Lawyers have warned that families are disinheriting children by wrongly completing ‘Do It Yourself’ Wills. The kits have led to a rise in people preventing family members from being a beneficiary of their will by asking them to be a witness to their signature, ruling them out of receiving anything in the estate. Nicola Waldman, of Hodge Jones & Allen, said: “It is often a result of people trying to complete wills themselves, not understanding the small print.”

Daily Mail, Page: 43

Posted 14/03/2018



Sir Ken Dodd, who was famously cleared of false accounting in the 1980s, has prevented the taxman from getting a penny from his estate by getting married two days before he died. The size of the Sir Ken’s estate was estimated recently at £7m, which could have meant a £3m IHT bill had he not married Anne Jones last week. Tasnim Khalid, head of wills, trusts and estate planning at JMW Solicitors, said: “Leaving an estate to a legally married spouse rather than a partner or cohabitee has huge tax advantages.”

The Times, Page: 17 Daily Mail, Page: 11 The Sun, Page: 5 The Herald, Page: 3

Posted 13/03/2018


The Sunday Times warns that a rise in the number of divorces, remarriages and couples cohabiting – combined with a general apathy towards dealing with pensions – means many people could inadvertently be handing valuable benefits to former partners when they pass away. Figures released today reveal that more than 750,000 savers are at risk of leaving their pension to the wrong person, such as a former boyfriend or an ex-wife, because they have failed to update important paperwork after they split up.

The Sunday Times, Business and Money, Page: 14

Posted 25/02/2018


Tax specialists have warned that middle-class families could end up losing more of their estates to death duties after Philip Hammond ordered a review of the entire IHT system. NFU Mutual’s Sean McCann said: “This could quite easily be a money-making opportunity for the Chancellor, especially if he looked at some of the inheritance tax reliefs which are currently quite generous. It could end up being quite lucrative.”

Daily Mail, Page: 21

Posted 01/02/2018

Refunds for power of attorney fees

Hundreds of thousands of people who overpaid for power of attorney will be able to claim a partial refund from tomorrow. Applications have soared in recent years, with 2.5m registered in England and Wales in the past decade, but it emerged last year that thousands of people overpaid when registering their document.

Daily Mail, Page: 51

Posted 31/01/2018


Research from Lloyds Bank shows two thirds of adults with online pensions, investments, savings and bank accounts have failed to inform next of kin about their accounts, leaving assets at risk of disappearing after death. Lloyds’ director of bereavement, Paul Sheehan, says people need to take more care of their online finances as we shift away from paper: “Digital makes managing your finances easier, but it can make things more difficult for next of kin taking on your financial affairs when you die, as so many are financially unprepared for death.”

Daily Express, Page: 28

Posted 10/01/2018



The FCA have stated that power of attorney should be granted online to make it easier to apply. The regulator said: “We would like to see the OPG and other authorities in the devolved administrations develop more customer-friendly approaches to setting up, registering, storing and understanding Lasting Power of Attorney”. However, lawyers have warned that the move would put older people at higher risk of fraud. A helpline for elderly people, Action on Elder Abuse, has found that each year more than 160,000 over 65s are victims of financial abuse.

The Telegraph    The Sun, Page: 9

Posted 22/09/2017


With latest figures revealing HMRC collected £4.8bn in IHT last year, the Telegraph looks at some of the ways in which families can limit death duties. One tactic increasingly recommended by financial advisers is to buy a life insurance policy. “As long as the policy is ‘in trust’ the sum assured will go to the beneficiaries and will not be subject to inheritance tax,” says Ed Fairey of Ed Fairey Associates.

The Daily Telegraph, Your Money, Page: 4

Posted 02/09/2017

A retired window cleaner who inherited £300,000 from one of his customers could be jailed after failing to hand the money back to her family. Albert Pearce was left the fortune when 98-year-old Julie Spalding changed her will. In 2014 her nephew successfully challenged the will. However, Mr Pearce has been declared bankrupt after claiming he had spent or lost the entire fortune.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 3

Posted 31/08/2017


The Dogs Trust is one of four charities claiming a will that cut them out of a woman’s £340,000 estate is invalid. Tracey Leaning left the charities her assets in her will in 2007 but wrote a new one in 2015, leaving everything to her partner, Richard Guest. That will, which was handwritten and witnessed by a neighbour, was on the understanding that Mr Guest stayed at the house and gave her dogs a home. Wilsons Solicitors, acting on behalf of the charities, said: “Our solicitor is liaising with the other involved parties to ensure that Miss Leaning’s estate is administered in accordance with her last valid will.”

The lesson to take from this is that home made wills can be open to dispute;  it is safer to seek advice from a qualified solicitor before drawing up or amending a will.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 7

Posted 21/08/2017