The Practical Lawyer

Wills, probate and administration

Intestacy – statutory legacies

From 1 February 2009 the statutory legacies due to a surviving spouse or civil partner of an intestate will increase. Where the intestate leaves a spouse and children, the spouse’s legacy will be £250,000 (up from £125,000).

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Letter of wishes – disclosure

The defining character of a letter of wishes in relation to a family discretionary trust is that it contains material that the settlor wants the trustee to take into account when exercising their discretionary powers, that is, to serve what is an inherently confidential process.

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Probate – Practice Advice Service

A reminder that the Law Society’s Practice Advice Service offers assistance with probate queries, including specialist cost-related queries relating to the administration of estates.

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IHT – new form

A new IHT return form IHT400 and supplementary pages was issued on 17 November 2008. It replaces form IHT200, which will remain available until 9 June 2009. After that date the new forms will be compulsory.

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Bankrupt heir – trustee in bankruptcy’s position

A recent decision confirms that where an heir is a bankrupt at the date of death, his or her inheritance is payable to their trustee in bankruptcy. Entitlement to inherit is an asset which comes into existence when the testator dies.

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Wills – will registry launched is launching a will register, endorsed by former Law Society President Kevin Martin and available for wills prepared by regulated professionals.

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Wills – definition of per stirpes

The Privy Council has given guidance on the interpretation of wills generally and the expression per stirpes. Lord Hope explained that the phrase per stirpes as a whole could be taken to mean ‘by family’.

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Charities Act 2006 – Commencement Order

On 31 January 2009, the Charities Act 2006 (Commencement No. 5, Transitional and Transitory Provisions and Savings) Order 2008 was enacted. The provisions of the Charities Act 2006 that came into force are as follows:

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Charities – tax relief

Article 56 EC on the free movement of capital enabled eligible tax deductions on gifts made to charitable bodies in the taxpayer’s state also to be claimed on gifts made to charities within the European Union outside the taxpayer’s state.

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Will – disputed existence

An action was brought by the widow and daughter of the deceased against two charities. The widow had lived apart from the deceased for many years before his death.

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Disputed will – guidance; procedure
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What should you do if asked for correspondence and other documents in relation to a will you prepared for a client who has since died?  Read more...
MoJ – IT meltdown
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Many litigators are no doubt all too aware of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) January 2019 IT failures that hit the delivery of frontline legal services in some courts.  Read more...
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Noise nuisance – liability?
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RICS – service charges
Wednesday, 13 February 2019
We noted the RICS Code of Practice on service charges in our October 2018 issue, p19; the ‘Service Charges in Commercial Property (1st edition)’ comes into force on 1 April 2019. Read more...
Notice of severance – rectification?
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A recent case reminds practitioners of the importance of ensuring that a notice of severance accurately records all of the titles intended to be severed. Read more...
Children – parental responsibility; removal of
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In what circumstances might the court order the removal of PR from the father? The author comments on a recent case which involved a unique set of circumstances justifying the removal of PR.  Read more...
Incompetence – not discrimination
Wednesday, 13 February 2019
The CA has held that an incompetent process does not amount to discrimination. Read more...
Sentencing – contempt of court
Wednesday, 13 February 2019
The Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial in relation to a claimant remanded to prison overnight for discussing evidence in a civil case.  Read more...


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