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The Legal 500 – The Clients Guide to Law Firms The Legal 500 – The Clients Guide to Law Firms

Leah Woodnott
    • Leah Woodnott

    • Graduate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
    • View profile
 

Talk Money Week

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Talk Money Week takes place between 8 November to 12 November. The awareness week is an opportunity for people to have more open conversations about their finances with their loved ones. It is important for people to be open and have frank...

TV drama highlights the importance of LPAs

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I recently watched Channel 4’s “Help” starring Stephen Graham who played a resident at a fictional care home, Bright Sky Homes and Jodie Comer who played a carer working at the care home. The drama showed how COVID-19 was spread in care...

Can I leave gifts to charities in my will?

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Did you know that one of the best ways to support charities is to leave a legacy to them in your will? Charities often rely on donations made under a deceased’s will to keep the charity going financially, as most charities do not receive lottery...

Licence to gift! Daniel Craig will not be gifting his estate

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Daniel Craig has recently made the news, as he has commented again that his children will not inherit his £117 million estate when he passes away. His philosophy is “get rid of it, or give it away before you go”. Daniel, along with many...

Government's plan to modernise lasting powers of attorney

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The government has recently announced that they are looking to make changes to the ways lasting powers of attorney are created. What are lasting powers of attorney? Lasting powers of attorney, or LPAs, are...

Lasting Powers of Attorney - registration delays

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The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) announced that severe delays in processing Lasting Powers of Attorney applications are due to social distancing rules limiting the number of people in the office. The OPG has stated that once the court fee is received,...

Leaving specific items to loved ones in your will

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You may have watched a recent episode of the BBC One show, the Repair Shop, where a lady was stunned after finding out a painting that had been passed down to her by her grandparents, was one of the earliest paintings of King Charles II. Often family...

Providing your loved ones with financial security

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It has recently been reported that when the Queen Mother passed away, she left a substantially larger amount to Prince Harry than Prince William in her will. The Queen Mother based her decision on Prince Harry’s financial future. She thought that he...

Why Kate Garraway is unable to make decisions for Derek

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Kate Garraway’s situation regarding her husband, Derek Draper, and his battle with COVID-19 has hit the headlines several times over the past year. Derek has been in hospital struggling with the long-term effects of COVID-19 for over a year....

Could you be entitled to an unclaimed estate?

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If you pass away without leaving a valid will and no known family to inherit your estate, then your estate by law passes to the Crown as ownerless property. Ownerless property is often referred to as “Bona Vacantia”. If you have ever watched...

Border collie inherits $5 million!

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Bill Dorris, a wealthy American businessman passed away, leaving a valid will, which placed $5 million in trust for his beloved dog, Lulu! Bill was unmarried with no children and his love for the 8 year old border collie shone through when he executed his...

Options for paying for care fees

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Many people find it tough to hear that in most cases there is no getting away from the fact that you will have to pay for your own care needs. You work hard your whole life and then when the time comes and you need care assistance, your assets can easily be...

Why the younger generation need a will

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Anyone over the age of 18 can make a will, as long as they have sufficient mental capacity to do so. So why is there a stigma attached to making a will so young? People do not like thinking about death and especially about their own passing, but it is...

Do I need to make a new will if I remarry?

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Many people do not know that if you get married, this automatically revokes your last will prior to the marriage. To ensure that your assets pass in accordance with your wishes, you will need to update your will once you remarry. ...

Online portal for lasting powers of attorneys

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If you have registered lasting powers of attorneys (LPAs) in England and Wales after 17 July 2020, the Office of the Public Guardian has released a new online portal whereby the donor and attorneys can access online information regarding the LPAs. Click...

Appointed as Property and Financial Affairs Attorney

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Appointed as Property and Financial Affairs Attorney – what now? Often many attorneys appointed under a lasting power of attorney (“LPA”) do not take up an active role straightaway and so may not know what to do when the time comes to take...

Giving your inheritance to charity

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Caroline Flack’s mother has recently announced that she will be varying the terms of Caroline’s estate. This will mean several charities will inherit her fortune. Caroline tragically took her own life earlier this year and passed away without...

The gift of money at Christmas

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Christmas! Yes, that is right, I am thinking about Christmas already! This has been an unusual and unforgettable year and no doubt Christmas 2020 will also be one people will not forget. At a time where families come together (hopefully, if the...

Nurse arrested for trying to care for her mother

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A retired nurse, Ylenia Angeli, has recently been arrested after she removed her mother, aged 97, from a care home on the evening before England went into another lockdown. Ylenia commented stating that she took “drastic action” due to not...

Woman forged mother's will

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The Nottingham Crown Court has announced recently that a deceased’s daughter, Susan Johnson, has pleaded guilty for fraud. After Susan’s mother passed away in 2016, Susan forged her mother’s will by imitating her mother’s signature...

Attorneys - are you allowed to accept a gift?

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If you have been appointed as a Financial Affairs Attorney under a lasting power of attorney , then you have the responsibility to the donor to act in their best interests. In many instances, the donor appoints a family member or close friend to look after...

Can I leave anything in my will for my pets?

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When considering making a will , people automatically think about what people or charities they would like to leave their assets to. But what happens to your pets? Pets are often thought of as one of the family and your pet deserves to be looked after in a...

15 events that should make you update your will

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Anyone over the age of 18, who has mental capacity, can make a will . This outlines what will happen to their estate once they pass away. So long as a person has mental capacity, they can update their will as many times as they wish in their lifetime....

Essex Digital Pride - LGBTQ+ friendly laws

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As many of you will know, Essex Pride this year is being hosted online, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. During this unusual time, I think it is important to reflect on the laws that have come into force to provide equality to LGBTQ+ families. The Gender...

Making a will during the Coronavirus

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My clients tell me that the current situation has made them think about whether they need to make a will, or whether their current will no longer reflects their wishes. As a firm, we are following government guidance and are now working from home, but we are...

Arranging a funeral during COVID-19

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The government has recently published guidance online for individuals who are arranging funerals. There are restrictions on how many people can attend funerals and the types of services that can now take place, in order to help prevent the spread of...

Deputies and attorneys must maintain their duties

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The Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”) has recently published guidance regarding deputies and attorneys’ duties in England and Wales whilst they are in isolation. The OPG have stated that deputies and attorneys must continue in their...

How to check if a COVID-19 patient has an attorney or deputy

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The Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”) has recently published guidance notes detailing how NHS staff or local authorities in England and Wales can check to see whether a COVID-19 patient has a Deputyship Order, lasting power of attorney or...

Increase of Capital Gains Tax allowance

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, presented the 2020 Budget on 11 March 2020 and announced that the government will be increasing the Capital Gains Tax allowance for the 2020/2021 tax year. What is Capital Gains Tax? ...

Are you an attorney for someone that is self-isolating?

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The COVID-19 outbreak is causing an influx of attorneys having to take up their appointment under a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney due to the donor self-isolating. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA is a legal document...

Are you self-isolating and need your will updating?

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We know the importance of having your affairs in order can provide you with peace of mind, especially at a particularly unnerving time. The government has issued guidance on social distancing measures and the country should be taking steps to reduce the...

3 things you didn't know about planning for elderly care

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Despite the avalanche of information that’s readily available about later life planning, it can be a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack when it comes to finding the right solution for your family. In a one-hour, one-off fee...

Why you need a will in your twenties

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At 25 years old, this week I decided it was time to get my life admin in order and write my own will. Having previously worked in a Contested Probate team, and now working in the Wills, Trust and Probate team for over a year, really, I should have had a...

What will happen to your cryptocurrency when you die?

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I recently read an intriguing BBC News article outlining the difficulties families have when accessing a deceased’s cryptocurrency. What is cryptocurrency? Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency and...

Traditional funerals are a thing of the past

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I recently read a report by the Co-op called “ The changing face of UK funerals ”. It was interesting to note that the UK is saying goodbye to traditional funeral services. 36% of the people surveyed stated that they would prefer for their loved...

Using your gift allowance at Christmas!

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With the countdown to Christmas getting closer, many people will have started their Christmas shopping. However, have you thought about giving specific Christmas gifts to your loved ones, to reduce the size of your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes? When...

How green is your end of life option?

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I recently read an article by the National Geographic which outlined the environmental toll on the different types of funeral options – burial, cremation and burial at sea etc. Cremations are on the rise due to baby boomers and the ever-adapting end...

Wills discovered at Lloyds Bank - too late for some

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It has been reported by the Financial Times that Lloyds Bank has discovered approximately 9,000 wills in its database that they did not know they had. As a result, many deceaseds’ estates may have been distributed to incorrect beneficiaries! Lloyds...

What happens if you pass away without a will?

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The Office of National Statistics has recently released statistics regarding the UK’s population. Did you know that the UK’s population has reached an estimated 66.4 million?! Interestingly, the statistics show that in 2018, there were 12.8...

Potential Inheritance Tax axe by Chancellor Javid

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Chancellor Sajid Javid certainly hit the news last week after he speculated that getting rid of Inheritance Tax was on his mind. What is Inheritance Tax? Inheritance Tax is a tax incurred on a deceased’s estate....

Amy Winehouse: Back to wills

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The recent news of Amy Winehouse’s ex-husband trying to make a financial claim against her estate, eight years after her passing, provides a stern reminder about the importance of making a will. In 2011, Amy Winehouse died without making a will....

Investing money as an attorney under an LPA

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The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has released updated guidance for attorneys who are appointed under a property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney (LPA). This is for the attorneys who are making investment decisions on behalf of someone...

Intestacy battle!

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Step-sisters, Anna Winter and Deborah Cutler have gone to the High Court to fight over their potential inheritance after elderly parents, John Scarle and Ann Scarle died from hypothermia at their home in Leigh-on-Sea. John and Ann died without leaving a...

Stan Lee's former manager charged with elder abuse

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It has been alleged that comic book writer, Stan Lee, was a victim of elder abuse by his former manager, Keya Morgan. Morgan has been charged with five counts of elder abuse, including false imprisonment, forgery and fraud. Unfortunately, financial abuse...

R-E-S-P-E-C-T your estate planning!

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My previous blog, “Aretha Franklin dies without making a will ”, concluded that Aretha’s family were left with the uncertainty of not knowing how her estate would be divided, as they believed that the soul singer had not left a will. ...

Mental capacity: OPG's safeguarding strategy

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The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has recently released its safeguarding strategy for 2019 to 2025. The OPG’s overall aim is to protect people in England and Wales who may not have the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves....

Grant of Probate redesign!

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The Ministry of Justice announced that from 4 March 2019 all Grants of Probate issued will be subject to a change in appearance, but what is a Grant of Probate? What is a Grant of Probate? A Grant of Probate is a legal...

Probate fee hike and the impact on charities

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In February, I blogged about the new probate application fee structure, which was set to be introduced on 1 April 2019. At that time, there was an increasing amount of speculation as to whether the increase would come into effect on time, due to the ongoing...

What are the duties of an executor of a will?

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When a person dies, many people assume that their next of kin will deal with administering the deceased’s estate, but often this is not the case. When a person makes a will, they will appoint executors who will be responsible for carrying out the...

Increase in death certificate cost

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The Secretary of State has announced that the cost of obtaining a death certificate in England and Wales has increased from £4.00 to £11.00 for each certificate required. What is a death certificate? A death certificate is an official...

Have you and your valentine thought about a will?

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With the country celebrating Valentine’s day this week, love is in the air for many couples across England and Wales. For those planning to get down on one knee and pop the all-important question, have they thought about how their marriage will affect...

Probate fees are increasing!

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The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice, Lucy Frazer, has recently announced an increase in probate fees. Currently, where an estate is worth over £5,000, fixed fees apply of £215 for probate applications made by individuals and...

Artificial intelligence drafting wills

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A recent survey has stated that the British public is not ready for artificial intelligence (AI) to draft their wills. 90% of those who participated in the survey stated they would not want a will drafted using AI alone, without any human input. In England...

What happens when someone dies without making a will

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Avicii, the Swedish international DJ, died in April 2018 after taking his own life. Legal documents have now been made public by the Swedish Tax Agency, which state his parents, Klas Bergling and Anki Liden, are set to inherit his estate worth an estimated...

Are you a parent without a will?

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Royal London has released new statistics stating that 59% of parents either do not have a will or have one that is out of date. When someone dies without a valid will, the intestacy rules are followed, which sets out who will inherit your estate. However,...

Millionaire's postcard will found valid!

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Last month, the High Court of New Zealand held a will scrawled on the back of a postcard to be valid. Kathleen Steiner, a New Zealand millionaire, died aged 59, leaving an estate of circa $2.5 million. Steiner did not formally prepare a will and...

Lodger disputes

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A recent case highlights the vulnerable position when cohabitees unexpectedly survive their partners. Background Sarah Campbell died unexpectedly in 2015 when she was flying to the Canary Islands. Sarah left a valid will...

"princess" cannot manage her finances

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Judge rules Hawaiian “princess” cannot manage her finances and protects her from financial abuse 92 year old, Abigail Kawananakoa, who native Hawaiians consider to be a “princess”, has been found to lack mental...

Carer stole from client with Dementia

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Worcester Magistrates Court has recently made an example out of Sarah Isles, a carer who stole from a 91 year old woman who suffers from dementia. Sarah stole over a thousand pounds from the elderly woman by stealing her bank card,...

Aretha Franklin dies without making a will

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Soul singer, Aretha Franklin, died last month aged 76 without making a will, despite being worth millions. As her family move on from her funeral, they are left with the uncertainty of not knowing how her estate will be divided. Aretha’s attorney,...

Looking after the finances of someone with dementia

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The Solicitors for the Elderly has published a report stating that the number of people diagnosed with dementia in the UK has increased by more than 50% in the last 11 years and now stands at 540,000. What is dementia? ...

Mental Capacity Act 2005 applications at record levels!

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The number of applications made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to the Court of Protection are running at record levels according to the Family Court statistics. Between January to March 2018, there were 8,089 applications made under...

Millennials reliant on inheritance!

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A new report from Sanlan UK has revealed 64% of 25-45 year olds expect to receive an inheritance from their parents and grandparents. The report predicted that millennials are expected to inherit £1.2 trillion in the next 30 years! The CEO,...

Carer stripped of inheritance!

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A High Court Judge has ruled a deathbed will invalid and has stripped a man’s carer from her inheritance. Donna Henderson has been accused of “guiding the hand” of the retired banker and millionaire, Marcel...

Brothers in High Court battle over their mother's estate

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A recent court case involved brothers arguing over their role as executors of their mother’s estate as one claimed he should be entitled to a larger share than the others due to the care he provided for their mother whilst the others ‘left him...

Financial abuse of Buzz Aldrin

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US astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, is suing two of his children and his former business manager for mismanaging his finances after they alleged that he is suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Buzz alleges that the trio has misused his credit...

Danger! DIY wills!

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Only a few weeks ago, the Law Gazette highlighted the importance of seeking professional legal advice when drafting a will, to ensure that a person’s wishes are truly reflected and the correct procedures are carried out. With today’s online...

Millionaire's partner left nothing in will!

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Millionaire, Wynford Hodge died aged 94 last year, leaving nothing to his long-term partner Joan Thompson, aged 79, who he had been cohabiting with for 42 years leading up to his death. Wynford had an estate worth more than £1.5 million when he died...

Objection!

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The Office of the Public Guardian’s annual report has stated 57,702 deputyship orders were being supervised as at 31 March 2017. Of that 57,702, they received 5,327 safeguarding referrals during 2016/2017. When a person has lost capacity and they can...

Adopted son is cut of his natural father's will

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It was announced recently that Charlie Gilmour, adopted son of Pink Floyd’s guitarist, David Gilmour, has been left out of his natural father, Heathcote Williams’, will. Heathcote Williams, who died last year aged 75, changed his will in...

IS UR TXT A WILL?

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This month the Brisbane Supreme Court in Australia has held the wording of a draft unsent text message on a deceased’s phone as valid and as an official will. The text message indicated who the deceased wanted his possessions to be left to, how to...

I'm late, i'm late - get quickly down the rabbit hole for inheritance claims

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If you have recently lost someone and feel that the provision left for you in their estate was not enough to meet your needs, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 may provide you with an avenue of redress, however, you must be...

Why are we waiting? The story of the executor's year

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To the annoyance of many beneficiaries, executors are not bound to distribute the estate of the deceased before the expiry of one year from the death; this is commonly known as “the executor’s year”. Despite its name, it applies to...