Latest blog entries All blog entries from Sat, 25 Apr 2015 03:59:20 +0000 en-gb What Happens If You Die Without A Will Whilst no one wants to think about their death, planning for it is a vital aspect for you and your loved ones. However with more than 8 million adults in the UK not having a will, it could mean that your loved ones do not inherit anything.

Many people assume that if you married or in a stable family environment your loved ones would naturally inherit your estate. However the only sure way is to create a will. We take a look at different family circumstances and what happens if you die without a will.

What You Inherit Without A Will

If you are married and are survived by a partner or child, your spouse will receive personal possessions, the first £250,000 of the estate and half of anything that remains. Any child from the relationship will receive the other half. If there are no children or descendants, your partner will be granted everything.

If you have a partner, your partner has no right to any inheritance if you aren’t married or have a civil partnership, even if you have a child. Either your estate would go to a family member, the crown or any direct descendant.

Adopted or your children would also be able to inherit your estate, with inheritance without a will not granting stepchildren or any other family members a right to the estate.

Making A Will

The only way to ensure that your last requests and your estate is passed on the way you intend is to make a will. Complicated family circumstances and other aspects can make having a will the best and simplest way to ensure your loved ones are left with something when you are gone.

Despite DIY will kits and other aspects existing to make a will, creating a legal will is the best way to protect your inheritance,

Contact Us

If you require legal advice regarding making a will or any other financial service regarding an inheritance, contact us today using our online inquiry form.

]]> (Mark Wilson) Wills Mon, 13 Apr 2015 10:17:13 +0000
Robin Williams’ Family Head To Court In Legal Battle The family of the late Robin Williams are heading to court in a custody battle over the comedians estate and his will.

Williams’ wife and children are arguing over the estate of the late actor following the reading of his will. The main argument comes following Williams’ dividing his personal items and memorabilia between his family, with his wife and family arguing over which category certain items fall into.

The wife of the late star also argued that some items had been taken from the house she shared with Williams without her permission.

She has since asked the court to exclude items in the will that are currently in the home she shared with Robin Williams in LA.


The Hollywood A-lister had left the vast majority of belongings to his children in a trust to ensure that they were given financial support at appropriate times.

Williams' children, Zachary, Zelda and Cody, said in response that Susan Williams is "adding insult to a terrible injury" by trying to change the trust agreement and rob them of the late actor's belongings.

Despite this claim from Williams’ children, Mrs Williams insists that she only wants the court to be clear on what is defined as being in the trust, and to ask that some items remain with her. The family also disagree with items placed in storage.

Contact Us

If you require legal advice regarding making a will or if you believe you have the right to contest a will, contact us today using our online contact service.

]]> (Mark Wilson) Wills Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:20:59 +0000
A Quick Guide to Trusts - And How Anyone Can Use Them A recent story in Canada’s Globe and Mail drew attention to the use of Trusts, and the view that many members of the public have of them. On hearing the word ‘Trust’, many people believe that this is a tool designed exclusively for the wealthy to protect their finances from taxation. This is simply not the case, as everyone can make use of Trusts. Contrary to what is regularly reported in the media, Trusts are designed to allow individuals to have greater control of their finances.

Trust law can be very difficult to understand, not least because of the number of false stories that are promulgated in the media regarding their purpose and use. Here we set out what Trusts are, and how they can be used. What is a Trust? In Scotland a Trust is technically a partnership between three different people. These people arrange to work together to allow money to be passed from one individual to another, to be used to benefit someone else. In law, this relationship is described as: A ‘Truster’ will pass money to a ‘Trustee’, who will then use that money to benefit the ‘Beneficiaries’.

What can be Trusts be used for?

All too often people are duped into believing that a Trust can only ever be used by wealth people. In fact, Trusts can be used by everyone and for any number of purposes including:

1. Setting a sum of money aside for a particular reason e.g. to help pay for your grandchildren’s university fees;

2. Leaving some money for your family members to use when you are no longer around, to support themselves;

3. Organising for a loved one’s financial affairs to be organised, if they are incapable of doing so themselves;

4. Planning for a time when you yourself cannot manage your own finances, and want to let someone better placed to do so on your behalf; or

5. Attempting to calculate the Inheritance Tax that is due on your estate, and reduce this liability to leave more for your family when you pass away. The fact of the matter is that a Trust is a perfectly legal instrument that you can use to help manage financial affairs, either now or for some time in the future.

How is a Trust created?

A Trust is the combination of the efforts of three people working together: Truster, a Trustee and Beneficiaries. If you are thinking about creating a Trust, you will be the ‘Truster’, and you would need to organise for the creation of a ‘Trust Deed’. This is a legal document that actually brings a Trust into existence, and sets out how anything that you decide to put inside the Trust is to be used by the Truster, for the Beneficiaries. The body of a Trust Deed will in most cases depend on your circumstances. However regardless as to your particular intentions, a Trust Deed should set out clearly the following information:

• The purpose the Trust – Who or what is the Trust for? Who or what will be the beneficiary? This is arguably the most important part of the document, which has real legal consequences. It is a good idea to have a Trust Deed drafted by an expert Trusts lawyer, as they will be able to make sure that your wishes are set down very clearly in writing.

• The Trustees of the Trust – Who will put your wishes into action for the Beneficiaries? It is entirely your decision as to who you appoint to be a Trustee: you can appoint a person or an organisation. Before you do appoint a Trustee, it is important that you take the time to speak with a potential Trustee about what they will be expected to do if they accept this role: being a Trustee means that they will need to follow a series of rules in performing their duties, which they should be aware of.

• The Beneficiaries of the Trust – Who gets the benefit of the Trusts resources? Your Trustee will administer the resources within the Trust for their benefit, so it is very important that you identify very clearly who this is to be. This avoids any ambiguity and the risk that the resources that you put into the Trust are not misused. Handling money and organising how it is to be used can be a very complicated and stressful job.

The law has developed to allow for the creation of Trusts because lawmakers understand this reality. Trusts are designed to make financial planning easier, no matter the purpose. Regardless as to whether you are trying to plan for your families future, or perhaps ensure that you are financially secure in your more senior years, or are simply looking to pass on as much of your property to your family as possible. The beauty of a Trust is that you as its creator have complete control over what it does: you decide what goes into it, who will make use of it, and who will benefit from it.

Contact Us

At Wilson & Fish our team of Private Client lawyers are specialists in Trust law. We understand that you may not be familiar with how Trusts work, or what can or cannot be done with them. We take pride in helping our clients to organise their affairs and enjoy all of the benefits that a Trust can offer. Our dedicated team will answer any questions that you have, and will give legal advice that fully reflects your circumstances. If you are interested in using a Trust, or are perhaps thinking more generally about planning for the future, contact us now. We are here to help.

]]> (Mark Wilson) Wills Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:06:05 +0000
Woman Jailed For Illegally Dodging Inheritance Tax A woman has been jailed for disclosing figures to the tax offices after she inherited £1.5m but told the taxman the sum was £285,000.Whilst there are legal ways to reduce the amount of inheritance tax you pay, as discussed in one of our last posts, disclosing what you inherit is an illegal way.

Lied to Tax Office

Following the death of her aunt, Theresa Bunn failed to inform HMRC of how much she had inherited.and the financial gifts that her aunt had left. Ms Bunn is now sentenced to serve two years in prison due to attempting to evade payment of tax.

HMRC stated that they decided to make the details of the case public in order to deter others from attempting to evade inheritance tax. As stated in our previous blog there are numerous ways to reduce the amount of inheritance tax you pay. An HMRC director, Stuart Taylor, said that Ms Bunn "lied purely to avoid paying tax".

He added: "The vast majority of us pay what is due, when it is due, but HMRC will not tolerate tax fraud and will investigate those we suspect of operating outside the law.”

Although HMRC have been clamping down on the number of people avoiding inheritance tax, cases are not often publicly revealed, however, the organisation are hoping that such public information will remove any temptation for others to try and avoid inheritance tax.

Contact Us

When making a will or planning your inheritance it is important to not cut corners. Our legal team at Wilson and Fish can help. If you require legal advice, contact us using our online contact form.

]]> (Mark Wilson) Wills Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:39:48 +0000
A Busy Start to the New Year for Wilson & Fish Solicitors We are nearing the end of March already, and for Wilson & Fish Solicitors it feels that 2015 has been flying in as we’ve reached a new level of busy. With the New Year comes New Years resolutions. For many it’s to exercise more, learn a new language or skill, or simply eat better. But for a number of our clients, their resolutions have been to wind up estates, write their will and appoint a power of attorney.

If you need any help arranging your affairs or winding up an estate, there's no time like the present. Out specialist private client solicitors can advise you on appointing a power of attorney, your duties as an executor, and writing a valid will in Scotland. Contact us by filling out our online enquiry form and one of our solicitors will be in touch. 

]]> (Mark Wilson) News Thu, 19 Mar 2015 16:22:14 +0000