversial issue there are in the case.  These could relate to …Read More