Go to Top

Blog Archives

Tag Archives: probate in Northampton

Will disputes: What are suspicious circumstances?

One of the grounds commonly used to contest a will is that the testator didn’t know or approve the contents of their will.  This is called “want of knowledge and approval”. The court will look at all of the ‘suspicious’ circumstances in connection with the disputed will when dealing with want of knowledge and approval allegations. Here are 7 things to look out for, which could be considered ‘suspicious’: The Will is homemade and no professional advice has been sought; The Will contains spelling mistakes and/or untrue statements and/or uses language which would not have been used or understood by the testator; The Will contains a radical change in dispositions made without a rational explanation and/or generally the dispositions cannot be rationally explained; The relationship of the beneficiary to the testator was not close; The witnesses to the Will were not sufficiently independent; There is evidence of the beneficiary having …Read More

Probate: What happens when beneficiaries want to remove an executor or administrator?

I often come across cases where personal representatives and beneficiaries don’t get on and one party wants to remove another.  Can this be done after an executor or administrator has obtained a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration? The short answer is yes, but there needs to be a very good reason! An application to remove or substitute a personal representative is usually brought under s50 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985.  The court will then consider the welfare of the beneficiaries. Removal applications are expensive and the court will therefore want to see a compelling reason for the removal, together with evidence that that no alternative means of resolving the dispute exists. The person making the removal application will need to show that the estate cannot be properly administered for the benefit of the beneficiaries in the existing situation.  Applications based on personal friction, which do not impede …Read More

Will disputes: Children of abusive father unsuccessfully challenge his will

This is a sad case involving the children of wealthy businessman Alfred Stewart, who died in 2008. His children, Garry, Calum, Linden and Leonie, claimed Mr Stewart was an abusive sexual predator.  In 2005 he made a will that left his £6.7 million estate to charity, completely excluding his four children. The children raised an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh to set aside their father’s 2005 will (and later amendments to it) on the basis that he was paranoid and delusional when he made his will. The court heard evidence that Mr Stewart was verbally and physically abusive to his children and his first wife, Lynne Buchan.  There was also evidence that he propositioned other women and sexually abused a child from about the age of four. Psychiatrists also told the court that Mr Stewart had a paranoid personality disorder. The judge, Lord Brailsford, said, “He seems to have been sexually …Read More

Probate: What do your clients want to pass on to the next generation when they die?

A survey by CPJ Field & Co funeral directors asked people what they would like to pass on to others when they die.  The people surveyed were split into two age groups; 18-44 and 45+ The older group had a fairly traditional view of items to pass on to their loved ones, including photos, jewellery, property and ornaments. The younger group favoured less tangible legacies such as recipes and family traditions, although they also said they’d want to leave jewellery and photos. By Karen Shakespeare, 16th May 2013.

Health and Wealth: What is on your client’s bucket list?

Having reached the age where life begins, I’ve become more aware of my life’s achievements and the things I still want to accomplish.  I was therefore interested to read the results of a recent survey carried out by a funeral director (CPJ Field & Co) which revealed the most popular  things people want to do before they die. The results are split into two age groups; 18-44 and 45+.  The subtle differences between the two groups is fascinating. Both groups listed travel as their main goal and seeing their children settled as their second highest priority. The lists then start to differ.  The next two most important goals for 18-44 year olds is to get married and have children.  Understandably, these two aspirations don’t feature at all for the 45+ group.  They’ve already been there, done that! For the over 45 year olds, it seems that fitting a few fun …Read More

Probate: Consultation begins on inheritance and trusts bill

The government has issued a draft Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Bill based on recommendations published by the Law Commission in December 2011.  The draft bill includes the following provisions: Intestacy Rules – removal of life interest trust As things stand, if the deceased leaves a spouse and children, the surviving spouse receives only the first £250,000 of the estate. The remainder is split in two, with half going to the deceased’s children outright and the other half going to the children when the surviving spouse dies (a life interest trust). Under the new bill, the surviving spouse gets the £250,000 statutory legacy, the deceased’s personal chattels and half the balance of the remaining estate outright. Children or other descendants share the other half of the balance. Intestacy rules – removal of parents and siblings At the moment, if the deceased had no children, and the estate is worth more than …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