Category Archive Wills and Probate

ByMichael Morrison

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

The number of people making lasting powers of attorney has increased dramatically in recent years.

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ByMichael Morrison

“I’ve Been Disinherited By My Parents Will”

“I’ve Been Disinherited By My Parents Will” is a common cry for help we at the Solicitors Information Service have been hearing recently.

People unable to get onto the property latter and an ageing population with rising levels of dementia are the key factors boosting a rise in disputes over wills. The recent Supreme Court case Ilott v The Blue Cross and others has confirmed that a will should be left intact unless exceptional circumstances prevail e.g. as provided in the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Legal commentators have predicted a massive surge in court cases as people try and test out whether they have a valid claim.

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ByMichael Morrison

Wills & Contentious Probate Disputes Highlight the Need for a Reputable Solicitor

The importance of making a will to ensure your property is left to those intended is highlighted by this contentious intestacy case.

The carer of a wealthy widow has been vindicated in a High Court battle over her flat and £1.3 million fortune, in a case which involved a genealogist from BBC show Heir Hunters.

Tanya Vasileva looked after her friend, Gertrude Stanley, in the years before her death at the age of 89.

Mrs Stanley, who had fled to London from the Nazis on the eve of the Second World War, believed she had no living relatives after her sister died in a concentration camp.

She promised her flat to Miss Vasileva in return for her years of care. After the widow’s death, in December 2009, she moved in.

But Mrs Stanley had not made a will, and a legal wrangle ensued after Peter Birchwood, a professional genealogist who has appeared on BBC series Heir Hunters, traced two distant cousins of Mrs Stanley.

Mr Birchwood, acting on behalf of Mrs Stanley’s estate, argued Miss Vasileva was a “trespasser” who should be ousted from the property and made to pay £50,000 for her years of rent-free occupation. But a judge ruled Mrs Stanley had promised the flat to her carer and said Miss Vasileva had “done her best” to look after the widow.

Judge Mark Raeside QC awarded Miss Vasileva £20,000 from the estate and dismissed Mr Birchwood’s financial claim against her. But he also estimated the value of the care provided by Miss Vasileva to be only £70,000, compared with the £160,000 value of the flat, and said she would have to leave by December so it could go back to the estate.

The High Court heard how Mrs Stanley fled Vienna and arrived in London in May 1939, when she was 19. She and her husband, Lawrence, lived together in their Belsize Park flat for 48 years, until his death in 1994. They did not have any children.

Despite her fortune, most of which was discovered in bank accounts and shares after her death, the widow lived a frugal existence and worried she would run out of money, the court heard. In 2002, the court heard, Mrs Stanley met Miss Vasileva at the supermarket where the younger woman worked. Miss Vasileva, who had  moved to the UK from Bulgaria the year before, said they struck up a friendship after she delivered Mrs Stanley’s shopping.

After a stay in hospital in May 2005, Mrs Stanley phoned Miss Vasileva and asked if she could come to collect her. She did not want any professional carers and asked Miss Vasileva if she would help her stay in her own flat.

It was then that Mrs Stanley first said she wanted her friend to have her flat after she died — a promise she repeated many more times, the court heard.

Miss Vasileva looked after Mrs Stanley — including cooking, cleaning and helping her bathe — until she went into a care home in April 2009.

After the case Miss Vasileva said: “We weren’t just friends, we were more  like grandmother and granddaughter, we were very close. She will always be in my heart.”

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ByMichael Morrison

PROBATE: Requires a Reputable Regulated Solicitor

A recent case has highlighted the need for a reputable solicitor to be instructed when preparing a will.

The client approached a well known high street bank and was charged £90 for its will writing service. This service is unregulated. The client passed away last year and left half of his property in his will to his daughter. However he jointly owned the property with his wife who was not his daughter’s mother. Due to this joint ownership the property passed in whole to his wife. For the will’s provisions and the client’s intentions to be met the joint tenancy would have had to have been severed by a notice of severance at the time of executing the will.

The daughter is now suing the bank for her share of the property’s value in the High Court.

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ByDavid7SB

Modification to the rules on wills

Modify the rules on wills, the government has actually been advised.

The policy of wills must be reformed to prevent people being ripped off, the Legal Ombudsman has actually cautioned.
Around 180,000 wills are written by non-lawyers every year, and are exempt from the complaints handling body. But a report by the Legal Ombudsman has actually gotten in touch with the government to open up their services to those utilizing non-regulated providers.
A Ministry of Justice representative said more could be done however more policy was not always the response.

‘Room for improvement’.
A spokesperson stated: that when people write a will it is very crucial for them to have peace of mind that their affairs will certainly be dealt with how they desire them to be. That is why we have actually agreed with the Legal Services Board that there is space for improvement in this area.
However we are not persuaded that regulation is the best way forward – we believe other options should be explored initially, including much better guidance for professionals and making better use of existing consumer info and security.

The Legal Ombudsman’s report declared that wills and probate were the 3rd greatest source of received problems, which the marketplace was “dealing with a variety of quality concerns.
It concluded that all customers of wills and probate provider need to have access to redress.

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Wills and Probate

The Ombudsman assisted resolve more than a thousand wills and probate related complaints last year.

‘Ripped off’.
Excessive costs, hold-ups and a failure to follow instructions were a few of the usual issues dealt with. However the independent body is only enabled to take on wills prepared by regulated service providers.

It stated that a lack of regulatory oversight implied that customers could be entrusted no alternatives if they were “swindled by the provider.

Chief Legal Ombudsman Adam Sampson said: that wills can be prepared by anybody in concept. For people on a spending plan, this develops headaches about the standard of service one might reasonably anticipate. It likewise implies some individuals will certainly have access to help if things fail, while others will not. We want the government to at least consider a voluntary ombudsman plan into which company can opt themselves. Provision currently exists for the Lord Chancellor to make this happen.

Claims for mishandling a deceased estate rose three-fold in 2013, with 368 claims lodged in 2013 compared to 107 in the previous 12 months, according to figures from the Chancery Division.
Last year, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling declined the advice of the Legal Services Board to make will certainly composing a reserved legal activity.

Initial post on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29634380.

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ByMichael Morrison

Wills and Contentious Probate: Have you made a Will?

The importance of making a will to ensure your property is left to those intended is highlighted by this contentious intestacy case.

The carer of a wealthy widow has been vindicated in a High Court battle over her flat and £1.3 million fortune, in a case which involved a genealogist from BBC show Heir Hunters.

Tanya Vasileva looked after her friend, Gertrude Stanley, in the years before her death at the age of 89.

Mrs Stanley, who had fled to London from the Nazis on the eve of the Second World War, believed she had no living relatives after her sister died in a concentration camp.

She promised her flat to Miss Vasileva in return for her years of care. After the widow’s death, in December 2009, she moved in.

But Mrs Stanley had not made a will, and a legal wrangle ensued after Peter Birchwood, a professional genealogist who has appeared on BBC series Heir Hunters, traced two distant cousins of Mrs Stanley.

Heir hunter: Peter Birchwood

Mr Birchwood, acting on behalf of Mrs Stanley’s estate, argued Miss Vasileva was a “trespasser” who should be ousted from the property and made to pay £50,000 for her years of rent-free occupation. But a judge ruled Mrs Stanley had promised the flat to her carer and said Miss Vasileva had “done her best” to look after the widow.

Judge Mark Raeside QC awarded Miss Vasileva £20,000 from the estate and dismissed Mr Birchwood’s financial claim against her. But he also estimated the value of the care provided by Miss Vasileva to be only £70,000, compared with the £160,000 value of the flat, and said she would have to leave by December so it could go back to the estate.

The High Court heard how Mrs Stanley fled Vienna and arrived in London in May 1939, when she was 19. She and her husband, Lawrence, lived together in their Belsize Park flat for 48 years, until his death in 1994. They did not have any children.

Despite her fortune, most of which was discovered in bank accounts and shares after her death, the widow lived a frugal existence and worried she would run out of money, the court heard. In 2002, the court heard, Mrs Stanley met Miss Vasileva at the supermarket where the younger woman worked. Miss Vasileva, who had  moved to the UK from Bulgaria the year before, said they struck up a friendship after she delivered Mrs Stanley’s shopping.

After a stay in hospital in May 2005, Mrs Stanley phoned Miss Vasileva and asked if she could come to collect her. She did not want any professional carers and asked Miss Vasileva if she would help her stay in her own flat.

It was then that Mrs Stanley first said she wanted her friend to have her flat after she died — a promise she repeated many more times, the court heard.

Miss Vasileva looked after Mrs Stanley — including cooking, cleaning and helping her bathe — until she went into a care home in April 2009.

After the case Miss Vasileva said: “We weren’t just friends, we were more  like grandmother and granddaughter, we were very close. She will always be in my heart.”

Original reporting  by the London Evening Standard on the 8/7/14.

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ByMichael Morrison

Wills and Contentious Probate: Have you made a Will?

The importance of making a will to ensure your property is left to those intended is highlighted by this contentious intestacy case.

The carer of a wealthy widow has been vindicated in a High Court battle over her flat and £1.3 million fortune, in a case which involved a genealogist from BBC show Heir Hunters.

Tanya Vasileva looked after her friend, Gertrude Stanley, in the years before her death at the age of 89.

Mrs Stanley, who had fled to London from the Nazis on the eve of the Second World War, believed she had no living relatives after her sister died in a concentration camp.

She promised her flat to Miss Vasileva in return for her years of care. After the widow’s death, in December 2009, she moved in.

But Mrs Stanley had not made a will, and a legal wrangle ensued after Peter Birchwood, a professional genealogist who has appeared on BBC series Heir Hunters, traced two distant cousins of Mrs Stanley.

Heir hunter: Peter Birchwood

Mr Birchwood, acting on behalf of Mrs Stanley’s estate, argued Miss Vasileva was a “trespasser” who should be ousted from the property and made to pay £50,000 for her years of rent-free occupation. But a judge ruled Mrs Stanley had promised the flat to her carer and said Miss Vasileva had “done her best” to look after the widow.

Judge Mark Raeside QC awarded Miss Vasileva £20,000 from the estate and dismissed Mr Birchwood’s financial claim against her. But he also estimated the value of the care provided by Miss Vasileva to be only £70,000, compared with the £160,000 value of the flat, and said she would have to leave by December so it could go back to the estate.

The High Court heard how Mrs Stanley fled Vienna and arrived in London in May 1939, when she was 19. She and her husband, Lawrence, lived together in their Belsize Park flat for 48 years, until his death in 1994. They did not have any children.

Despite her fortune, most of which was discovered in bank accounts and shares after her death, the widow lived a frugal existence and worried she would run out of money, the court heard. In 2002, the court heard, Mrs Stanley met Miss Vasileva at the supermarket where the younger woman worked. Miss Vasileva, who had  moved to the UK from Bulgaria the year before, said they struck up a friendship after she delivered Mrs Stanley’s shopping.

After a stay in hospital in May 2005, Mrs Stanley phoned Miss Vasileva and asked if she could come to collect her. She did not want any professional carers and asked Miss Vasileva if she would help her stay in her own flat.

It was then that Mrs Stanley first said she wanted her friend to have her flat after she died — a promise she repeated many more times, the court heard.

Miss Vasileva looked after Mrs Stanley — including cooking, cleaning and helping her bathe — until she went into a care home in April 2009.

After the case Miss Vasileva said: “We weren’t just friends, we were more  like grandmother and granddaughter, we were very close. She will always be in my heart.”

Original reporting  by the London Evening Standard on the 8/7/14.

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