Legal News

Accountant Forged Mother's $50 Million Will

Will disputes can be extremely bitter and the kind of skulduggery depicted in fiction sadly sometimes reflects reality. In one case, the High Court found that a well-respected accountant had forged his mother's will in order to gain control of business...

Directors Guilty of Misfeasance in Insolvency Proceedings

Some directors will always sadly be tempted to denude troubled businesses of their assets before they formally become insolvent. However, companies are not personal piggy-banks and, as one High Court case showed , the consequences of such conduct can be...

Probate Charges Increase Likely to Be Delayed

The Government has acknowledged that the upcoming general election makes it unlikely that probate fees will increase significantly in May as planned, as there will not be time for Parliament to pass the legislation. The planned changes to the fees payable...

Court Enforces Pre-Nuptial Agreement

When the marriage of a wealthy couple broke up, the English court had the opportunity to consider the impact of two pre-nuptial agreements the couple had made before they wed. The couple, both Swedes, married in 2000 and had had two children by the time...

Knife-Edge Timing Solves £2.4 Million Construction Contract Dispute

In a striking piece of knife-edge timing, a property developer has convinced the High Court that it was reassigned rights under a construction contract just before a multi-million-pound dispute was placed before an adjudicator. The decision means that the...

Problems for Family Unaddressed as People Still Shun Wills

The latest research from National Savings and Investments shows that a staggering 64 per cent of adults in the UK have not made a will, and that 38 million adults have made no arrangements for their retirement or provision for long-term care, although half...

English Jurisdiction Clauses - Court of Appeal Cracks Down

English law is well-developed, written in the universal business language and the English judicial system has a deserved reputation for fairness. It is not surprising, therefore, that vast numbers of international contracts incorporate English jurisdiction...

Court Corrects Bureaucratic Nightmare for Family

One of the most important roles played by judges is to protect individuals against unlawful treatment by the state. In one unique example, the High Court came to the aid of a couple who found themselves caught in a legal nightmare after their twins were...

Solicitor Evidence Crucial in Proving Will Valid

A recent case shows the importance of involving a solicitor in the preparation of a will, especially where it is considered that an attempt to invalidate it on the grounds of lack of mental capacity may be made. It involved an elderly man who changed his...

Massive Increases in Probate Charges on Large Estates on the Way

Probate fees, which rose sharply only three years ago, are about to rise again. Under the present scheme an application for probate by an individual costs £215 and by a solicitor £155, but from May 2017 a new tariff is being introduced which...

New Powers Proposed to Make Family Financial Settlements Effective

The problem of making family financial settlements or court rulings in divorce 'stick' is well known. Following an extensive consultation process, the Law Commission has made proposals designed to improve the situation for those affected when payments are...

Supreme Court Overturns Daughter's Will Claim Award

A surprising Court of Appeal decision that a daughter was a 'dependant' of her estranged mother and thus entitled to benefit from her estate has now been overturned by the Supreme Court. Heather Ilott had been deliberately excluded from the will of her...

New Rules to Prevent Corporate E-Signatures

The law has tried to play 'catch up' with the increasing sophistication of cyber-crime since the advent of the Internet, and new EU regulations implemented in the UK as the Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Regulations...

Attorney Who Forged Will to Accelerate Inheritance Given Jail Term

When an elderly man died owning both a house and a half share in an attached property with his sister, whose financial affairs were already being administered by a cousin under a power of attorney, the scene was set for the cousin to seize ownership of the...

Company Articles Triumph in Share Valuation Dispute

People tend to think of the articles of association of companies – and often shareholders' agreements – as matters of detail not warranting close attention. However, a recent case shows the importance of having up-to-date knowledge of such...

Court Orders Must Be Obeyed - But Caring Pensioner Was Wrongly Jailed

Disobeying court orders is ultimately punishable by imprisonment – but only as a last resort. In the context of a family case, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a woman in her 70s, who honestly believed that she was doing her best for a vulnerable...

Changes in Trustees - Who Appoints New Trustees?

Trusts are relatively common and the death of a trustee is by no means rare. A trust deed normally contains a clause stipulating how new trustees are to be appointed in the event of the death, incapacity or inability to serve of a trustee, and normally it is...

Bank Fails to Avoid Guarantee Liability

The sums of money involved in international trade are so vast that without bank guarantees to underpin contracts, the wheels of commerce would cease to turn. However, as one High Court case vividly revealed , banks normally insist that all the formalities...

Trustee of Deceased Bankrupt Cannot Claim Payment From Spouse

Financial problems are frequently connected with marital problems, and the interplay between family law and insolvency law can produce legal complications. In a recent instance, the court had to decide what to do about a claim from the receiver in...

Court Rejects Unprovable Claim of Property Gift

Arguments over the division of estates are unfortunately common where the value of the assets they contain is substantial, especially if family relationships are fractious. In such circumstances, the distribution of an estate can be delayed by legal...

Court Guidance on Jurisdiction

When contracts have an international element and a dispute arises, it is often necessary to ascertain at a very early stage which country's courts have jurisdiction to deal with the dispute. In the case of a dispute over a contract, the place of performance...

Survivorship Clause Leads to Double Benefit for Beneficiaries

There is an established legal principle that where people have wills benefiting each other (as is normal with the wills of a husband and wife) and the order in which they died cannot be ascertained, it is considered that the older of the two will have been...

Jail Threat for Man Who Failed to Cooperate in Divorce Proceedings

Divorce is normally a difficult time for all concerned and the financial arrangements can be very contentious. Normally, problems revolve around the failure to provide accurate disclosure of assets, but on some occasions there is a total failure to...

Failure to Adopt Sound Business Principles Proves Costly

Cases involving negligent valuations have been passing through the courts steadily over the years – many triggered by the financial meltdown in 2008. A recent decision involved the reliance of a bank on a valuation provided in support of a £1.8...

Alcoholism and Mental Capacity

In order to make a valid will, you need to know your own mind – and it helps to have a solicitor on hand to advise you. That was certainly so in a case in which a businessman left the lion's share of his £1 million fortune to a friend and...
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