Tag Archives: Will disputes

Making a Will by text message in Scotland?

Texting a Will whilst having your coffee and biscuits.

The suggestion is that you could, in the future, make a will by texting, voicemail and email.

It is, just now, England only but, to my mind, not a great idea. I am all for easing Will-making – after all I own MyScottishWill which allows you to make a valid Will at home – but I am not keen on the relaxing of the signing and witnessing arrangements. There is something about that ritual which means that people do not make hasty and unwise decisions.

It also makes it less easy for bad people to strong arm the elderly and vulnerable.  It doesn’t need much imagination  to see what could happen. It happens now with all the checks and balances.

Leaving it to a judge to decide whether it is a valid will is also questionable. In England, there is a whole legal industry of challenging Wills because the law is uncertain as to what you must leave your children. That is not true in Scotland where court fights are rare. The law should be simple and certain. If it has to go to a judge that is potentially very costly and not, I suspect, something that the deceased would have desired.

The making a Will and the reading of it, after a death, is an emotional experience. Let’s not make it harder.

You can make one immediately –  just go to  MyScottishWill

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor

 

 

Lesson for Scots from legal fight over Will

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heather Illot – Picture PA

Will dispute fought out in Supreme Court

I think this story is quite tragic as it deals with a very sad family rift but there is a clear lesson involved.

If you want your wishes followed after your death, you must make a Will.

The story is about English law and Scots Law would have dealt with it differently but the essential fact is that the daughter, in this case, felt that she was entitled to a significant share in her mother’s wealth. Had her mother not made a Will, she would have got it a lot more than the court awarded.

So the moral of the story is, if you are the parent make a Will or what you want may not happen and, if you are the child, don’t fall out with your Mum and Dad!

One very easy, private and inexpensive way to make your Will in Scotland is at MyScottishWill

Bruce de Wert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divorce and your Will in Scotland

Will image

It is surprisingly common that the ex is left something in the Will. Even more startling is that people do not change their will, at all, after a divorce.

Up until the end of 2016, not changing your Will was an option. Divorce had no effect. Not any more! Now if you want your ex to benefit, you have to specify that you have taken the new law into account or the law will treat your ex as if he or she had died before you. This means a new Will or, at least, a change to your existing Will.

That’s advice but  why would someone not change their Will after divorce?

Life isn’t black and white. You can’t live with them but does that mean you lose all respect and affection? Not if my experience of advising clients is anything to go by!

I think there are 2 reasons.

The first is pragmatic and practical. This is a person with whom you have shared a life and, quite possibly, children. Particularly, if the children are young, the ex might well be the appropriate person to care for the them and, unless you can afford a trust, leaving something to your ex may be a reasonable way to ensure that your children benefit. By this I mean that, in Wills, it is all about the blood. My experience is that most of the time Wills only mention the family. If you believe that your ex will leave everything to the children, the thought process is that by leaving something to the ex it will eventually go to the kids. Only someone who knows another intimately can know that person, so you cannot say it is wrong.

The second is some lingering affection and respect and wish to ensure that, if you are out of the picture, the ex should not end up in poverty. Just because you cannot live with them does not mean they are bad people. This reason is especially so if there are no children to leave your estate to.

Anyway, if you are in this category, change your Will now!

Bruce de Wert cropped.and websize

 

I am a solicitor in private practice and Managing Director and owner of online websites where you can make Wills, Powers of attorney and even have a divorce.  I have appeared on the BBC and STV speaking about legal matters on a number of occasions.

 

Bruce de Wert

Making an online Will with MyScottishWill- how does it work?

MSA how does it work

See other videos like this at MyScottishWill

 Video narrative

Making an online will – how does it work?

 

The concept is quite simple. I have set up the website so that it asks you a series of questions and all you have to do is answer those.

These are simple questions, for instance, your name and address and who you want to benefit. You are guided through the system by these questions and at the end of the process you have a valid Will.

You can go backwards and forwards, you can go away and have a cup of coffee, indeed, you can go away for a week and come back and finish it.

What you must understand is that you do not pay a penny until you are quite satisfied.

Having answered all the questions you are, then, presented out with a summary of what you want in your Will.

Once you are completely satisfied, you press the final button. Only then are you are asked to pay.

I have been providing this service online since 2000 and have hundreds of happy customers. The reason I think that there are happy is because it is easy, it is inexpensive and it is private.

See other videos like this at MyScottishWill

Bruce de Wert

 

Bitter family feud over Mum’s houses and her Will

Children can be wicked and I thought my readers may be interested in such a case which has been recently decided in the Court of Session

Lord_Uist

Lord Uist

It involved a vulnerable 80-year-old Mum of three boys, Mrs Audrey Matossian, who was “persuaded” to hand over her three valuable houses to 2 of the brothers. The judge in the case, Lord Uist, said that these sons had a “dominant influence” and “there was an absence of independent advice and assistance.”

Two of the brothers had organised their own Solicitor (that she did not know) and drove their Mum to one of their houses where she met him. They had primed the Solicitor that their mother wanted to hand over the properties and he had prepared the documents ready for her to sign. She did, indeed, sign but, a few days later, she had her own Solicitor draw up a will appointing the third brother as Executor. As the judge said, that showed that she had no real intention of transferring the three properties to the brothers.

Clearly, the two boys cared nothing for their Mum because she ended up with no houses and a large Capital Gains Tax bill.

When Mum died, the executor raised an action asking the judge to “reduce” (reverse) those property transfers and he had very little hesitation in doing so, saying, in legal language, that she was vulnerable and they took advantage of her.

He was, in fact, very critical of all of the brothers who he said had subjected the court to the “undignified spectacle of a family feud”. None of them had backed down and they all wanted their day in court, he said.

Incidentally, the two brothers had the cheek to claim that, even if the judge were to reverse the transfers, they were entitled to compensation for the improvements that they had made to the house. The judge dismissed that, out of hand, saying that they should not gain from their bad intentions.

It goes to show that, sometimes, as Executor, it is worthwhile investigating the circumstances of an earlier transfer if the deceased was vulnerable at the time.

You can read the full judgement as well as a legal news report.

Bruce de Wert cropped.and websizeBruce de Wert

I am a Scottish Solicitor in private practice with over 25 years of experience and have 4 offices at Georgesons and Smiths Grant. As well as the standard legal business model, I also offer Online Divorces and, by a separate limited company, OnlineWills and Powers of Attorney.

If you wish to consult me, please e-mail me at [email protected] in the first instance.

Challenging Wills in Scotland – Part 1 – the basics


Challenging the will In this series of blogs, I shall be dealing with the main issues that I have experienced in dealing with claims on Estates.

That experience is from both sides, acting, on various occasions for the claimant and, on others, for the Executor.

I shall write, later, on the situation where there is no Will at all – or, at least, not one that can be found.

Looking at the big picture, when compared to England, there are few legal challenges to Wills in Scotland. This is because the law lays down strict rules whereby children and spouses, disappointed by the provision (or lack of it) in the Will can claim specific amounts or percentages of the estate of a deceased whereas, in England, the law is judge-made and each case is judged on it’s merits.

That is not to say that the manner of identifying the specific amount is simple. It is apparently so but subject to a number of complex quirks so, sometimes, it is worth challenging what is offered or, at least, having the calculation checked.

Co-habitees, incidentally, are in a special situation with their own rules and I intend to write about that, also.

Most of the cases I have dealt with relate to such claims but there are others where the challenge is much more fundamental and relates to the validity of the Will itself or, where there is no doubt as to its validity, it’s interpretation.

On other occasions, there are challenges to the actions of the Executor in implementing (or failing to implement) the Will of the deceased. Sadly, not everyone acts as they ought and, whilst most challenges succeed because of ignorance of the law (even from some Solicitors as it is complex and specialised), there are dishonest executors out there and even, very sadly (but, thankfully,  very rarely), dishonest Solicitors that need to be brought to book.

More soon.

Bruce de Wert cropped.and websizeBruce de Wert

I am a Scottish Solicitor in private practice with over 25 years of experience and have 4 offices at Georgesons and Smiths Grant. As well as the standard legal business model, I also offer Online Divorces and, by a separate limited company, Online Wills and Powers of Attorney.

If you wish to consult me, please e-mail me at [email protected] in the first instance.

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