The Practical Lawyer

Wills, probate and administration

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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Probate – mistake

There can be serious consequences of ‘mistake’ during the administration of estates, including financially disastrous consequences.

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Inheritance claims – limitation periods

In a decision seemingly at odds with a recent ruling (Cowan v Foreman) on limitation periods in dependency claims, the court has allowed a claim to be made under the I(PFD)A 1975 more than 25 years after the limitation period expired.

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Most-read articles

Power of attorney – validity
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
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... Read more...
LeO – VAT and costs information
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
We have reported above that LeO has issued updated costs guidance. Costs complaints often involve disputes above whether VAT was included in the price. The updated guidance states that VAT is often... Read more...
Firm reprimanded – poor language
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Solicitors are reminded that they are officers of the court at all times and are expected to maintain an appropriate level of courtesy throughout their professional dealings. Read more...
Group action – stays in Liverpool
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
It is interesting to note that the High Court has refused to transfer a multibillion-pound class action from Liverpool to London. The action involves some 200,000 claimants who are suing a mining... Read more...
Fixed recoverable costs – payable if £25k limit exceeded
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Fixed recoverable costs (FRC) prescribe the amount of damages that can be claimed back from a losing party in civil litigation; they are a way of controlling the legal costs by giving certainty in... Read more...
Section 21 notice – amended form introduced
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Under Housing Act 1988 an s21 notice gives L an automatic right of possession without having to give any grounds once the fixed term has expired. The notice cannot be used to gain possession during... Read more...
RV – can demand be assumed?
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
To calculate the rateable value (RV) of a property, a valuation officer (VO) must work out what the open market rent would be for the property by applying the rating hypothesis. The purpose is to... Read more...
Proprietary estoppel – successful claim
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Proprietary estoppel is a remedy which prevents the legal owner of a property from asserting their strict legal right in relation to that property when it would be unconscionable to allow him to do... Read more...
Children – care plans
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
What is the court’s approach where there is an impasse with the LA regarding an important element in a care plan? In this case, the CA found that the trial judge’s invitation to the LA to... Read more...
ET fees – £16m still owing
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
In 2017 the SC ruled that ET fees, introduced by the government in 2013, were unlawful. This was on the basis that they were a barrier to access to the ET, particularly for employees on low incomes. Read more...


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