In England and Wales, unlike other countries, a person can leave their estate to whomever they choose. Therefore, if you want to leave your whole estate to Charity and not to your spouse or children, you have every right, legally, to do that. This right is known as Testamentary Freedom.
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows for certain people to bring a claim against the estate if they can show that reasonable provision was not made for them under a Will or an intestacy.
The 1975 Act widened the scope for adult children to make such claims, albeit that they have to show a real need for maintenance from the estate. Therefore, if they are capable of earning a living and have no real mental or physical disabilities they would, you would think, find it difficult to mount a claim.
The long awaited and widely reported judgment from the Supreme Court of Ilott -v- Mitson has made people question if it is still worth writing a Will if the terms of that Will can be so easily overturned.
If you are intending to omit a child from your Will, you should think very carefully about how you document your decision.
It is important to appraise your will writer fully and comprehensively about your family background and family members, particularly if you are not intending to leave them anything, so that they can provide you with the best advice about how to prevent a challenge to your Will after your death.
At MW,our mission is “to make quality legal services accessible to everyone” including those who find themselves embroiled in a 1975 Act claim.
Our dedicated Estate and Trust Dispute Team are specialists in navigating the tricky waters of such claims to help ensure the best outcome for our clients. Our specialist lawyers have experience in helping both Claimants and Defendants to adult child 1975 Act claims and we are best placed to guide you through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible.
News stories are not all about celebrities, politicians, and famous people.
A cursory glance through the newspapers or viewing the television news on any given day shows that probably most news items focus on ordinary people who may be doing extraordinary things, or who may find themselves in an unusual situation.
Take the example of 22-year-old Marcus Hutchins, credited with halting the global spread of a massive international ransomware attack, WannaCry. It was estimated that Mr Hutchins prevented more than 100,000 computers across the globe from being infected by WannaCry.
Yet, despite being feted as a hero in the Press, there was a negative side to all this publicity for Mr Hutchins, a person who used the alias of ‘MalwareTech’ to avoid being identified. He was propelled into a Media spotlight that often brings with it unwanted attention. It has been reported, for instance, that Mr Hutchins has said that he will have to move house after a newspaper identified him and published his full address, resulting in him being hounded.
As part of the WannaCry story, it was not just Mr Hutchins who was targeted by the Media, but also those who knew him.
Media attention can often be short lived, but like a tornado that rips through a town, the duration of the event is not always as significant as the damage it leaves behind.
If you become the focus of unwanted Media attention, it is important to act quickly.
At MW Solicitors we can help individuals who receive unwanted Media attention. There are various legal avenues that can be explored to counter this attention, and our experts in MW’s Media Law and Reputation Management Department are not just experienced in the law regarding these matters, but also in how to communicate with the Media in an effective manner.
By way of contrast to Mr Hutchins’ situation, if a client wishes to obtain Media attention for a brand, event, or simply because they have a newsworthy story, we also assist with how, when, and on what terms information is conveyed by clients to the Media. That way clients can speak to the Media in the knowledge that Press intrusion will only go so far.
MW Solicitors Ltd are extremely proud to have become the principal sponsors of the Back Up Trust Wheelchair Skills Programme.
Every day three people sustain a spinal cord injury, through accident or illness and at MW our expert Personal Injury solicitors represent many clients with vital legal assistance throughout the personal injury claim process. We are acutely aware of the tremendous resources provided by Back Up through wheelchair skills training, peer support and vocational rehabilitation.
In addition to providing financial support for these vital services, we will also be providing hands on support in the form of volunteer assistants who will attend each and every wheelchair skills training session throughout the UK.
Back Up was founded in 1986 by the former British and European Freestyle Champion and James Bond stunt double Mike Nemesvary, whose life was devastated when he broke his neck during a training session. Despite being paralysed from the shoulders down, Mike was determined to get back to the life he enjoyed. Back Up was initially set up to offer ski courses for those affected by spinal cord injury. Over the years, Back Up has expanded its services to challenge and empower people to get ‘back up’ to a place they were at before their accident.
Back Up exists to inspire independence in anyone affected by spinal cord injury and to encourage everyone to get the most from their lives. They work with people of all ages, from young children to the elderly, whatever the motivation or background.
At MW, our mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone" and we aim to support clients throughout their lives with our teams of skilled, experienced lawyers.
If you have experienced a no fault injury MW can provide pro-bono or discounted assistance, whatever your legal needs. Where your injury has been caused by someone else’s negligence we have a specialist serious injury and medical negligence team with decades of experience acting for the most seriously injured in the UK and abroad. After suffering a life changing injury we believe rehabilitation in all its forms is key. We have case managers who can assist with practical issues from the start and then we are with you and those that rely on and care for you throughout the course of your claim and beyond.
If you or a loved one have suffered a Spinal Injury and would like to know more about how we can support you through your rehabilitation and through the claims process, call our expert Personal Injury team on 0203 551 8500 or email us at email@example.com
Sharon Bell, Partner and a member of MWs Estate and Trust Dispute Team outlines the role of the Court of Protection and the circumstances when a Statutory Will may be necessary.
Statutory Wills are made by the Court of Protection. The Court of Protection is a specialist court set up to protect the interests of those who cannot make financial and welfare decisions for themselves because they lack mental capacity.
A person who lacks mental capacity, by definition, is not in a position to make a Will or make any amendments to their existing Will. However, if the making of a Will or an amendment to any Will is considered necessary then the only way someone can make a Will on behalf of a person who lacks capacity is by making an application to the Court of Protection for a Statutory Will.
A Statutory Will may be considered necessary if:
The Court of Protection is most likely to allow a Statutory Will if the person who lacks capacity has never made a Will or there has been a significant change in their circumstances.
The Court will consider whether or not it is in the vulnerable person’s “best interests” for a Statutory Will to be made. It is usual that the Official Solicitor will be appointed as an independent party to represent the interests of a vulnerable person.
The Court will always try to encourage the vulnerable person to be a participant in the proceedings if possible and the court will look at the criteria laid down in Section 4 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 as to deciding what is in the vulnerable person’s best interests. The court will look at:
The court will also take into account how the vulnerable person may wish to be remembered after their death. It is arguably in their best interests that they are remembered with fond memories and affection.
Every case will be different and the court has a wide discretion as no one factor in the Section 4 criteria will outweigh any other. The court just has to be satisfied that the making of a Statutory Will is in the best interests of the vulnerable person.
At MW, Our Mission is “to make quality legal services accessible to everyone” including those who lack the capacity to act for themselves. Our Specialist Estate & Trust Dispute Team have extensive experience handling Statutory Will applications.
If you would like more information on a Statutory Will could be in the best interests of a family member who lacks capacity then take advantage of our FREE CASE REVIEW; call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Solicitor and member of MW's Estate and Trust Dispute Team, Jane Flaherty, discusses the Governments recently announced plans to increase probate fees.
On 18th February 2016 the Government launched the Consultation - Fee Proposals for Grants of Probate canvassing public and professional opinion regarding an increase in fees when making an application for a Grant of Probate.
As a general rule, any estate which includes property requires a Grant of Probate, and most estates with shares require a grant of probate. The current fee is £155 where you obtain a grant through a solicitor and £215 where a personal application is made. Where an estate is below £5000 there is no fee.
Despite an astounding 97.5% of respondents expressing that they were against the proposed increases, the Government has announced its intention to proceed with its plans to increase the fees at some point in May 2017.
A date has not yet been set and any changes which come into force will effect applications in accordance with the date the application is lodged with the probate office and not by date of death.
The fees will be charged in accordance to the size of the estate as follows:
|Value of estate (before Inheritance tax)||Proposed fee|
|Up to £50,000||£0|
|Over £50,000 but under £300,000||£300|
|Over £3000,000 and up to £500,000||£1,000|
|Over £500,000 and up to £1 million||£4,000|
|Over £1 million up to £1.6 million||£8,000|
|Over £1.6 million up to £2 million||£12,000|
|Over £2 million||£20,000|
The government claim that the majority of estates, those being valued at less than £50,000, will not be charged at all. In practice, most estates valued in that threshold do not include property and therefore would not require a Grant of Probate in any event.
The reality of the changes to costs is that most estates requiring a grant will see a huge increase in the probate fees. Beneficiaries will see costs escalate sharply between £300 and £20,000 despite there being no link between the value of the estate and the amount of work involved.
A really good analogy that has been put forward is to consider the cost of a passport. We all pay the same price for a passport because the same amount of admin is required for each application. Could you imagine the uproar if passport costs were based on each applicant's income?
We have been informed that the changes will be in force in May 2017. The probate registry is set to raise £300 million pounds of revenue to support the costs of the wider Court and Tribunal services. The increases are being labelled as ‘stealth tax’ or a ‘death tax.’
Whereas the Office of the Public Guardian announced that their fees are going to be reduced from April 2017.
The cost to register a single lasting power of attorney or enduring power of attorney will fall from £110 to £82 pounds. The reason given for this reduction is that due to the increased amount of applications it is receiving it does not need to charge as much per application to be fully self funding.
We believe that parliament should reject this unreasonable tax by the back door and start again in its consideration of increasing the probate fees.
To sign the petition please click on the link below https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/188175