Private Clients Case Studies

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'When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers she arranged a Lasting Power of Attorney so that we can make financial and welfare decisions for her.'

 

Wills

Dying without a Will - Intestate

We have recently helped to find the family of an elderly gentleman who died without making a Will.  Arthur was unmarried, he was one of ten brothers but he had not made a Will.  A close friend of Arthur asked us to find all of the family members that were entitled to a share in his estate to avoid it passing to the Treasury where it would be used a public funds.

We prepared a family tree and located all but one beneficiary.  As a precaution we arranged insurance for the possibility of the missing beneficiary appearing later to make a claim after the estate had been distributed.

Excluding someone from a Will

Connie is a widow and she has one son who, Connie explains, is a drug addict. The situation is distressing for Connie but she was firm in her view that she does not want to leave anything to her son when she dies. The Will that we have written for Connie excluded her son from the estate but we also wrote an additional statement attached to the Will setting out the reasons for excluding him.

Remarriage makes a Will invalid

After Jenny remarried she came with her husband to sign the documents for buying their new house and it was at this point that she learned that the Will she had made after her divorce and which would leave her house and her money to her two teenage daughters from her first marriage was no longer valid. She had assumed that unless she made a change to it that it remained as she had originally written it. By law, however, when Jenny remarried the Will became invalid since it needed to provide for both families. She simply needed to make a new Will. 

 

Inheritance Tax Planning

Reducing Inheritance Tax

Anne came to see us to discuss how she could reduce Inheritance Tax Liabilities for her children. She has been a widow for 20 years, she owns her own home and also a holiday home in Cornwall which her adult children and their families use more than she does, and the approximate value of her properties and her investments is £800,000. We advised Anne that she could give her holiday cottage to her children now and providing she lives for another seven years there will be no Inheritance Tax to pay.

Financial gifts without burden of IHT

Graeme has a successful IT business which he started 25 years ago. His income from the firm is substantial and far more than he and his wife need. He would like to help his son and daughter financially, they are both married with young families, but he is concerned about tax implications. We have advised Graeme that he can give his son and daughter money provided that is comes out of his income, that it is a regular sum and that it does not affect his own lifestyle and standard of living. If it meets these requirements then the gift will not be subject to Inheritance Tax.

Care Home Fees and Individual Assets

Like many people Emily, who is 86, is concerned about the rising costs of care homes should she need to be cared for in the future. She made an appointment to discuss with us if she could give her house to her son and so if she needed to go into a care home she would not own a house nor have many assets and would therefore expect the Local Authority to assist her with the fees. We explained to Emily that if she gave her house away and subsequently needed to live in a care home that her Local Authority may regard that she had given her son a gift of the house with the intention of avoiding fees. The Local Authority would therefore assess her capital on the basis that she still owned the house.

 

Administration of Trusts

Benefits of a Discretionary Trust

George and Mary have three children. The youngest, Ian, is 23 and lives in a home run by Mencap and he receives state benefits. In their Wills, George and Mary have set up a Discretionary Trust. Their two other children are the trustees and are responsible for investing Ian’s money and letting him have everything he needs. Since the Trust is discretionary Ian’s benefits are unaffected.

We are experienced and efficient in administering Trusts; we can arrange for the submission of annual accounts and tax returns, inheritance tax returns and arrange payments of tax due. We regularly work with other professional advisors and HMRC so we can do the Trust Administration for you, removing any anxiety from you.

 

Power of Attorney

Daughter’s Help Needed to Pay Bills for Mother

After she had fallen down the stairs in her own home and it seemed that she would be in hospital for a number of weeks with her broken hip, broken right wrist and multiple bruises, Marjorie asked her daughter to contact us to find out how her daughter could pay the bills, including the gas and electricity bills, for her. Marjorie did not have a Power of Attorney in place for her daughter so one of our solicitors promptly visited Marjorie in hospital so that she could sign a Power of Attorney and her daughter was then able to sort out her mother’s financial concerns.

 

Living Will

Making Life Plans

Constance is 86 and has no close family. She is concerned that if she had a severe stroke that her doctors would prolong her life by feeding her through tubes. She has decided to make a Living Will setting out her desire that she should not be fed artificially nor should she be resuscitated if her quality of life was likely to be very poor. She has given a copy of her Living Will to her doctor and also to the manager of her care home.

 

Legal Capacity

Ensuring Legal Capacity

Michael is 37 and lives with his mother. He has learning difficulties and wants to buy a flat. We contacted Michael’s doctor who confirmed that Michael was able to understand documents when they were explained to him. This meant that Michael had the Legal Capacity to sign the purchase contract to buy his flat.

 

Probate

Partner without a Will

When one of a married couple dies the estate automatically goes to the living spouse but this does not automatically transfer when one of a partnership dies. Beverley came to us after her partner of 25 years died. He did not have a Will and Beverley has been told by her partner’s parents that she will get nothing. This is not correct because Beverley was financially dependent on Colin and therefore she is entitled to make a claim against his estate.

 

Inheritance Disputes

Carer's influence makes Will invalid

We recently acted on behalf of a brother and sister who believed that their mother had been influenced by her carer to write a home-made Will in which she left most of her large estate to her carer and small legacies to her two children whom she had seen very little.  Their mother had been suffering from slight dementia in recent years.

We helped Elsie's children establish that their mother had made the Will under undue influence of the carer.  The Will was declared invalid and the children were entitled to Elsie's estate.

Inheritance Act 1975 Claim

Alan died leaving three grown up children. In his Will he left his estate to his daughter and one son. His eldest son, John, was excluded from the Will because Alan did not like John`s wife. We successfully helped John make a claim against his father’s estate as he felt that he should have received a benefit from his father’s Will.