The courts, a vital public service, have continued to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unless very good reason to the contrary can be demonstrated, active cases will generally proceed at every stage in litigation. The following article will provide an overview of the current process of court hearings, the longer-term implications and the approach to hearings and litigation.
Wills and estate planning
Do I need a witness when I sign my Will?
Under the Wills Act 1837 in order for a Will to be valid, amongst other requirements, it must be:
- Signed by the person making the Will (or signed by a person in their presence and by their direction)
- The signature must be made in the presence of two witnesses
- Each witness must also sign the Will in the presence of the person making the Will
How do you correctly sign your Will if you are self-isolating?
Welcome to Stone King's Winter edition of the Legacy Bulletin.
In this edition;
Can charity legacy officers challenge the costs of other professionals acting as Personal Representatives?
This article considers whether charity legacy officers can challenge charges incurred by personal representatives, who are not solicitors but are acting in a professional capacity and where the Will allows for payment to be received for their time and services. Again, if you are a charity beneficiary who has concerns about the level of charges being levied, there is a means of challenging those charges.
Legacies left to UK charities under a Will are an important source of income for charities. However the costs incurred in administering the estate can often seem excessive and charity beneficiaries (particularly residuary ones) who have concerns about the costs being charged by the solicitor acting as executor or on behalf of the executors of a Will, often can be left feeling like they have no control.
At the start of last year HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) announced that its arrangement with Smee & Ford would be terminated. Smee & Ford, a private company, had previously offered a paid-for bequest notification service to charities however, after reviewing the arrangements, HMCTS found that these were “not consistent with the department’s legal duties”.
Many people don’t realise that any change in marital status will change the effectiveness of a Will. If you don’t keep your Will updated as life changes, you could be in danger of leaving loved ones without the inheritance you intended and a family dispute over your estate.