Wills And Probate Articles
Lawyers Vicky Jones and Christian Jenkins support local Leicestershire charity LOROS at the Market Harborough Innovation Centre
A recent article in the Times newspaper stated that five prosecutions a week are being brought due to alleged abuse through a Lasting Power of Attorney. They also quoted a figure of over 2,000 cases a year being investigated. But although this sounds high, it is suspected that 1 in 6 Lasting Powers of Attorney will be abused.
A landmark ruling in a contentious probate case has recently been reported upon by Gordon Exall, Barrister, Zenith Chambers, Leeds & Hardwicke, London. The case, in which a ‘limitation amnesty’ was agreed between parties in reference to a claim that the monies left on trust by her late husband, were not sufficient to meet her needs, has hit the legal press following a statement in the ruling by Mr. Justice Mostyn.
On the 6th November 2018, the government reintroduced the idea of a “banded” probate court fee; charging those with a lower estate value a lower amount than those with a higher estate value. The date for these increases was announced as the 1st April 2019, and those of us making applications were working harder than ever to ensure applications were in before this date.
The new year is full of resolutions and everyone is keen to get themselves organised and cross off jobs they have been putting off. An important one that doesn't take a lot of effort and is extremely worthwhile going is getting your will written if it isn’t already.
The second attack against government’s plans to introduce a sliding scale for probate fees has been lobbied by a parliamentary committee, laying claim that the Lord Chancellor is acting beyond his powers with the new strategy.
The Government have posted a “Written Statement to Parliament”, announcing a change to the Probate Fee System from a simple fee of £155 (with solicitors), or £215 (without solicitors), to a banded system. This system was proposed last year, and a petition opposing it amassed 38,425 signatures, before being closed due to the upcoming general election. It seems this change has now been approved
You may have heard the terms “Will” and “Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)”, or “Executor” and “Attorney” be used interchangeably, but they are actually very different things. It is important to distinguish between them, as they are both significant documents that provide for your wishes at different stages of your life.
Have you ever thought about the different words used to describe death? I have heard lots of expressions used, from “passed away” and “lost” all the way to “kicked the bucket” and “popped their clogs”. People often use these phrases to avoid saying the word “death” in the hope it will make the idea more palatable, or easier to comprehend.
The recent case regarding an unmarried mother of four’s right to receive this allowance has highlighted the difference in the rights of cohabiting, unmarried couples compared to those of couples who are married or in a civil partnership.
A recent announcement means that judges will no longer have to be consulted to withdraw the treatment of a minimally conscious patient if both the patients’ family and the patient’s medical professionals are all in agreement. This decision has been a long time coming with people both for and against the decision.
An ‘Incapacity Crisis’ alert has recently been sounded by the organisation ‘Solicitors for the Elderly’ (SFE) after they published the findings of a study commissioned to research the gap between the volume of people suffering with mental incapacity and the number of people who have created a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Who to choose as an Executor in your Will is an important decision. You need to choose ideally 2 or more people who you trust to follow the instructions laid out in your Will (although in some cases you can have only one executor). These people need to be able to deal with disagreements that may arise and, if necessary, they need to be able to find fair solutions to any such problems.
Are you busy with young children and keep putting off making a Will?
If the answer to this question is yes, then you are not alone. Many parents of young children put off making a Will for years. It is of course expected that we will all live a long life, into retirement, enjoying the company of our children and grandchildren. However, unfortunately this is not always the case.
A LAW firm which has branches across Leicestershire has raised more than £6,000 for charity this year after taking part in a will-writing campaign which asks solicitors to write wills for local people and instead, ask only for a voluntary donation. Lawson-West Solicitors Ltd, which has branches in Leicester on Meridian Business Park, Market Harborough and Wigston have taken part in the annual Will Aid scheme and raised an impressive £6,120 in the month-long fundraiser.