Facts & Figures' Blog.
Our MD, Simon Webster - a financial adviser of thirty years standing, is regularly interviewed on live radio (Premier and www.heartkent.co.uk in particular) and is oft quoted in the press - follow Facts & Figures in the Press.
Here is a selection of some of his uneditted musings on all things to do with independent financial advice and more besides. Click on the links to the left for more.
A professionally drafted will held to be invalid
The England and Wales Court of Appeal has refused to validate a Will whereby the late Daphne Burgess cut her son out of her £200,000 estate, even though the Will was drafted and executed by an independent and experienced solicitor who had explained its contents to her.
The deceased had made a Will in 1996 splitting her residuary estate equally among her three children, Julia (who was a former magistrate), Peter and Libby. In December 2006, Julia arranged an interview with a solicitor that resulted in the drafting of a different Will - one that split Daphne's estate equally between her two daughters, thereby disinheriting her son, Peter (aside from personal items). Daphne was 78 at that time.
Peter and Libby were completely unaware that this had happened. Their mother died in May 2009 after which they realised what had happened. They decided to contest the Will on the grounds of both testamentary capacity and want of 'knowledge and approval.'The Court of Appeal found in favour of Peter and Libby, ruling that their mother had lacked 'knowledge and approval' of the Will's contents.
It was decided that Julia had been the controlling force behind the rewriting of Daphne's Will, and as a result the 1996 Will would take precedence.While a victory was achieved, it was said that this case should never had gone as far as it did as the entire estate has been consumed by legal costs.Peter said, 'This was never about money. I simply could not let the assertion stand that my mother, to whom I was very close, would cut me out of her Will, and certainly not without talking to me.'
This specific case just goes to show that a Will is not as legally binding as one might think. While, under English law, individuals have testamentary freedom to leave assets to whoever they wish, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 applies. This means that under section 1(d) of this Act, adult children are entitled to bring a claim for reasonable financial provision if they feel that they have not received sufficient provision from their parents' estate or simply because they wish to fight for what they believe the testator/testatrix would have wanted - as appeared to be the case here.