The Practical Lawyer

Wills, probate and administration

Proprietary estoppel – relief

A claimant’s expectation is not determinative of the relief to be granted. In this farming case, the facts are all too familiar: the adult child (L) was one of four children and she brought a claim for proprietary estoppel on the basis of various assurances made to her by her parents over the preceding years. 
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Wills – destruction; rebuttable presumption

A certified copy of a will was admitted to probate, even though a claimant (C) argued that the original was revoked by destruction. 
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Inheritance tax – agricultural relief

The government has issued updated guidance on agricultural relief for inheritance tax.
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Procedure – delays in administration

A claim for costs was made under s50 AJA 1985 in a case where £180,000 in combined legal fees represented nearly half the value of the estate concerned. The probate firm involved was ordered to pay half the claimant’s costs.

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Power of attorney – validity

The powers of attorney in a recent case were granted in the context of a share sale, but private client practitioners will benefit from the clarity given by the court on the validity and execution of a POA.

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Procedure – mental capacity

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 became law on 16 May 2019 and amends the MCA 2005 in relation to certain procedures. Specifically, it amends procedures in accordance with which a person may be deprived of liberty where the person lacks capacity to consent, with a new system for authorising deprivations of liberty in care.

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Probate – beneficial ownership

The claimants sought a declaration that the sale proceeds of a property were held on trust by two defendants as estate administrators. The claim was brought by S’s former wife (W) and her father against her former brother-in-law (R) and R’s wife. There was a third defendant who was the only child of S and W. S died in 2014.

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Procedure – new grant of probate

The new-style grant of probate certificate has been issued by HMCTS as of 4 March 2019 although the earlier form of certificate is still valid. 
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Probate – forfeiture

The wife of a patient who died at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland successfully applied for relief against forfeiture under s2 Forfeiture Act 1982.

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Inheritance claim – adult child

An adult child (T) has lost her claim under the I(PFD)A 1975 against her father’s £1.3m estate in a ruling bucking the recent trend for successful claims by adult children.

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