Disinheritance – a quick guide to cutting someone out of your Will

The message is slowly starting to get through to the public – making a will is an important life decision that could save your relatives a great deal of heartache once you’ve gone. You can express your wishes, designate who gets what, and that’s the end of it. Or is it? Legal research has reported that the number of disputed wills has shot up in the last couple of years, from 116 in 2015 to 158 in 2016. That may not seem like a high number, but it represents nearly…

Can I leave assets to a child in my Will?

Clients tend to leave money under their Will for children or grandchildren. However, especially where the children are very young or the sums are large, we are often asked how this works in practice. Wills can be structured to prevent children from accessing large amounts of money at too young an age, whilst still ensuring that living expenses and education costs can be met. When should a child inherit? The answer to this will depend greatly in each personal situation. The ages and personalities of the children, asset values, and…

Challenging times: what happens when family is cut out of the will?

High profile inheritance disputes follow celebrities and the super-rich as surely as night follows day, but such challenges are becoming increasingly common, whatever the values involved. Some of the names to have made headlines include the artist Salvador Dali, whose body was exhumed last year for a DNA test after a woman claimed to be his daughter and entitled to a share of his $1bn estate. Former South African President Nelson Mandela left the bulk of his estate to his current wife, but his late ex-wife Winnie challenged the will,…

Inheritance tax – could the rising value of houses push more ordinary people into the inheritance tax bracket?

The last thing you want to think about when you’re mourning the passing of a loved one is divvying up the estate (including the taxman’s cut). However, because of the rise in value of property in the UK, more people are finding that they fall into the inheritance tax bracket, and are getting hit with an inheritance tax bill they were not expecting. What is inheritance tax? It’s exactly what it says – a tax on the estate (including property, possessions and any money) of a deceased person. Thresholds are…

What does intestate mean for you?

October 2014 saw the biggest changes in probate law’s history come into effect. While the overhaul meant no real difference to those with minimal assets, for the partners of those who died without making a will and who have more assets, it meant significant change. In the cases where a Will is involved, the deceased’s Executors have the legal power to distribute their estate according to the deceased’s instructions. However, in the case of intestacy, the landscape is vastly more complicated. Who can Inherit? Under the rules of Intestacy, only…

A quick guide to probate

Dealing with the death of a loved one is hard enough. However, there are still practical considerations to deal with, including making sure that the last wishes of the deceased are taken care of. If a person has written a Will then it will be up to the executor to make sure those wishes are carried out according to the specifications of the Will (as long as it is correctly completed in accordance with the law). To do this, an executor will need to obtain a Grant of Probate. This will let…

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way

When thinking of making a will, the idea of a Victorian lawyer taking down the last instructions at the bedside still springs to mind for many people. And the 19th century lawyer would find things pretty much as they were if they time travelled to 2017, but a major change to how people can say what should happen after their death is likely to happen soon. If the proposals from the Law Commission get the go ahead, the law is likely to catch up with technology, and in future we…

Applying for Probate

Dealing with death is never an easy thing to do. However, it is important to have the essentials in place from the outset to ensure that the process of obtaining probate is as smooth as possible. Probate is the process of proving a Will by the executors who are identified in the Will and more specifically, gives the people who are dealing with the estate the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets. Obtaining probate when there is a Will is by way of Grant of Probate, also commonly…

What is the Residential Nil Rate Band? (RNRB)

From 6 April 2017, the Residential Nil Rate Band (RNRB) will be available for residences inherited by direct descendants (see below) in addition to the existing Nil-Rate Band (NRB) which is currently £325,000. From 2017/18 the RNRB will be phased in, at this point the sum which will be able to be claimed is £100,000, increasing by £25,000 each year until 2020/21 when it reaches £175,000. The current rate of NRB will be frozen at £325,000.00 during this period. As with the NRB, any unused RNRB can be transferred to…

Lasting power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone that you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lack mental capacity or if you no longer wish to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of LPA, for financial decisions and for health and welfare decisions. The criteria for someone wishing to make an LPA for both types of LPAs are quite straightforward, they must be any person aged 18 or over and the person wishing to make an LPA must…

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