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Wills and Probate Blog

Welcome to the Thornton Jones Solicitors Wills & Probate Blog

Must I Consider my Beneficiary's Circumstances When Making A Will?

Joanne Gibson
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It is safe to say that when we consider including a beneficiary in our Will, we do so with the intention of wanting that person to benefit in some way from our estate when we have died. However, it is extremely important to consider the personal...

What Is Probate

Joanne Gibson
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The word probate is used to describe the process involved in dealing with the administration of a person’s estate when they have died. Probate can also be used to describe the legal document giving authority to the person or persons to...

What Does The Kenig Case Mean For Estate Administration Costs And Best Practice?

Lynsey Bashforth
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The recent case of  Kenig v Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP as  detailed in the Law Gazette  further highlights the need for Solicitors to communicate with the Residuary Beneficiaries of an estate at the outset of the matter, to manage...

What are the STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) provisions and why are they needed in your Will?

Molly Sutherland
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When you make a Will, for it to be accurate and unambiguous and ‘fit for purpose’, it is necessary for specific wording to be contained within. This wording may seem, to the layperson, like legalese, but it’s key to the Will being...

What is Claudia's Law? What To Do When Someone Goes Missing

Melanie Pickering
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When a loved one is missing, their close family and friends are of course going through an incredibly distressing time. When emotions are running high, and you’re deeply concerned for someone’s safety, arranging legal practicalities is naturally...

Dangers of Unregulated Will Writing Services

Amanda Gait
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When obtaining and paying for legal documents and services, it can seem to many as an unnecessary expense. Also, with the advent of online “quick wills” and standard pre-printed packs, many question why they should go to the expense of...

What is an Independent Administrator of an Estate?

Liz Fyfe
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We are increasingly asked to act as an Independent Administrator, but for those who have not heard the term before, what is an Independent Administrator, and when would one be needed? What is an Independent Administrator? When a person passes...

Should I Change My Will After Divorce or Separation?

Amanda Gait
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During relationship breakdowns, it is likely that the last thing on anyone’s mind is their Will or the lack of a Will. However, arguably, it is as important as any part of financial negotiations or the making arrangements for children. It is an...

5 Reasons to Put Lasting Powers of Attorney in Place

Francesca Thomas
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A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you to appoint attorneys to make decisions on behalf of you, in the event that you lose mental capacity and cannot make the decision yourself. There are two different types of Lasting Powers of...

What is a Secret Trust?

Liz Fyfe
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Often thought to no longer be relevant in modern law, the archaic concept of secret trusts still exist in Wills today. This little known but fascinating topic does appear from time to time. The law concerning secret trusts is complex, but in the most simple...

Can a scrap of paper be a Will?

Melanie Pickering
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Aretha Franklin is a household name around the world. Until now she was known for her stellar 50-year career as a soul singer and for her activism. But since her death in 2018 she has been in the news more as the latest in an increasingly long line of...

What Are the Tax Rules When Giving a Gift at Christmas?

Molly Sutherland
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The giving season is quickly approaching, and it is a time where family members want to give money and other gifts to their loved ones. Although it’s not the most festive of topics, understanding the tax rules when it comes to giving gifts can be very...

What are my Duties as an Executor?

Joanne Gibson
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Often, when a person dies, the responsibility of administering the deceased's estate falls to a named person (or persons) know as the Executor(s). The task ahead for the Executor(s) can be daunting and, whilst in the midst of grieving for the loss...

My loved-one died abroad. How do I deal with their English estate?

Melanie Pickering
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Does it really matter where someone dies? Yes, it can do. It really depends on what assets they have and where those assets are, as well as where their permanent home was at the time of their death. If someone dies on holiday, but all of their estate is in...

Can I Gift to Charity on My Death?

Joanne Gibson
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Charities rely heavily on donations from supporters. Many supporters choose to benefit a particular Charity by making donations in their lifetime. You can also benefit a Charity on your death by including a gift in your Will. What is a Charity? A...

What is a Predatory Marriage?

Francesca Thomas
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I recently attended a Vulnerability Conference and heard Daphne Franks telling her story about her wonderful mother Joan, who sadly passed away in March 2016. In short, Daphne’s mother Joan had severe vascular dementia and only when her mother passed...

How Do I Sell a Probate Property?

Taylor Hugo
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When a person dies and their property needs to be sold, it's known as a probate sale. If you're the executor named in the will, then you'll be granted the legal right to administer their estate, which may include the sale of any property...

I Need to Make a Will but I Don't Know Who to Leave My Assets To

Amanda Gait
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This is a quandary that can come up for many people, including those who are childless or child-free, those who are estranged from their children, those whose children have died before them, or those who have no close family members living. It...

What happens if a Will is lost or Missing?

Liz Fyfe
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A question we are asked with increasing frequency is what can be done when an original Will cannot be located. Perhaps it’s lost or even been destroyed. When making an application to the Probate Registry after a person has passed away, in order to...

Does an Executor named in a Will have to act?

Joanne Gibson
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The role of an Executor is to take on the legal responsibility to deal with the administration of the estate of the deceased. This is a wide-reaching role with several legal duties and responsibilities to fulfil, which can continue beyond the administration...

Do I need to register my Trust with HMRC?

Francesca Thomas
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Most Trusts must be registered with HMRC to ensure that the Trustees, and the Trust itself, are complying with anti-money laundering regulations. In this blog we focus on the registration of non-taxable Trusts , which is a Trust that has...

What are the Rules of Intestacy?

Melita Roberts
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I’m going to start by saying how important it is to ensure that you have a Will in place. Unfortunately, sometimes our loved ones put this off, believing it to be onerous, or not appreciating that the inevitable is sooner than they thought. What...

What happens if there is no Will - the Rules of Intestacy

Melita Roberts
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I’m going to start by saying how important it is to ensure that you have a Will in place. Unfortunately, sometimes our loved ones put this off, believing it to be onerous, or not appreciating that the inevitable is sooner than they thought. What...

What are the dangers of DIY wills?

Molly Sutherland
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A recent case has emphasised the potential issues and pitfalls that can arise from homemade DIY wills as there are no lawyers involved in the Will drafting process. In the case of Henrietta Ingram & Anor v Simon Timothy Abraham & Anor, Joanne...

How Do I Apply for a Declaration of Presumption of Death?

Melanie Pickering
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When a loved one goes missing it is emotionally draining for their friends and family who are left wondering where they are and whether they are safe. As well as this, the situation can be practically draining, as you have to deal with matters that are left...

Why a scribbled note shouldn't be the default position when making a Will

Stacie Hurt
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Since the death of Aretha Franklin in 2018 there has been an ensuing battle between the children of the superstar regarding who should inherit the singer’s fortune. This week the press is awash with the outcome of a lengthy court battle where the...

Why do I need a solicitor to draft my Lasting Powers of Attorney?

Molly Sutherland
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For many, we plan for our future through the making of a Will, which essentially makes clear your wishes for your estate when you die. However, oftentimes very little consideration is given to the planning for the future for your needs when you are...

How do I look after my loved-one's finances when they are missing?

Melanie Pickering
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The recent sad events surrounding Nicola Bulley going missing in Lancashire brought up memories for many, of Claudia Lawrence’s disappearance in Yorkshire in 2009. The key difference in the cases is that Claudia has never been found. Back in 2009,...

Six reasons why it is important for young people to have a Will

Francesca Thomas
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Although it is important for everyone to make sure that they have a Will in place, a Will has been stereotyped as something for ‘older people’ and is often not something that young people think about putting in place. Here are six reasons why it...

What is a Codicil?

Francesca Thomas
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Why a codicil may be a better way of updating your Will rather than making a new Will from scratch. A codicil is a document that modifies a previously executed Will. It is typically used to make small changes to a Will, such as adding or removing a...

When probate goes wrong and what you can do to prevent it

Francesca Thomas
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The Probate process may seem straightforward, but that does not mean that it is not without its pitfalls, and it is very easy for things to go wrong. In this blog we do not intend to talk about claims against estates or disagreements between beneficiaries...

What assets do I need to gather and how do I do it?

Joanne Palmer
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Dealing with a deceased estate can be a tricky task especially at a time when you may be grieving your loss, so knowing what to do and how to do it is both important (so you do it right) and helpful (so you know what to do in the first place). If you are...

What is the Grant of Probate?

Molly Sutherland
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When a loved one dies there is often much admin to be done and dealing with Probate can be a time-consuming and confusing process, especially at a time when you and your family will be grieving your loss. Of the many administrative tasks to be completed,...

How do I establish the value of a deceased's Estate?

Joanne Gibson
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Calculating the value of a deceased’s estate can seem daunting. Where do you start? What do you need to include? And what tax might be due to HMRC? At a time when you will be grief-stricken the added burden of dealing with the Probate for the...

What is probate and what must you do when someone dies?

Melita Roberts
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When a loved one dies and you are named as the executor, there are several very important jobs for you to complete. It’s not uncommon for the executor to employ the services of a solicitor at this stage, especially as some of the jobs can be time...

If I am excluded from a Will, what can a Court award me under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 Act?

Stacie Hurt
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Once the Court has considered all the various relevant factors to an applicant’s 1975 Act claim, the Court could conclude that they believe that the Will or Intestacy Rules does make “reasonable financial provision” for the applicant,...

What factors does a Court consider when deciding an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claim?

Stacie Hurt
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If you have been excluded from a Will then in most cases, the wishes of the deceased would remain unchallenged as, in most cases, the person who made the Will would have received adequate and appropriate legal advice at the time of making their Will ....

Can I claim some inheritance if I am excluded from a Will?

Stacie Hurt
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Despite the principle of testamentary freedom which exists in England and Wales, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“1975 Act”), certain people connected to someone who dies (domicile in England or Wales) can...

I've been excluded from a Will. Can I make a claim?

Stacie Hurt
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In most cases, the wishes of the deceased would remain unchallenged as, in most cases, the person who made the Will would have received adequate and appropriate legal advice at the time of making their Will. However, let’s say that a former spouse,...

What are Mirror Wills and Why You Should Have Them

Liz Fyfe
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Mirror Wills  aren’t right for everyone but if you are a couple, married or otherwise, and you are in agreement that upon your death your assets should be passed to the surviving partner then having Mirror...

George Michael's Ex Wins Will Claim

Stacie Hurt
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Being financially dependent on someone when they are alive, even if you are not named as a beneficiary in the deceased’s Will, can mean you could still be awarded something from the deceased’s estate. This has been made even more clear thanks to...

The Real Dangers of Unregulated Will Writing Services

Amanda Gait
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When obtaining and paying for legal documents, it can seem to many as an unnecessary expense, and with the advent of online ‘quick Wills’ and standard pre-printed packs that can be bought from high street stores like WHSmiths, many people...

The Reality of Having No Power of Attorney

Amanda Gait
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The Covid-19 vaccine brings hope that we can soon emerge from this pandemic, however as we do I think most of us have learned valuable lessons about what is actually important in our lives. The loss of loved ones has been horrific but also for many the loss...

Six Reasons Why Every Parent Should Make a Will

Melanie Pickering
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Should I make a Will? Well some people believe that wills are only for people over a certain age, or only if you have assets to ‘hand down’ when you die, and whilst neither of these are true, it is also important that every parent must make a...

Making a Will in 2021

Liz Fyfe
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Here at Thornton Jones we love to stay engaged and involved and when the subject is relevant to our business we take part in The Law Society's #SolicitorChat which is a weekly Twitter discussion Recently one of our Private...

Making Provisions For Your Pets in Your Will

Jess Buckley
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We are a nation of pet lovers with 51% of UK adults owning a pet 1 , spending a staggering £6.9 million on our pets in 2019 2 . But whether that be on biscuits for your Bulldog or a Christmas onesie for your Cavapoo, our lavish spending on our pets is...

5 Benefits of a Lasting Power of Attorney

Liz Fyfe
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During these Covid times there has been much coverage on the increase in people making Wills, a reaction to the increased number of Covid related deaths which, at time of writing, is over 60,000 in the UK. Clearly this has proven to be somewhat of a wake-up...

DIY Wills and What Can Go Wrong

Liz Fyfe
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With the current national lockdown coming to an end and as we re-enter the three tier system we continue to receive an increased number of enquiries from people who want to make or update their Wills. Unfortunately the lockdown and three tier restrictions...

When contesting a Will must I really take it to Court?

Liz Fyfe
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If you choose to contest a Will it’s worth knowing what the process might look like for you and how, at a time of grief, resolving the matter through mediation might be a preferred option for everyone involved. One of the struggles that clients have...

Five Top Tips For Making A Will

Jess Buckley
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When you make a Will it’s important to consider who you want your assets to go to when you die. Often this will be to just one single person, such as your spouse, however with ‘blended families’ being ever more common it’s wise to...

Guardianship of Young Children

Liz Fyfe
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You might think that making a Will is all about what happens to your money when you die, and in the main this is right! You may have many different types of assets ranging from physical cash in savings, property, valuable personal possessions and...

Abusing Lasting Power of Attorney

Liz Fyfe
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The last few months have demonstrated the importance of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for those who have been unable to leave their own homes or who have been concerned about dealing with their own affairs and have benefited from someone being able to...

Prince Died Four Years Ago and Left No Will.

Liz Fyfe
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Four years ago today the music legend Prince passed away. With a career earning him seven Grammy Awards, seven Brit Awards and a Golden Globe Award to name just a few you’d expect him to have an Estate worth a bob or two. In fact it’s...

Urgent Calls for the Change to the Law for Witnessing Wills

Liz Fyfe
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In a few short weeks we have seen unprecedented change across all sectors of life here in the UK and across the world. Already, we can see how communities are pulling together to support one another, particularly those who may be vulnerable or isolated....

When You Wish To Contest A Will

Liz Fyfe
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In December, after five years of hard work and study I was successfully rewarded with the recognition of becoming a fully qualified member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists. Being welcomed into a group of such highly skilled...

Cohabitation on the rise - are you protected?

Liz Fyfe
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In a recent survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics, it was found that the number of cohabiting couple families continues to grow faster than married couple or lone parent families with an increase of 25.8% over the decade between 2008 and...

What's your digital legacy?

Liz Fyfe
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Digital what? I hear you say. Surely you can't be talking to me. Think again.... You have made your Will to decide how your bank accounts and other assets should be dealt with. So what is a "digital legacy"? This includes your online music...

Can I vary a Will after someone has died?

Jess Buckley
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Yes this can be done! A Deed of Variation is a legal document which allows a beneficiary of an estate to pass on their share or part of their share to someone if they do not want or need their entitlement under the deceased’s Will or under the rules...

Can I make a Will by Text Message ?

Liz Fyfe
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You may have seen headlines recently about the law concerning making a will – “Could a text become your will?” was one headline! This is a reference to a recent Law Commission report which looks at the current laws on making a will and...

Inheritance update - 1st October 2014

Clare Thornton
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As of yesterday new rules came into force which change the way your estate will pass if you have not made a will. Your spouse will receive the first £250,000 of your estate together with your personal chattels. The remainder will be divided equally...

Powers of Attorney - is it right for you?

Clare Thornton
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Many people consider putting in place Wills to provide for their loved ones in the event of their death. What is commonly overlooked is the making of arrangements to protect not only loved ones but also ourselves in the event that we become incapable...