Adopted children considered beneficiaries under a 1946 will


Posted by Hannah McEwen

The recent case of Hand & another v George & another questioned whether, at the time a will was executed, adopted children should be classified as ‘children’ for the purposes of a will. The Facts Henry Hand (the testator) passed away in 1947 and left the residue of his estate on trust to his three children in equal shares for life and the remainder to their children who attained the age of 21 in equal shares. Two of Henry Hand’s grandchildren (the Claimants) were adopted. Under section 5(2) of the Adoption of Children Act 1926 in force at the time the will was written in 1946, adopted children were not counted as ‘children’ in respect of estate entitlements of their natural or adopted parents. Therefore, the Claimants would not be able to benefit from the remainder of their father’s part of the estate held on trust under the will. Instead, their cousins (the Defendants), as birth-grandchildren, would receive the Claimants’ share of Henry Hand’s Trust. The Claimants argued that their Article 14 (anti-discrimination) and Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) ECHR rights should override the discriminatory effects of the Adoption of Children Act 1926. The Defendants […]

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The bank of Mum and Dad


Research out this week from Legal & General reveals that the bank of mum and dad will help to finance 25% of all UK mortgage transactions this year at an average of £17,500. This is of particular interest to those that have already, or that are likely to offer financial support to an adult child to finance buying a home or other large investment. In instances where relationships sour between a parent and child or ex-partner of an adult child this can lead to significant disputes. Such disputes can be protracted, costly and distressing. In our experience this can be devastating for those involved and we are experienced at handling such disputes whether between family members or ex-partners. Our involvement ranges from before the event, for example a Trust Deed should almost always be put in place where there is a loan from parents for a house purchase. If the child marries or cohabits, it is possible for the loan to be taken into account in a pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement. You might want to consider Inheritance Tax planning, to recognise life time loans, we are also able to help with a range of after the event Litigation. Our experts […]

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Taylor Wimpey apologises in leasehold dispute


One of the UK’s biggest house builders has apologised to home owners for leaving customers with onerous leasehold deals. MPs have described this as a ‘national scandal’. See more here

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LPAs for Business by Alastair Goggins, Partner in Dispute Resolution Team


Posted by Alastair Goggins

Many of us are familiar what a lasting power of attorney is. It is essentially a way of choosing who you would trust to make decisions concerning your personal finances and your health and welfare should you lose the capacity to make those decisions yourself. Many of us choose to make an LPA late in life when we have a more realistic understanding of our own immortality. Many of us, however, may be surprised to hear that a LPA cannot just deal with our personal day-to-day requirements but also our business interests as well. It is possible for a LPA to be created to protect the business interests we have.  These types of LPAs are sometimes called commercial LPAs. These might include business interests in a partnership, when we run our own business, or indeed if we hold more structured business interests in perhaps a limited company. Changes in the law brought about by the Equalities Act 2010 now make it unlawful to remove a director/partner from their role on the ground that they have lost capacity. This can pose some very serious concerns for business owners. It is not uncommon for a particular Partner or Director/Shareholder to assume a […]

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Government Scraps the Probate Registry Fee Increase


The BBC announces that due to the snap election there is no time to put through the proposed probate fee increase due to start in May. This is great news for our clients as the Ministry of Justice planned to raise fees by up to £20,000 for those with the biggest estates compared to the fees currently fixed at either £155 or £215. For more information click here

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It’s Good to Talk


Posted by Jade Hinks, Trainee Solicitor in Dispute Resolution Team

Time passes by so quickly sometimes it’s hard to keep up with everything that is happening in our own lives, let alone someone else’s, which is why it’s worth regularly taking time to review your situation and the situation of those you care for the most. In contested probate, a claim against an estate cannot be prevented if a party has a right to make a claim but it may be possible to limit the success of one, which is why it is often advised to regularly review your will, especially when your circumstances change. Whilst I am not advocating reviewing your Will on a weekly basis, which would be unnecessary and time consuming, it should be done when there is a change in circumstance. Some common situations include when you buy and/or sell a property, marriage, divorce, death of a family member or changes in tax laws. In these circumstances, not only are you are looking at what has changed in your own life but it is equally important to keep an eye on what is happening in the lives of your beneficiaries (the people who inherit under your Will). In May 2016, the Court of Appeal decided the […]

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Thinking of separating or divorce? Listen here


Posted by Collette Bailey

If you are in an unhappy marriage you may be thinking about your options. Collette Bailey discusses here the issues surrounding separation and divorce and highlights the fact that there is no such thing as a common law wife. Listen here  

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Estimates not guesstimates


Posted by Derek Rodgers, Managing Partner

A couple of weeks ago, Gardner Leader staff organised a charity quiz in aid of Newbury & District Cancer Care Trust. One of the challenges was to guess the number of sweets in a jar. The correct answer was 366 and there were quite a few guesses which were very close to that. The range of guesses went from 73 at the lower end to 1368 at the top end. Quite a range! One of the most common causes of complaint against solicitors is when work costs far more than the original estimate. Part of the problem is that it is not always easy at the outset to know exactly how much work is going to be involved. Two pieces of work may look much alike but once people become involved – clients, third parties, other solicitors – they can go in very different directions. At a previous firm, I was once asked to prepare what should have been a very simple shareholders agreement but because the parties kept changing their minds about what they wanted to do, it was (incredibly) six years before they finally signed it! That could not have been predicted at the start. Transactional work involves […]

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What happens if you wish to bring a will challenge on behalf of a Deceased relative?


Posted by Tamsin Wooldridge

Multimillionaire hotelier, Pauline Milbour (‘Mrs Milbour’) died in 2014 leaving her stepdaughter, Laurel Roberts (‘Laurel’) out of her Will. The majority of Mrs Milbour’s £25 million estate was left to her natural daughter, Luanne Fresco (‘the Defendant’) who had taken over the running of one of Mrs Milbour’s hotels in Hyde Park. Laurel’s father (‘Mr Milbour’) had been married to Mrs Milbour for 42 years the time of her death yet received a nominal amount of £150,000 in her will. On the face of it, this doesn’t seem entirely reasonable but Mr Milbour took no action to challenge his inheritance during his lifetime. He died only a few months after Mrs Milbour leaving Laurel £320,000. Laurel and her daughter (‘the Claimants’) then proceeded to challenge Mrs Milbour’s will as executor’s of Mr Milbour’s estate on the basis that the will failed to leave him reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (‘IPFDA’). They claimed an £8 million share of her estate. In IPFDA claims brought by spouses, the Court will consider the amount that the Claimant would have expected to receive had the marriage been terminated by divorce rather than death (S 3 (2) […]

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Inspirational Women – International Women’s Day, #IWD2017


Posted by Fiona Curnow

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2017, over this week, some of the GL team will be sharing which women have been inspirational to them and what moments they have treasured from their own careers. Follow the conversation on Twitter @GardnerLeader and with Gardner Leader LLP on LinkedIn. Women number eight of the firm’s 15 partners, and two of the three support team Directors. As well as that, women make up a large number across all teams of the firm and have contributed to the firm’s continued success and growth. We are proud to be a supportive and forward thinking employer of Women. #IWD2017 #BeBoldForChange Litigation Partner Michelle Di Gioia’s GL and career highlight is “my Swynson case and spending 4 days at the Supreme Court last November (the week before the Brexit hearing) before 5 phenomenal legal brains Lords Neuberger, Mance, Sumption, Clarke and Hodge that was indeed an experience. As for my inspirational women, alongside my mum who taught me that I could achieve anything, the Iron Lady ‘Margaret Thatcher’ was my inspiration growing up. She broke the glass ceiling and showed the world that being a women was no barrier.” Corporate Commercial Partner Diane Yarrow’s GL highlight is being asked to join the […]

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Changes to inheritance tax allowance and Grant of Probate fees


Posted by Penny Wright

The government is introducing a new inheritance tax allowance for families who own a house. This allowance could mean that their estate up to £1m is free from inheritance tax. There is a considerable amount of misinformation about it in the press and on the internet. We recommend that you seek our advice to ensure that your estate planning takes advantage of the generous new allowance. A consultation with us will give you peace of mind that your family won’t pay too much inheritance tax. In addition, changes to Court fees for a Grant of Probate are set to rise. The new Court fee scale, due to take effect in May, replaces the old flat fee of £155 with fees ranging from £300 to £20,000, depending on the size of the estate. This is regardless of any inheritance tax liability and could be seen as a form of taxation. Funding the payment will lead to problems for bereaved families who may not have the cash available. There is also a risk that it could lead to a rise in inadvisable or even fraudulent behaviour as people try to avoid the need to apply to court for a Grant of Probate. […]

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