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Wills, probate and administration

Probate – domicile

 A series of temporary homes, occupied while being redeveloped to be sold at a profit, is not inconsistent with an intention to make England and Wales a person’s ‘sole or chief residence’.
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Inheritance claims – interim payments

When can the court exercise its statutory power to award interim payments to a claimant under the Inheritance Act? This issue rarely comes before the court and the author of this article highlights the court’s approach to the issue, and practical points of note that emerge from it.
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Court of Protection – ratification of gifts

The COP allowed a deputy’s application for ratification of gifts previously made on P’s behalf, and authority to make prospective gifts on his behalf. The application was essentially for tax purposes but the COP allowed the application on the basis of the submissions of the Official Solicitor.
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Court of Protection – deputies

 A charitable trust corporation could be appointed as a professional deputy for property and financial affairs for a protected person. This COP ruling provides important clarification on the ability of a trust corporation, which is not SRA regulated, to be appointed as a deputy.
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Wills - the commorientes rule

The commorientes rule has been applied by the High Court in a case where step-siblings were locked in a dispute following the death of a husband and wife. This was an unusual case in which the coroner could not determine who had died first - the spouses had died of hypothermia in their home.

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Wills - proprietary estoppel

A couple who own a farming business and related assets have been ordered to pay a lump sum following a failure to leave the farm and farming business to one of their sons (S) in their wills, the High Court has ruled.

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Procedure - contested probate

The parties can be compelled to attend early neutral evaluation (ENE), the Court of Appeal has ruled in an inheritance dispute. A widow had brought a claim under the I(PFD)A 1975 against her late husband's estate.

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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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Most-read articles

Inheritance claims – interim payments
Wednesday, 09 October 2019
When can the court exercise its statutory power to award interim payments to a claimant under the Inheritance Act? This issue rarely comes before the court and the author of this article highlights... Read more...
Refund entitlement – taxable amount not reduced
Wednesday, 09 October 2019
In their monthly VAT update, EY report on a case that will be interesting to lawyers as the facts involved an SDLT avoidance scheme (perhaps unsurprisingly, the four companies involved are in... Read more...
Costs – challenge promptly
Friday, 04 October 2019
Litigation solicitors will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief to note that a costs judge has refused a claimant’s application to challenge a solicitor’s bill that was agreed and approved over four... Read more...
Serving overseas – check the rules
Friday, 04 October 2019
 It might sound obvious, but if a firm is instructed to serve proceedings overseas, the firm must ensure that the rules of service in the relevant country are properly observed. The CA recently... Read more...
Pet rent – permissible
Friday, 04 October 2019
The excellent Pain Smith blog reminds us about the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (which we reported on in our previous editions – March 2019 (p27) and May 2019 (p28)). The Act outlaws letting fees paid by... Read more...
Brexit frustration – update
Friday, 04 October 2019
We reported in our April 2019 edition (p27) on the interesting case where the HC had to consider whether potential departure by the UK from the EU was sufficient to satisfy the legal meaning of... Read more...
Fixtures – what passes on sale of land?
Friday, 04 October 2019
Property lawyers will recall their land law, which states that fixtures can pass on the sale of land but fittings do not. This can be seen as an archaic distinction – but a recent HC case has... Read more...
Parents – gender
Thursday, 03 October 2019
 A definition of the term ‘mother’ has been established for the first time under English common law in a landmark case. At issue was: where a person born female who has undergone gender... Read more...
Drugs and alcohol – managing in the workplace
Thursday, 03 October 2019
An interesting article reminds employers to review their drugs and alcohol policies and breaches of them in the light of recent developments. Businesses are increasingly expected to support employees... Read more...
Terrorism – notice of detention
Thursday, 03 October 2019
A revised notice of detention which examining officers must provide to someone detained under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 has been published by the government. The notice gives information... Read more...

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