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16 September 2021 Wills and estates

Will disputes are becoming increasingly common due to an increase in the elderly population, a rise in dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers, changes in family structures and the increasing value of estates.  Julie Bradwell a Litigation Solicitor specialising in Contentious Probate gives an overview of the various ways to contest a Will or make claims against an Estate. What are the grounds for contesting a Will or estate? Claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 If you have been left out of a family member or a friend's Will, or if you do not think you have been left enough under a Will, then you may be able to make a claim for reasonable financial provision under the above Act. There are a number of criteria which any potential claimant will need to satisfy…
15 September 2021 Wills and estates

Ryedale Charities Together Make a Will Week Monday 4th – Friday 8th October 2021 Put your affairs in order and help Ryedale Charities Together. During Will Week (4th to 8th October 2021), we will waive our fee for making or updating simple wills, in return for a donation to Ryedale Charities Together. The minimum donation is £150 for a simple single Will and £250 for a simple double Will. For Wills requiring specialist advice a fee can be agreed in advance. To take advantage of this offer, contact us and make an appointment during Will Week, October 4th to 8th. Appointments can be booked during this week to take place at a later date. Please contact Emma Elwess, Lynne Smith or Laura Carter on 01653 692247.
21 July 2021 Wills and estates

Have you recently inherited assets from a family member or a friend who has recently passed away? We appreciate that there are circumstances where you might not necessarily wish to receive a legacy and may wish to re-direct it elsewhere. Some of the common reasons why are as follows: You know/suspect that the deceased’s wishes had changed since they made their Will some years prior and you wish to honour what you believe to be their final wishes. You would like to help out other family members/friends/charitable organisations by passing on wealth to them. You expect that Inheritance Tax will be payable on your death due to the size of your estate before receiving the legacy. You therefore do not wish to increase your net worth further. The substitute beneficiaries on…
21 June 2021 Wills and estates

At present, gifts to charities in your Will are exempt from inheritance tax and would be taken off the value of your estate before inheritance tax is calculated. Leaving money to charity in your Will could also reduce the rate of inheritance tax you pay. The reduced rate of inheritance tax was introduced by the Government in 2012 in order to encourage people to leave money to charity in their Wills. If the estate qualifies, it reduces the inheritance tax rate which is charged from 40% to 36%. To qualify, at least 10% of your net estate (or baseline amount) must be left to a charity or charities. The net estate is, generally speaking, the value left after the inheritance tax nil rate band (which is currently £325,000 and frozen at that level to 2026 or…
12 April 2021 Wills and estates

The horrendous death rates of the coronavirus pandemic have brought one’s own mortality into sharp relief, leading many of us to consider getting our affairs in order in case the worst should happen. The first step in this regard is to make a Will to ensure your property and belongings are distributed according to your wishes when you pass away. If you die without leaving a valid Will it means you have died ‘intestate’ and the law decides who gets what, regardless of need and your relationship. Leaving a Will is particularly important if you are from a farming family as you may also want to ensure the continued success of your business. For example, you may want to pass the farm to a specific child who has continued working on the farm while their siblings have moved…
26 February 2021 Wills and estates

If you are an executor of an estate, you may need to deal with debts that have been left behind. Any estate may have debts to be considered, even if the deceased was wealthy – it is reported that Michael Jackson died with around $500 million worth of debt. ‘Personal debts do not expire on death, they are carried over into the estate,’ says Emma Elwess, Head of Wills & Probate with Pearsons & Ward in Malton. ‘It becomes the responsibility of the executors to make sure those debts are repaid.’ Impact of debts on beneficiaries Naturally, if an estate includes any debts this will mean that there is less to be distributed to the beneficiaries. However, the extent of a beneficiary’s disappointment will depend on the nature of the gift they are expecting as well…
17 February 2021 Wills and estates

Pearsons & Ward is delighted to support the Saint Catherine’s Hospice Make a Will Week. We have agreed to give our time and expertise for free to support Saint Catherine’s Hospice Make a Will Week. We will happily speak with you to take your instructions for a simple Will during this week and draft a professional Will in accordance with those instructions. We will also arrange with you for your Will to be signed by the end of May 2021. In return, you will make a donation to Saint Catherine’s. Our suggested minimum is £125* per single Will and £200* per matching pair. This is payable at the time you sign your Will with us and we will forward the donation to Saint Catherine’s. * If your Will requires advice of a complex nature, or…
16 February 2021 Wills and estates

Will disputes are becoming increasingly common due to an increase in the elderly population, a rise in dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers, changes in family structures and the increasing value of estates.  A Will needs to satisfy a number of criteria to be valid. The presence of any of the factors below may invalidate a Will: Lack of mental capacity when the Will was made. Lack of knowledge and approval of the terms of a Will. Undue influence. This needs to be more than mere persuasion but something that overpowers the will of the person making the Will. Fraud and forgery. Will not properly executed. There are certain formalities set out by the Wills Act 1837 which must be satisfied. This includes a Will being in writing, signed and witnessed. Although there is technically no…
16 February 2021 Wills and estates

This is known as dying Intestate. The Intestacy rules make provision for spouses and certain blood relatives to inherit your assets when you die.  However, the division between your family can be very complicated and it isn’t usually as expected or as you would have intended.  Where there is no Will, a surviving spouse might not be sufficiently provided for financially.  In addition, young children may have access to wealth before they are financially mature.   Any unmarried partners, friends, charitable organisations, step-children and step-grandchildren would not inherit your estate if you didn’t make a Will.  Instead, only spouses, blood relatives and persons adopted into your family would be included.  This could include distant or estranged blood relatives.  If you had no surviving relatives, your estate would pass to the Crown.  If you make a Will, you…
26 January 2021 Wills and estates

Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) on 1 October 2007. Although new EPAs cannot be created, or existing ones amended, EPAs are still valid. EPAs only cover decisions regarding your finances and property, they do not cover health and welfare decisions. If you wish for your attorneys to be able to make decisions regarding your health and welfare, you would be advised to make a new LPA for health and welfare decisions. This would then allow your attorneys to make decisions on your behalf regarding issues such as your daily routine, medical care and where you live. An LPA for health and care decisions can also allow your attorneys to refuse or consent to life sustaining treatment. Not only does an LPA have more options, it also gives more…
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