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Cohabit, civil partnership or marriage? What you need to know about the relationship choices available to mixed-sex couples in 2020

Cohabit, civil partnership or marriage?

20th March 2020

What you need to know about the relationship choices available to mixed-sex couples in 2020

For mixed-sex couples wishing to put their relationship on a more legal footing, 2020 is the first year that they are able to enter into a civil partnership instead of a marriage in England. Introduced in 2005, previously the law only allowed same-sex couples to become civil partners.

Family law expert, Andy Stout looks at the options now available to cohabiting couples who may wish to protect any property or business assets, and make provision for their children or dependents.

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Make a Will in November and support Will Aid

Writing a will – more than leaving money to those you love

25th November 2019

Having a will. Writing a will. We all know we should have one, but for some reason, we keep putting it off. Well, this November, Tallents Solicitors is making it easier for everyone to write their will in conjunction with Will Aid, the will writing charity.

Book an appointment to make a simple or joint will this month and Tallents Solicitors will waive their usual fees in exchange for a voluntary donation to Will Aid, who will then distribute the donations made to nine UK charities.

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Adding a belt and braces to your Will

26th February 2018

Will makers are free to make the Will they wish, just as the probate documents for Lady Lucan revealed that she had cut her three children out of her Will and left her entire estate to the homelessness charity Shelter.

However, some people are understandably concerned about subsequent claims being made against their estates after their death – often by someone they have decided not to include in their Will or by someone who feels they should have been benefitted in additional or other ways.

Elizabeth Rees, solicitor from Tallents Solicitors in Mansfield explains how a Statement of Explanation can help ensure your Will will not be challenged after your death

Elizabeth Rees, a solicitor on the Private client team at Tallents Solicitors in Mansfield explains that while you cannot stop claims being brought against your Will, there are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of a successful claim.

Making a Statement of Explanation in your Will

Elizabeth says:

“When you sit down to write your Will, you have gone to the considerable effort of assessing your assets and determining who you would like to inherit them after you have gone.

“In some instances, it is appropriate to further consider whether additional steps are required to ensure your wishes are carried out. If this is the case, then the will maker can prepare a Statement of Explanation outlining the reasons for their decision, as Lady Lucan did in her Will.”

Grounds for bringing a claim against an estate

Elizabeth continues:

“There are a number of potential grounds for bringing claims against a deceased’s estate. These include: arguments that the will maker lacked testamentary capacity, that the Will was not executed properly, that there was a lack of knowledge and approval by the will maker, the will maker was subject to undue influence, or that the document was fraudulent or forged.

“However, should any application be heard, then the court is then entitled to take into account any relevant matters. As such, a Statement of Explanation would give an excellent insight into the will maker’s rationale at the time the Will was made.”

Ensuring your wishes are carried out

“Equally, it may sometimes be appropriate to leave property to a needy beneficiary rather than an affluent one. If a claim is made, then the court is required to assess both the needs of the applicant and those of any other beneficiary in the estate.  The Supreme Court quite recently held that charities fall into this ‘needy’ category, as they are dependent on legacy income to continue their charitable objectives.”

Elizabeth continues:

“Forfeiture clauses can also be utilised when writing a Will to reduce the risk of a challenge to your wishes. You may wish to leave a small sum to an estranged relative with along with a clause that any attempts to challenge the Will could result in the deprivation of their entitlement.”

Elizabeth finishes:

“Using a professional will maker, such as a solicitor, can also serve to mitigate against a successful claim as testamentary capacity will be taken into account when drafting the Will. 

“If you are concerned about the prospect of a claim being made against your estate then you may wish to consider making a written statement setting out the reasons (without bitterness) for making limited or no provision for the potential claimant. If your Will is subsequently disputed it may provide valuable evidence of your intentions and the reasons for your decision.”

Tallents Solicitors offers appointments to discuss making single and joint Wills at all three of its offices. Elizabeth Rees is available for appointments at the Mansfield office on Westgate.

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Leaving a legacy to a charity in your Will

14th September 2017
The 11th-17th September 2017 is Remember a Charity in your Will Week when everyone is encouraged to leave a bequest or legacy to their favourite charity in their Will. It’s a little known fact that most charities in the UK wouldn’t survive without gifts being left to them in Wills. By remembering your favourite charities in this way, you’re ensuring that… Read more

Wills aren’t just for the rich and famous – why you should have one too

26th January 2017
As 2016 ended, it seemed that being a celebrity continued to be a dangerous occupation as yet more famous faces passed away. The majority of famous people who passed on had planned ahead by leaving Wills documenting how their estates should be distributed. However, there were a couple of notable celebrities who died intestate during 2016: namely Prince and Caroline… Read more