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Wills, probate and administration

Trusts – remuneration

A lay trustee acting gratuitously was ordered to refund money taken as salary, and was removed as a trustee, after his relationship with a trust beneficiary broke down. A family owned an estate held on trust which included a number of properties. The estate was low on funds. The properties included a house which was let; and a cottage occupied for a peppercorn rent by the half-brother of the claimant. The claimant was a beneficiary of the trust.

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Procedure – will; gifts to practitioners

The Law Society has issued an important practice note for practitioners preparing a will in circumstances where the client leaves a gift for the practitioner, or his/her family or colleagues.
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Probate – costs

The Rawlings case (see previous entry) continues to spurn much legal discussion, and the latest judgment – this time in relation to the issue of costs of rectification of a will – gives rise to further commentary on costs.
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Wills – costs; rectification

Where there is a reasonable but unsuccessful challenge to a will, the court will often order that all parties’ costs will come out of the estate. The latest Rawlings judgment specifically addresses the issue of the costs of rectification of a will.
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Trustees – sale of property

Trustees must ensure a decision to sell property is reasonable, and the process they follow to reach that decision is also reasonable. A ruling considered the extent of a trustee’s duty when seeking to sell property.
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Incapacity – deprivation of liberty

The Court of Protection has issued important guidance on a new ‘streamlined’ process to handle deprivation of liberty (DoL) cases in a manner compliant with human rights legislation.
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Probate – disputes

Wills and probate practitioners are increasingly alert to rulings involving disputed wills and probate. Two recent rulings provide useful guidance for lawyers. 
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Procedure – intestacy rules

Under the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014, which came into force on 1 October 2014, the intestacy rules have now changed:
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Wills – trusts

The court applied the natural meaning of the words used by a will which, in the Lucien Freud case (see previous entry), helped clarify issues of drafting in relation to secret and half-secret trusts.
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