Article & News

Conversations with your Beneficiaries regarding the contents of your Will.

It may seem difficult to discuss the contents of your Will with your family and friends but in a lot of situations it is recommended that the testator (the maker of the Will) should have a full and frank conversation with the beneficiaries (those who will inherit under the Will) as to why certain decisions regarding the estate have been made.

In the Sharp v Hutchins [2015] case. A single man, with no children prepared a Will in 2011 in which his entire estate of £470,000.00 was left to his cousin, and to the son and daughter of a close friend equally. All three beneficiaries were made aware of the existence and contents of this Will.

The testator then prepared a new Will in 2013 leaving his entire estate to a builder who he had become close friends with since he had completed building work at his property. The beneficiaries of the 2011 Will did not know that the Will had been changed and had not heard the testator speak of the new beneficiary before. They challenged the new Will on the grounds of ‘validity’.

Under English law a testator is entitled to leave their entire estate to whomever they wish, although regard should be had to those that may expect to benefit. Even in the most straightforward of Wills, it is advisable to have a conversation with the family as to how the estate is being left. If the testator is not prepared to have that conversation, then a letter (private and separate to the Will) should be left detailing the thought process.

For many it is the shock of not inheriting that causes then to seek redress through the courts. Sometimes taking the time to explain why decisions were made as to how the estate is to be divided to those effected might seem difficult at the time, but could save a disappointed beneficiary the expense and stress of a legal battle.

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Government’s new Help to Buy Isas

Help to Buy Isas are only available to first-time buyers looking to build up enough cash for a deposit. The accounts are available from banks and building societies. The money saved will be ‘topped up’ by the Government at the point of purchase by 25% up to a maximum of £3,000.00.

The Help to Buy Isa is available to any person over the age of 16, who is buying a property for the first time. It is not available for use on a buy to let property. The deposit can be used to purchase a property up to £250,000.00 or £450,000.00 in London.

Couples can open individual accounts, meaning they could potentially claim £6,000 collectively from the Government.
The scheme will be closed to new entrants from 30 November 2019 and the bonus must be claimed, through the purchase of a house, by 1 December 2030.

The Government bonus, can only be claimed through your Solicitor when buying your first home. Should the house purchase fall through, your Solicitor will ensure that the bonus is paid back

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