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Beware not all those offering to write your Will are what they seem!

I don’t want to be morbid but when you make a Will, providing it’s valid, it will speak from your death. Too late for you to do anything about it.

If you or the person writing your Will gets it wrong and you die it’s too late. If the Will fails the Rules of Intestacy (as though you had died without making a Will) will apply or your loved ones will be left with an expensive fix. Potentially thousands of pounds from your estate to put things right.

If you employ someone to write your Will, face to face, by filling in a form, on the phone or online make sure they are qualified and have professional indemnity insurance (a minimum of two million pounds). Ask to see evidence of their qualifications and a Certificate of Insurance. Then if things go wrong your family will have somewhere to seek recompense.

Generally those qualified to write Wills are Solicitors (registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority), Legal Executives members of CILEx, Members of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and professional Will Writers members of the Society of Will Writers (SWW) or the Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW).

You have been warned. Contact us for advice.

Is it possible to change someone’s Will after they have died?

Why would anyone want to do this, surely a Last Will and Testament is just that?

There are many reasons, here are a few –

  • family circumstances may have changed since the Will was written
  • the Will is invalid or fails when submitted for probate (when the deceased person would be deemed to have died intestate (i. e. without a Will))
  • the Will is incorrectly or incompletely administered
  • activities called for in the Will have not been enacted
  • the beneficiaries simply want to pass their due inheritance directly someone else.

The answer is the Will (or intestacy if there was no valid Will) can be varied by the agreement of all the parties within the two years following the death.   The parties would need to execute a Deed (or Instrument) of Variation.

But remember time is of the essence.   Contact us for more information.

Prepaid Funeral Plans – How do you select a plan provider?

Here are some things to consider before deciding on your Funeral Plan:

Low prices versus:

– A cast-iron guarantee of security

– A properly regulated supplier; and

– THE PLAN WHICH IS THE BEST FOR YOU?

Tips –

  1. Check to see if the funeral director is appointed from day one and GUARANTEES to carry out the funeral and there will NEVER be more to pay for his services however far into the future they are required and how the plan combats inflation.
  2.  Is the firm regulated by The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA)? Apart from maintaining standards, FPA membership means that if a member firm gets into trouble, the other members will step in to deal with the funerals.
  3. If the plan is Trust based DEMAND to see the latest trust accounts. Ensure the assets exceed the liabilities (this is compulsory for FPA members).

Take advice, check out all the differences and decide which is the BEST overall plan for you.

There are some very good funeral plan providers – we think the plan we offer is provided by one of them – the plans are called “GUARANTEED” for a reason.

Contact us for more information.

Testamentary Freedom

In English law you are free in your Will to leave your assets to whomsoever you like subject to providing for those who are dependent on you, normally your partner and minor children. However this principle has been challenged in court. The case known as Ilott vs Mitson that began in 2007 has recently been adjudicated on by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.

Mrs Jackson died leaving her £486,000 estate to the Blue Cross, RSPB and RSPCA charities.  Her daughter, Heather Ilott, from whom she was estranged for 26 years brought a claim that she should be entitled to money from her mother’s estate.

In 2007, a County Court ruled that Ilott should receive £50,000 from her deceased mother’s estate. Mrs Ilott appealed and was eventually awarded £163,000 by the Court of Appeal in 2015. The three charities appealed this decision.

After a decade of litigation, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously this month in favour of the three charities, stating that the County Court judge had made the correct decision on the grounds of testamentary freedom in 2007.  It thereby restored his original order awarding Mrs Ilott £50,000.

This case is an important victory for the Charities as it would otherwise have set a precedent for them since they benefit hugely from charitable legacies in Wills.

What would happen to your business if you were to die?

No one wants to think about their own mortality but if you don’t then those you care for may suffer.

Making a Will is important anyway but if you have an interest in a business it’s even more important. Since, in addition to your family’s interests you may have fellow investors or partners interests to consider as well. In the extreme case your fellow shareholders could find your spouse or partner as a shareholder contributing nothing at all to the running or development of the business.

What happens to your business on your death depends on its legal structure:

  1. If you are a sole trader you can gift the business in your Will to whomsoever you wish, it could be to a son or daughter or someone else already working in the business.
  1. If you are in a partnership with others (and there is no partnership agreement in place) the law says that the partnership is dissolved on the death of one of the partners. The liability for your share of any debts and obligations of the partnership will pass to your estate.
  1. If you are a shareholder in a limited company (and there is no shareholder agreement in place) then subject to the Article of Association on your death your shares in the company will pass i) in accordance with your Will if you have left one; or otherwise

i)   in accordance with your Will if you have left one; or otherwise

ii)  in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

In the third case it is essential that the company puts a shareholder’s agreement and insurance in place. This will ensure that shares can be bought back and that the business can continue after the death of a shareholder.

Contact us for more information.

How can we help?

Call us today on 01908 866541
or send us an email