The Practical Lawyer

Wills, probate and administration

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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Intestacy – statutory legacy increased

From 1 February 2009 the amount available to a surviving spouse or partner where the deceased dies intestate has been increased from £125,000 to £250,000 where there are children.

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Wills – precedents

We have long been fans of Parker’s Modern Wills Precedents. The latest edition (by Michael Waterworth) is highly recommended.

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Charities – Register of Mergers

The Register of Mergers set up under the Charities Act 2006 should be the perfect solution for charities that have merged to protect future gifts. But in some instances, reliance could be an expensive mistake.

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Wills – foreign

Take care to avoid any overlap between an English will and any foreign will. Although a will may be formally valid and admissible to probate it can still be invalid in terms of bequests if it is contrary to the law of the country to which it relates.

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Two new powers conferred on The Charities Commission by the Charities Act 2006 could lead indirectly to removal from the register. First, there is a new power to give specific directions for the protection of a charity which the Commission considers to be expedient in the interests of the charity.

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