We collect and assemble snippets of news that provide updates about the will services industry with particular relevance to expats.
The 5 latest news articles can be viewed by clicking the links below.
For articles older that the latest 5, please view our news archive.
Sarah Travers talks to solicitor, Barry Finlay, about the importance of making a will to avoid further heartbreak and, below, Mr. Finlay answers some of the questions put to him by the public following the broadcast of this edition of Family Focus.
You can certainly sign over you house to your son but unless you thereafter pay a full market rent for it to him the gift will fall foul of the reservation of benefit rules and the full value of the property will therefore form part of your taxable estate at death. For the purposes of nursing home fees, depending on the circumstances at the time of transfer, the gift may be seen as a deliberate deprivation of capital and you may therefore still be liable for fees. You should consult a solicitor who can advise you in more detail on your own specific circumstances and mitigation of any inheritance tax liability.
Yes, and you can have a number of Executors. Remember, though, that whoever witnesses your will cannot be a beneficiary of it.
An Ordinary Power of Attorney is usually created for a set period of time in cases where the Donor is going abroad or is unable to act for some other reason and wishes someone else to have the authority to act on his or her behalf. The authority granted can be general or limited to specific affairs. An Enduring Power of Attorney allows the Donor to appoint a legally authorised person to look after their property and financial affairs should they become incapable of doing so themselves at some point in the future. It remains valid after the Donor has become mentally incapable and must be registered to be effective.
The only certain way to ensure that your spouse, partner or friends inherits what you intend is by making a Will. If you die without having made a Will, the intestacy rules apply in an arbitrary manner, particularly if there are no children. This may lead to your spouse having to share your estate with relatives (e.g. parents, brothers or sisters whom you may never intended to benefit. You should consult a solicitor who will be happy to offer you advice specific to your circumstances.
At present the intestacy rules do not recognise co-habitees. Therefore, if you live with your partner and die without having made a Will, your partner will not automatically inherit any of your estate. The estate will automatically pass to your surviving family (i.e.children, parents, brothers and sisters)and your partner will have to make a claim on the estate claiming financial dependence if appropriate.
If you have children together with your partner then they will automatically inherit the estate, and both your partner and your children will have to get separate legal representation in order to fight for a share in the estate. This is expensive and obviously a situation that should be avoided. A simple Will is all that is needed to ensure that your partner and your children are provided for.
Publish date: 02/01/13 11:17
Source: BBC News Online
Thousands of people are being ripped off by companies providing unregulated services such as will writing, claims the first Legal Ombudsman.
In his first report, Chief Ombudsman for England and Wales Adam Sampson said the most complaints he saw concerned conveyancing, family law and wills.
He called for action to be taken to ensure consumers were not left vulnerable by unregulated services.
Only a tiny fraction of legal services must be provided by a qualified lawyer.
Many others including will writing, divorce and employment can be done by unqualified and unregulated individuals and organisations.
"One service which crops up a lot is will writing. It's a service carried out often by will-writing firms who aren't regulated," said Mr Sampson.
"Because of this, customers are left with little means of redress when things go wrong.
"We've seen similar confusion about claims management companies, with lots of consumers believing they're getting a legal service even though most of the work is carried out by a non-authorised person. Again, we can't help."
The legal ombudsman was appointed in October 2010 and can only act on complaints from those using the services of qualified lawyers.
Consumer organisation Which? and the Law Society have backed the ombudsman and called for more protection for customers.
They said bundling legal services with financial services, including those offered via the internet, had posed serious dangers for consumer protection.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "As the legal-services market continues to grow in both size and complexity, it's crucial that consumers who have paid for a legal service that's not up to scratch know where to turn to get help.
"We want the government and regulators to wake up to the current lack of clarity and to provide a clear and straightforward route of redress for consumers.
"The arrival of a legal-services market in which consumers will, potentially, have complaints about hybrid services poses some serious questions about who they'll be able to turn to for help."
Des Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society for England and Wales, said: "The gap in regulation which allows unregulated cowboys to operate in areas like will writing does not just cause unfair competition to solicitors, who provide a regulated, professional service.
"It is also damaging to consumers because the unregulated providers are not insured, do not provide a compensation fund and are not covered by the Legal Ombudsman's scheme for consumer redress."
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said will writing was an important issue and that it welcomed the report.
She added the department will await the outcome of the Legal Service Board's ongoing work.
Publish date: 02/09/11 12:07
Publish date: 08/11/10 12:50
Source: EXPAT WILLS
Publish date: 08/11/10 12:46
Source: EXPAT WILLS
Dubai Life is about to get simpler for expatriates who want to make a will.
Judge Jasem Baqer, the head of the preliminary court, has issued a decision that wills for non-Muslims can be attested by the Dubai Public Notary starting in October.
The one-stop procedure will replace the three steps necessary now.
Currently, documents must be attested at the expats embassy or consulate, then taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then to the Ministry of Justice in Dubai. Some private companies have been licensed to do the work in the Free Zones,
Abdullah Abdel Wahed al Ali, the administration manager at the Public Notary, said that under the new system, those who wish to attest their will must come in person or have someone with power of attorney attend on their behalf.
The person must declare his or her personal assets within the emirate or abroad, whether they be property or financial.
The will can generally cover all the persons assets or it can be specific to certain assets.
The estate of an expat who dies without a will is handled under Sharia law, with proportions of the property specified. Under the old system, it costs Dh1,500 to Dh2,000 including Arabic translation to attest wills. The fees for the new system are not yet known.
For those Expats who wish to make a Will for their UAE ONLY assets local Notarization will make the process easier. However, it must be noted that a Will notarised & stamped by a UAE Notary Public may not be acceptable to your home country probate courts.
Publish date: 17/09/10 7:44
Source: The National