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Wills, probate and administration

Court of Protection – practice direction

The CoP’s final case management pilot practice direction is now published and will become effective on 1 September 2016 – giving practitioners time to prepare. The PD will take precedence over the CoPR (and its practice guidance). Three case management pathways for CoP proceedings are specified in the scheme:
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Trust corporations – practice guidance

The Law Society has published a useful practice note on trust corporations – corporations which undertake the administration of trusts and estates, and in some cases act as a Court of Protection deputy and attorney. The PN is aimed at considering establishing a trust corporation to use as an in-house trustee, executor, administrator, attorney or deputy.
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Family care payments – guidance

The Office of the Public Guardian has published a practice note on family care payments (or gratuitous care payments) – helpfully setting out the relevant legal framework and the OPG’s approach to such payments. The guidance applies to court-appointed deputies under a finance and property order.
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Procedure – Gazette notices

Probate practitioners will welcome a new notice placement service, through which notices can be placed simultaneously in local newspapers and online in The Gazette ‘in one easy step’.
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Deputies – client accounts

The Office of the Public Guardian has issued a practice note, OPG’s approach to solicitor client accounts. It explains the OPG’s approach to the use of client accounts to manage deputyship funds, and how the deputy acts under the MCA, the Solicitors Regulation Authority Accounts Rules 2011 (SARs) and the MCA Code of Practice. The PN clarifies the OPG’s position on the issues, and sets out two fundamental clarifications.

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Deputies – responsibilities

The Office of the Public Guardian has also issued a practice note, Public authority deputyship responsibilities, on the role and responsibilities of a public authority when appointed as a deputy by the CoP. It makes clear that its duties cannot be delegated to organisations outside the public authority.

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Forfeiture – wills and trusts

The forfeiture rule is based on the principle that it is against public policy to allow a criminal to claim any benefit by virtue of their crime; and applies to gifts by will and under the intestacy rules. 
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Trusts – variation of trusts

An application under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 to vary the trusts of four family settlements, and for the compromise of an issue as to the validity of the two most recent of those settlements, was successful.

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Attorneys – gifts

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has published a useful updated practice note, Gifts: Deputies and EPA/LPA Attorneys, in light of the OPG’s updated policy on loans and supervision (a gift for these purposes can include making an interest-free loan).

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