The Practical Lawyer

Wills, probate and administration

Wills – possessions

In an age where people increasingly own non-tangible assets including music, Facebook accounts and online bank accounts, for instance, practitioners should be considering these issues when advising their clients. In particular, the legal and practical risks involved in recording the identity of such assets should be considered.

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Procedure – presumption of death

The Presumption of Death Act 2013 is expected to become law on 1 October 2014 and will introduce a presumption of death procedure in England and Wales. Private client practitioners are advised to familiarise themselves with the provisions ahead of the implementation date.

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Court of Protection – deprivation of liberty

An important Supreme Court ruling involving the Court of Protection could result in many applications to authorise the living arrangements of individuals in a variety of settings. In this case two sisters and another (P) lacked capacity to make decisions regarding their own living arrangements.

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Wills – shari’ah-compliant drafting

The Law Society’s recent practice note on drafting ‘shari’ah-compliant’ wills has ruffled a few feathers. In this useful article, the author highlights the pitfalls of marrying the shari’ah and English systems, notably in relation to inheritance tax (IHT).

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Wills – rectification

The Supreme Court’s interpretation of what constitutes a ‘clerical error’ in a will for the purposes of rectification under s20 AJA 1982 is likely to have significant practical consequences. The authors of this article take this view following the important ruling in Marley. They examine the decision and say Lord Neuberger’s comments on the interpretation of wills generally provide clear and authoritative guidance on how the court should approach this exercise.

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Wills – interpretation

The court is willing to approach the interpretation of wills in a more relaxed way following various House of Lords decisions on the interpretation of contracts. So says the author in this article following a recent ruling where a feature of the case was a misunderstanding of the purpose of a precedent.

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Probate – Irish property

In this helpful article, the author highlights the specific procedures where a person dies outside the Republic of Ireland and leaves property there. Extracting an Irish grant of representation will become necessary and the law sets out the specific requirements. 

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Wills – contested wills; vulnerable litigants

The Court of Appeal has given useful guidance on steps that should be taken to ensure vulnerable LIPs receive a fair hearing. In this case the son (S), who was autistic, had been disinherited by his father (T)’s will. The will favoured the other son.

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Wills – validity; capacity

A dementia sufferer was capable of executing a valid will, the Court of Appeal has ruled. In a recent case, siblings were in dispute over a £2m estate.

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Power of attorney – revocation; capacity

The Court of Protection withdrew an LPA in favour of the donor’s (D) former gardener (DP) following an application by the Office of the Public Guardian. The ruling is significant in that is it the first ‘Munby-compliant’ case for which permission to report has been given following the provisions of the President’s Guidance issued on 16 January 2014.

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