The Practical Lawyer

Wills, probate and administration

Wills and inheritance – WIQS

In relation to will drafting, probate and estate administration instructions, a firm will need to seek the client’s consent for disclosure of the file for the purposes of the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) audit procedure. One way to achieve this is through the practice’s terms and conditions.

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Wills – estate planning

One in five children in the UK is born outside marriage and the shape of the family is changing. Private client practitioners will benefit greatly from this in-depth and immensely practical article on wills and estate planning in the context of the increasingly complex modern family.

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Capacity – medical treatment

When an application was made for an order that it would be in the mentally incapacitated patient’s best interests for life-sustaining medical treatment to be withheld, the focus had to be on whether it would be in his best interests to give the treatment – rather than whether it would be in his best interests to withhold it.

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Wills – STEP guidance

Wills practitioners (particularly STEP members) are advised to be aware of the imminent STEP code for will preparation in England and Wales. The code forms a framework for practitioners to determine how best to meet the needs of each client while operating within appropriate standards.

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Gifts – gift in contemplation of death

Gifts made in contemplation of death must meet certain conditions for an effective donatio mortis causa – otherwise the gift may be invalid. A recent High Court ruling gives a timely reminder on how the courts will treat such gifts.

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Wills – testamentary capacity

This article is a helpful reminder on the requirements for solicitors to make enquiries following a recent ruling. Charities are particularly advised to take note of the outcome as they are often caught up in contested wills.

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Vulnerable clients – deprivation of liberty

The implications of advising and representing vulnerable clients are manifold, and the Supreme Court is considering a case, particularly in the context of deprivation of liberty.

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Mental capacity – medical treatment

What is in a patient’s best interests when they lack mental capacity? This was at issue in a recent case in relation to a patient’s end of life care – particularly the question of when it could be in the patient’s best interest to keep him alive, or to inflict severely invasive treatment that will bring little or no positive benefit.

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Wills – drafting; debts

If a will disposes of most of the assets by specific gifts, it’s likely there will be insufficient residue to cover the debts – in which case it’s worth considering the general ‘workability’ of the proposed gifts when drafting.

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Probate – domicile

For obtaining a grant to an estate in England and Wales where the deceased died abroad and while domiciled abroad, an affidavit of law from a notary from that domicile may be necessary.

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