Tony Crocker

Tony Crocker is Director of IWC Estate Planning & Management Ltd. With over 15 years’ experience, he is knowledgeable and proficient in all matters regarding Probate, Will writing, Estate Planning and Inheritance tax avoidance. In addition, he has a wealth of experience in dealing with estate settlements and issues with the capital taxes office in the event of bereavement. As a member of the Society of Will Writers & Estate Planning Practitioners, he is widely respected within the field, having helped many people at difficult points in their lives through complex probate and tax issues. Tony Crocker

Property Protection Trust

Property Protection Trust

Worried about Care home fees? Thinking of setting up a Property Protection Trust. Find out the facts about placing your property into Trust. Are you concerned over what may be seen as deliberate deprivation. Placing a property into trust without careful planning can be fraught with risk.

Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting Power of Attorney by Tony Crocker

Making a will

Making  a Will

There are some things that can’t – or shouldn’t – be included when making a will. There are various reasons for this, some of which are legal ones, some a common sense ones, and some are simply because you cannot instruct someone to do something that is against their will (and/or against the law).

Although your last will and testament is your own personal document, allowing you to decide who will receive what from your estate, when making a will it should not necessarily be used as a way to send final messages. There are other ways to do this, including letters and notes for your solicitor.

In your will, you cannot leave a property that is in joint tenancy to someone not named on the lease. This is because when you die, the person who shares the joint tenancy with you will automatically receive your share of the property (even if your will says otherwise). The same is true for a trust, or for life insurance that has a named beneficiary – these are legal items and your will does not take precedence over them if you name someone different.

It is also a good idea not to put funeral instructions in your will. (Information on pre-paid funeral plans). Although this might seem like the perfect place to write them down, often wills are not read until after the funeral, which is the first item to organise once a person has died. Because of this, important last wishes could be missed. Therefore, it is better to discuss with your family and friends exactly what you want at your funeral, and perhaps to leave a note with your executor so that your final goodbye will be exactly as you hoped.

Although it is possible to put conditions on bequests, if they are illegal, or if they mean that the beneficiary must marry a particular person (or divorce their current spouse), or change their religion will not be enforced. And you must bear in mind that, although you might have put these provisions on a gift (ie that the money must be used for a specific use), no one is able to ensure that this actually happens.

Arranging special care for someone when making a will is not ideal. The best way to do this is through a trust, which means that the required money will be specifically set aside.

Finally, you cannot leave gifts to a pet in your will, as they are not legally able to own anything. Instead, you can ensure that you leave the care of the pet (and possibly some money with which to do it) to a specific person. A trust fund including a discretionary trust could also be used for this purpose. 

If you are interested in making a will then please call us on 0800 612 6105 or 020 8150 2010

Invalid Will drafted by Solicitors

 

Two siblings were relieved recently, when a Court of Appeal judge ruled that their mother’s will, which was drafted by an experienced solicitor, was declared to be an invalid will.

Daphne Burgess died in 2009, leaving a will which stated that her estate was to be distributed between her two daughters, but would not include her only son, Peter, who would inherit nothing.

Her son, along with one of her daughters, Libby, contested the will as they had not been a party to the drafting of the document nor had been informed about it. In addition, although the other daughter Julia and her brother had fallen out, there had been no disagreement between mother and son. Of course, this made the wishes expressed in the will, particularly suspect.

The solicitor concerned was considered to be very experienced in this sector – indicating that he prepared one will each week on average. However, the trial judge found that Daphne had not in fact been mentally capable of making the decisions contained within the document, declaring it invalid.

Intestacy affects Rocks stars estate

 

Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore unfortunately left no will and no instructions on how to distribute his £2 million estate, it has been revealed and thus the intestacy rules apply.

Having failed to prepare a will, this now means that his girlfriend Petra Nioduschewski, to whom he is reported to have proposed shortly before his death, will receive absolutely nothing according to intestacy rules.

Instead, under English probate law the proceeds of Mr Moore’s entire estate is likely be divided equally between his four children.

The musician died two years ago in Spain, following a binge drinking session. Sadly, it seems that the rock star lifestyle became a reality for this talented guitarist who perhaps forgot or chose not to take care of his practical responsibilities as a partner and father until it was too late. This we are afraid is all too common amongst UK citizens. If you do not make a will your estate passes under the laws of intestacy and it may just be that the dying intestate affects the people you leave behind more than you realise.

If you need to find out about Making your will please visit our main site. Our online will form lets you input the details for your will very easily. We will then create your will for just £25.00 including VAT, 

Inheritance money not being relied on in later life

 

Reports recently have suggested that many UK adults are not preparing or planning financially for their retirement, but are basing their income in later years on monies received via an inheritance or an unclaimed estate.

Among the wealthy however, it seems the opposite is true and that money is very much being self-made, rather than inherited.

A survey carried out by Barclays Bank among some of the UK’s highest net worth individuals revealed that around 45% earned their money through entrepreneurship, whilst only around 14% said that they had inherited their money from relatives or other family members.

The bank puts these statistics down to an “explosion” of entrepreneurship, triggered by technology, globalisation and emerging markets.

Savvy small business owners and entrepreneurs have their finger on the pulse and have been able to ride the wave of the economic downturn, therefore continuing to amass their wealth.

Whereas perhaps in the past, many of these individuals would have relied heavily upon a substantial inheritance from their parents, they now claim that it is easier to create wealth in today’s modern markets, despite the recession.

Regardless of how wealthy an individual is it still also seems likely that the majority of people in the UK still have not made a will. Statistics still say that 70% of the population do not have a will This is staggeringly high considering the complications involved in intestacy and the intestacy rules.  More so considering that todays family dynamic is for second marriages and or living with long term partners.

Wealthy widow probate dispute continues

 

Although it is always advised to leave sufficient funds to ensure the financial well being of those you leave behind – at least for the short term, even we were staggered when we read about property widow, Rosana Berger's probate dispute.

The late Clive Zola Berger, a property tycoon, died in 2005, leaving behind an estate worth around £7 million. Rosana, his second wife, at that time aged 77, was to be allowed to remain in the £4.25 million family home for the rest of her life. In addition, a large portion of the estate, valued at almost £3 million, was to be put into a trust, providing her with an income for life.

Most of us would dream of being left such an inheritance. However, Mrs Berger has since been disgruntled, claiming that the resulting £50,000 per year income is not sufficient to fund her lifestyle, with staff for the eight bedroom home costing £33,000 per year.

When asked how much she would need to live comfortably, Mrs Berger stated a figure of £222,540 per year – a figure which, perhaps understandably, Mr Berger’s sons from his first marriage – are questioning.

Mrs Berger has been told by a High Court judge that she has left it too late to make a claim.

Funeral Planning on a budget

 

I watched an interesting item the other day, featured on the Daybreak programme, which discussed how many people felt the charges for organising a funeral were excessive and how some companies in the industry were taking advantage of these people at a vulnerable time.

The feature went on to talk about how although on average, funerals tend to cost around anywhere up to £7000, there are ways to reduce this cost considerably, if you’re prepared to plan most of it yourself.

It may surprise you to know that hiring a funeral director to arrange everything is not a requirement, although at such a difficult time, most of us choose to hand over the funeral planning details to someone with experience.

We all have differing views on burial and cremation which may not even necessarily depend on our religion. It’s worth having the conversation now with your spouse, siblings and parents, to see whether they have any strong views, one way or the other. What should be bourne in mind is that a burial can cost substantially more than a cremation.

Whilst you’re having that conversation, why not also find out if they have any preferences with regards to a coffin? If they want to be cremated when the time comes, then buying an expensive coffin may not be a sensible choice if the budget is tight. Costs can vary widely, depending on choice of wood and accessories. If your loved one cares about the environment, they may even opt for a bio-degradable coffin, rather than an expensive wooden one.
Items such as flowers and stationery can also be bought quite reasonably, if you take the time to shop around.

Although it’s traditional to hold a reception of some kind after the funeral, so that friends and family can socialise, share their memories and pay their respects; remember that this doesn’t have to be held in a pub or other venue. Why not hold it in the deceased’s home or your home instead and ask close relatives to help out with the catering? In many cases, they’ll be glad that they can play an active part and it will give them something else on which to focus.

Finally, the last thing you want is to cause your family financial hardship and additional stress, to add to their grief when you’re gone. Why not do one last thing for them and plan in advance by paying small amounts into a funeral plan, so they don’t have to worry so much about budgeting for your funeral?  For help with funeral planning please call us

Mental capacity row over will

 

An interesting case was reported last week, whereby a Leicester-based firm of solicitors was being sued for over £1 million by a woman who claims that it did not rewrite a will when it was requested, resulting in a substantial personal loss to her.

The deceased was a wealthy woman who wrote several wills throughout her lifetime, each time leaving the bulk of her £2.6 million estate to her cousin and former GP.

After her husband died and she moved into a nursing home however, her step- granddaughter claims that she wished to change her will a final time (several weeks before she died) to leave the majority of the estate to her.

According to her step-granddaughter, the law firm did not adhere to the deceased’s wishes and she was forced to prepare a will online for her grandmother, leaving it open to a contest of probate by the cousin and GP, which she lost and was forced to pay almost £1 million.

In response, the law firm stated that the solicitor concerned had received conflicting information about the mental capacity of the deceased’s mental health at the time and quite rightly, had insisted about speaking to her about it personally before agreeing to write a new will. Unfortunately, she died before she was able to do so.

The hearing continues in the High Court.

The problems of intestacy – a case in point

 

Where a person doesn’t make a will, it can often cause tension and squabbles among beneficiaries after their death.

This is particularly so where the deceased leaves behind a considerable amount of money, either in cash or tied up in trusts or property.

Such was the case when a wealthy widow died, leaving not just a property but an entire estate. She had two sons, one of whom still lived on the estate, independently.

Although the rules of intestacy state that both brothers should have been entitled to administer and benefit from the estate mutually and equally, what in fact happened was that without any discussion, one brother applied for the grant of letters of administration, without mentioning the other.

To be sensible and fair, the two brothers, once equally responsible for administering the estate, would then have had the additional discussion of how they wanted to divide the assets between them.

Instead, the second brother was both confused and anxious about whether or not he would be involved in the process at all and how to go about asking for a share of the estate, without upsetting the other brother.

The second brother was advised that if his sibling continued to refuse to cooperate, then legal action should be taken and ultimately, his brother could be removed as personal representative.

All of this was of course completely unnecessary and was a split which wouldn’t have happened, if their mother had quite simply made a will, detailing who should receive what as opposed to dying intestate in the UK

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