Last Minute Wills

It is not uncommon for relatives to take an aged member of the family to a solicitor so that a new will can be executed. The Court of Appeal decision in Hawes v Burgess [2013] EWCA Civ 73 demostrates the care that has to be exercised in such a situation.  The relevant will was drafted by an independent solicitor who was experienced in drafting wills and who had explained its contents to the deceased before she executed it three weeks later.  The trial Judge found that the deceased lacked the degree of understanding to comprehend and appreciate the claims to which she ought to have given effect.  He also found that the deceased did not know and approve the contents of the contents of the will. Read more

Employee Shareholders

Recent economic turbulence has caused there to be close scrutiny of the structure of the economy and business organisation generally.  As noted by Norman Lamb MP, who at the time was Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs,‘lessons from the financial crisis have exposed our economy as too narrowly focused on certain sectors and regions, with the majority of our companies structured around one type of business model.  We need to fundamentally change our economy to ensure long term growth is strong and more evenly balanced…  One of the centrepieces to creating this sustainable growth is to encourage more responsible and more diverse ways of running a business today…Read more

The Golden Rule

In Key v. Key [2010] WTLR 1699 a solicitor was criticised for failing to observe the so-called ‘Golden Rule’ in relation to testamentary capacity, while in Wharton v. Bankroft & ors [2011] EWHC 3250 (Ch) similar criticism was considered misplaced. Read more

Disclosure of Trust Documents in Ancillary Relief

In both Young v. Young and Thursfield v. Thursfield, businessman husbands have been given prison sentences for failing to comply with disclosure orders in claims for ancillary relief. The order against Mr Young related to suspected offshore assets that had been ‘hidden’, while the latest order against Mr Thursfield relates to a known family trust administered in the Bahamas. These cases are just two of many in recent years which raise the question: what powers are available to the court to obtain disclosure of trust documentation? Read more