Who is my next of kin?

You have probably heard the term next of kin, but what does it mean?  According to the dictionary or Wikipedia, it means “a person’s closest living relative(s)”.  However, in legal terms, it can mean different people in different situations.  There is no legal definition for “next of kin”.  You may be able to identify who you would consider to be … Read More

What happens to our digital life on death?

Our digital lives seem to know no bounds with every aspect of the way we live today having a virtual dimension should we choose it. Not all that long ago, the topic of digital life would not have been a concern when it came to estate planning or estate administration. However, as it is becoming more common to be consumed … Read More

Grieving families and the Widowed Parent’s Allowance

On the 26 February 2017, the Mirror featured an article with the following headline:  “Grieving families in financial difficulty could face further heartache under Government plans to slash “lifeline” payments” The article describes how MPs are set to debate changes to the Widowed Parent’s Allowance payments, currently made until dependant children leave full-time education. From 6th April, parents could receive … Read More

Probate Court Fees

On the 27 February 2017, the Law Gazette featured an article with the following headline:  “Ministry of Justice confirms hike in probate fees” The article describes how the Ministry of Justice has confirmed a massive overhaul in probate charges, which will see some estates charged up to £20,000. From May this year, subject to parliamentary approval, the MoJ is planning … Read More

Proprietary Estoppel

On the 4 November 2016, The Daily Telegraph reported on a hostile legal battle that had been in progress for 5 years.   The sensational headline read:  “Widow, 91, faces eviction over legal fight with son over his father’s ‘inheritance promise’” The story was about a 91-year-old widow, Margaret Davies.  She fell out with her 70 year old son over … Read More

The Court of Protection

On the 14 October 2016, The Daily Telegraph reported: “Grandmother, 71, sent to top security jail after refusing council’s demands over care” The article contained details of a 71-year-old lady who was sent to a maximum security prison for six months by the Court of Protection.  The facts:  The lady and her brother were originally from Portugal.   Her brother … Read More

Inheritance Act Claims

On the 21 September 2016, The Times ran the following headline:  “George Martin’s children embroiled in war of words over will” Sir George Martin was the record producer who signed the Beatles.  The article contained details of the dispute that has arisen amongst his family over a portion of his Will.   Sir George Martin had been married twice and … Read More

Legal News October 2016 – Undue Influence

Edkins v Hopkins [2016] EWHC 2542 (Ch)  Short Note: Contesting influence  39 Essex Chambers November 18 2016 A recent case (Edkins v Hopkins [2016] EWHC 2542 (Ch), a decision of HHJ Jarman QC sitting as a judge of the High Court) illustrates just how hard it is to get a will overturned on the basis of undue influence. The deceased … Read More

Inheritance Disputes on the Increase

On the 24 September 2016, The Times featured an article with the following headline:  “House price boom produces surge in inheritance disputes” The article describes how court proceedings relating to disputes about Wills are increasing and analyses the factors that may be behind this increase including:  Rising property prices so that children have more to fight over;  High levels of … Read More