Law Society research: millions of Britons have no will – The Law Society

Law Society research: millions of Britons have no will – The Law Society.

 

It is, as we have said for a long time, the exception rather than the rule.  Somewhat horrifying to think that over two thirds of us do not have wills.

I’m dealing with some intestacies at the moment, and practically speaking, although we can deal with things amicably  (hopefully) within a family, the extra work involved, and the trauma for the family of deciding who is going to do what, who is going to be responsible for making difficult decisions, and the fact that no-one is immediately able to do things on behalf of the estate is tragic.  For less than £200, the client could have saved hours of worry, hours of legal time, so much angst and family difficulties, and prevented the delay in administration – if there had been a will, the house could be on the market now – the estate agents will not risk signing a contract with someone who may not be the administrator, or they might not get their money back.

That is just the problem – Lasting Powers of Attorney are needed in lifetime to make life easier and better for the living who are vulnerable.  Wills are your last chance to make things easier for those you leave behind.  And if you are not a single person with no spouse or children, or grandchildren, then there are all those who are depending on you.  And wishing that you had appointed guardians, and made things clear for you.

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Wright and another v National Westminster Bank Plc [2014] EWHC 3158 (Ch)

Applying Pitt v Holt – Unilateral transaction — life death litigation.

I can’t find a publicly downloadable account of the judgment in this case, and this report does quote some of the detail.

The lesson being highlighted for practitioners is that the gift of something must be certain.

I wonder whether there was adequate advice on the part of the advisor assisting them with setting up an intervivos trust.   Perhaps it might have been part of the advisor’s targets to sell this sort of structure.

Perhaps even, there were detailed attendance notes of what was said when, and whether it appeared as if the clients understood that they could not have the income from what was given away, that a valuable source of income on a daily basis would be removed.  Hindsight has a terrible clarity, but surely that is the basis of any advice about giving up assets.  A clarity that this money is no longer yours, but you can watch over it.  With perhaps more care than you have done with your own assets, precisely because it belongs to another

 

Legal ombudsman joins call for tougher controls on will-writing | STEP

Legal ombudsman joins call for tougher controls on will-writing | STEP.

 

One of the things I like about the profession is that we are accountable.  It’s not just an ethical issue – because business and ethics clash horribly sometimes, but because we are regulated into being ethical.

To go without regulation means that the ethics may slide if they conflict with good business sense.   Whilst behaving ethically ought to be consistent with good business, it frequently is not.  Hence why you can sometimes find people being described as “commercially minded” when what is meant is “more concerned with profit for the business than with individual client needs, but staying within the ethical rules by a whisker”.

Regulation is the stick, the wall against which we press our backs – not at all comfortable, but necessary, because being a good person is not enough when the chips are down and you have not reached target, and you could easily add a bit here and a bit there to save your own hide from a flaying by your supervising partner or manager.

Lessons from ‘Clarity on Capacity’ | The STEP Blog

Lessons from ‘Clarity on Capacity’ | The STEP Blog.

The original article was very interesting indeed.  That, coupled with some practical advice on how to get cooperation with a medic at the right time would be very interesting.

 

I have had the doctor refuse to give a capacity opinion on the basis that he was an NHS doctor, and this did not fall under NHS work – it was a private enquiry or opinion, and therefore not something he was prepared to do.