Parent pages

Complaints Policy
Residential Sale Pricing
Remortgage Pricing
Probate Pricing
Freehold Residential Purchase Pricing
Leasehold Residential Purchase Pricing
Privacy Notice
Voimme auttaa suomalaisia asiakkaita
Firm Overview
Our people
About Us
Firm News


Wills, Probate & Estate Planning
Powers of Attorney & Court of Protection
Contentious Probate
Meditation Council
Family Law
Orthopaedic Injuries
Psychiatric Injuries
Spinal Injuries
Brain Injuries
Injury Types
Sports Horse Riding Accidents
Prison Officer Injured At Work
Work Injury Illness Claims
Commercial Property
Civil Litigation
Agency Representation
Professional Negligence
Residential Conveyancing
Collective Enfranchisement & Lease Extensions
Personal Injury
Personal Injury Services Department
Accident Claims
Occupiers Liability


Priya Gill
Sharlene Reid
Maya Elci
Sumer Rana
Gurpal Soni
Ana Gonzalez
Primrose Hudson
Thanuja Oppilamany
Aisling Wogan
James Akinnola
Melanie Neale
John Cunningham
Peter Augustine
Mark Faith
Philip N. Cunningham
Charlotte Pegman
Outi Hubbard


Probate Fee Increase – Update
A Modern Look At Testamentary Freedom
Nationwide standing up to Unscrupulous Landlords and Developers
Falling off a roof – Accidents at Work do still occur!
Probate Fee Increases
Family Law: New Year Resolutions!
2016 – A Bad Year For Prison Officers
Bigger than Birmingham
Pensions on divorce: what to do with a fund held in another country
The dangers of Japanese Knotweed
Understanding Leases
Personal Chattels in Estate Administration
Networking – Increasing Business and Adding Value to our Clients
Driverless Cars and Personal Injury Claims
Accidents at work do still occur!
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and gifts:
In search of the lost Freehold Landlord
Prison Officer Claims
Personal Injury Guide
Will there be inheritance tax changes post-Brexit?
Do we need Personal Injury Lawyers anymore?
Property Alert from HMLR to Prevent Fraud.
New Beauty Treatment Regulations to come into force
How Safe is your Gas Boiler-Tenants be aware!
Morrison’s Supermarket case makes Legal History
Asbestos – The Silent Killer
Media Access to the Family Court
Autumn Statement
Fairness for Families Suffering Bereavement
HPW at work in the local community
HPW celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Health & Safety at Work Act
Proposed changes to the Criminal Injuries compensation Scheme
Dog Law changes afoot
Cycling a risky business in the Capital
Making gifts as an attorney or deputy
Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
What to do when someone dies?
Why make a Will?
Inheritance Tax Information Sheet 2013-2014
Everyone Needs a Lasting Power of Attorney
New Intestacy Laws come into effect 1st October 2014
Mishandled Will and Probate Estate claims up by 300%
A tip for new home owners
Understanding advertising standards
The Personal Representatives Guide
“How to make a Will” – The Week Magazine: 31 May 2014
Watch out for the water Study sees rise in claims over contaminated swimming pools
Victims not getting fair compensation for personal injury says local law firm
Third Corporate Manslaughter Case at Work
The Dangers of First Time Parachute Jumping
Prisoner Officer finally compensated after fake bomb scare
Parent found Contributory negligent for choosing incorrect child seat
Law Society Demands Fair hearing from the Government on Personal Injury
Interest in Personal Injury Claims
Government Proposals to raise Small Claims Court Limit
General Damages to be Increased
Funding Personal Injury Claims in the new regime from 1 April 2013
Court of Appeal overturns 10% damages increase ruling in the case of Simmons v Castle
Construction News Health and Safety update
Beauty Treatment Injuries
Accident at work in a London Prison
Health & safety – Construction Sites
Court disregards Director’s claim to sue himself
High Court rejects challenge based on ‘want of mental capacity’
Court rejects evidence delivered too late
Judge ends litigation wars
Landmark decision expected to cause major implications for school trips and extra curricular activities
Mental Capacity Jargon Buster
Lady Hale: Breaking through barriers once again
“Don’t get mugged by an insurer”
Landmark ruling sends a serious warning on attempts to conceal wealth in divorce proceedings
Attorneys, Deputies and Dalmatians
Funding Family Law Advice
Home Ownership in London
Elderly Care in England
Professional Negligence during the Conveyancing Process
‘The biggest change to divorce law for 40 years’
Accident At Work Article as featured on page 9 of the Metro dated 23 February 2012

Family and Matrimonial

Divorce and Money
Relationship Break Up and Tax
Financial Settlements in Divorce: Factors
Divorce and the Family Home
Cohabitation Agreements – Protection for Unmarried Couples
Living Together Agreements
Divorce and Foreign Residence: Children
Civil Partnerships And Same-Sex Marriage Explained
Child Custody Explained
Business Assets and Divorce
Divorce and Foreign Nationality
Child Maintenance Explained
Divorce and the Company Director
The Process of Divorce
Pre-Nuptial Agreements: Wise Planning for the Wealthy
What Are Financial Needs?
A Guide to the Adoption Process
Taking Children into Care – The Legal Process
Post-Nuptial Agreements – the Basics
Pensions and Divorce
Guide to Parental Responsibility

Firm News

Proud to be sponsoring The Chiswick Book Festival
Trainee Solicitor Thanuja Oppilamany has become an Associate Member(reduced) of Resolution
Looking forward to the forthcoming events at The Bedford Park Festival as proud sponsors.
Hubbard Pegman & Whitney supports Bedford Park Festival
The Athena Network Group
Hammersmith and Fulham Means Business 2018
Hammersmith and Fulham Mean Business
New Appointment
BCSA Union
Conveyancing Quality Scheme
British Keralites Onam Celebration
Grenfell Fire
Hubbard Pegman & Whitney to sponsor Bedford Park Festival 2017
Child Arrangements with Seasons Greetings
Christmas & New Year Opening Hours
Training and Networking
Welcome to Jim Richards
Shared Ownership: A Step on the Property Ladder
Melanie Chandler Testimonial
Personal Injury: Veera Testimonial
Outi Hubbard tells her story to Spear
Work together with our Property Department
HPW Supporting The Mulberry Centre
British Keralites Association Onam Celebration 11th September 2016
Chiswick Book Festival Opening Night
British Keralites Association 11th September
Chiswick Book Festival 2016
Bedford Park Festival 2016
Green Days Festival
Stage highlights – ‘Walter and Lenny’ & Shakespeare at the Tabard
Poetry highlight – ‘Poetry of Light’ Evening with Rowan Williams
Musical highlights – ‘Great American Trailer Park’ and Baroque Serenade
Until next year…
New Twitter Account
Hubbard Pegman and Whitney LLP join Santander panel
Hubbard Pegman and Whitney LLP to sponsor Bedford Park Festival
Melanie Neale presented to Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal
Hubbard Pegman and Whitney LLP secures Law Society’s new quality mark.
Please welcome Aaron Newton!
Please welcome Melanie Neale!
Law Society Personal Injury Scheme
The Chiswick Book Festival 2014
Blue Chip Staff Association


Charity Trustees – Guidance
Keeping Your Identity Safe
Package Tour Problems and Travel Delay – Your Rights
Consumer Rights law – Guidance
Unfair Contract Terms – Your Rights as a Consumer
Neighbours From Hell: Local Authority Powers
Treasure Trove – The Law
Correcting Your Credit Rating
Credit Card Purchases: Know Your Rights
Structured Settlements
Faulty Goods: Know Your Rights
Compensation for Loss of a Chance


Disinheriting Relatives Can Be a Recipe for Discord
Tribunal Paves the Way for Suburban Garden Development
Commercial Surrogacies Abroad Are Not Illegal – Court of Appeal Ruling
Social Media – Be Careful!
Quality of Occupation Determines Tax-Free Status of Residential Property Gain
Son Who Did Not Do Enough Excluded From Farm Inheritance
Thinking of Dispensing With Legal Advice on a House Sale? Think Again!
Procedural Unfairness Stops Council Care Action
Bank Fined for Failure to Distribute Assets to Beneficiaries
Ignorance Not a Reasonable Excuse for Tax Disclosure Failure
Court Visit Required to Give Clarity to Will
Fraud Victim Sacrificed His Home by Delay in Seeking Legal Advice
UK Fairness Test Mitigates Italian Pre-Nuptial Agreement
What is the Tax Status of Compensation for Financial Product Mis-Selling?
Transfer of Pension Fund Does Not Escape IHT Charge
Hedge Cutting Proves Costly
Wronged by a State Authority?
Misled Mother to Lose Home
CGT Net Tightens for Homeowners
Probate Charges to be Increased for Larger Estates
Leasehold Reform Consultation Ends
International Litigation Poses Challenges That Make Legal Advice Essential
If HMRC Don't Get it Right
Recalcitrant Husband Banned From Paying His Lawyers Until Arrears Cleared
Lack of Will Leads to Family Dispute in Court
The Sky Above and the Earth Below
Ombudsman Acts Against Slipshod Council
Relief for Families as Missing Persons Act to Come Into Force
Vaccinations Protect Child's Welfare
Leaving Your ISA to Your Family
Your Home May Be Your Castle But Planning Rules Must Be Obeyed
Capital and Income Losses Mean Different Things for Tax
Child Contact Disputes Can Be Defused by Mediation – But Take Advice Soon
Timeshare Credit Agreements Worth £47 Million May Be Unenforceable
Keep Your Records Safe
Credibility of Witness Defeats Adverse Possession Claim
Don't Be Caught in a Pension Scam
Wife Must Pay for Her Own Mistakes
Court Accepts £6 Million Distribution to Attorney
Care Not a Deprivation of Liberty
Grand Design Couple Triumph in Capital Gains Tax Test Case
Long-Term Partner Wins Right to Stay in House
Residents' Association Pays Price for Failing to Take Professional Advice
Law Overrides Will That Excludes Partner
Court Agrees to Correct Trust Error
Supreme Court Says No to Divorce Based on Weak Unreasonable Behaviour Claim
Time to Review Your Discretionary Trust?
Building Works Next Door Making Your Life a Misery?
Deliberate Mistruths in Estate Administration Mean Court Hearing
Switzerland, Not London, the Right Venue for Big Money Divorce
Supreme Court Rules in 'Gay Cake' Case
Pension Pot Holders Fail to Take Advice
Motive Not Sufficient Reason to Deny Subject Access Request
Failure to Control Knotweed Proves Costly for Landowner
Can a Will Be Valid if You Can't Read it?
Get an Agreement – Especially Where Family Members Are Involved!
HMRC Stick to Limited Period for CGT Payment on Residential Property Gains
Good News for Airline Passengers as 'In Writing' Clause Overcome
Inconsistent Residential Planning Permission Overturned
Wife Seeking Divorce Fails to Prove English Domicile
Attorney Pays for Lack of Attention
New Guidance on Care Home Charges After Death
Planning Application Restricted to Preserve View
Unmarried Partners and Widowed Parent's Allowance – Supreme Court Rules
Financial Claim Based on Support After Divorce Fails
Landowners' Duties and Highway Visibility – Court of Appeal Test Case
Farmer Acts to Protect Family Promise
Tenants Must Bear Cost of Safety Improvements
Possible Separation From Mother Intolerable, Rules Court
Hacking Episode a 'Reasonable Excuse' for Late Filing of Tax Returns
Money in a Bank Account Is Not Property – Guideline Court of Appeal Ruling
Disappointed Children Fail to Overturn Will
Pre-Nup Upheld When Implications Understood
What Seems Reasonable to You…
A Little Too Much Knowledge Can Be a Dangerous Thing
Unnecessary Risk-Taking Means Tour Operator Not Liable for Accident
Witnesses Save the Day for Widow in Will Argument
Jail for Husband Who Flouted Court Ruling
Inheritance Tax – 'Hope Value' Relevant to Property Valuations
Siblings Pay High Price for Dishonest Assistance to Bankrupt Brother
Will Wishes Rescinded by Court
Future Earning Capacity Not a Matrimonial Asset
Council Tax to Bite on Empty Property
Confidentiality – Don't Give In to Threats
Under Financial Pressure? Don't Fall Into Dodgy Lenders' Arms!
Trust Variation for Minors – High Court Holds Sway
Pre-Nuptial Agreement Receives Court Backing
Harassment Order Given Against Unknown Abuser
Be Careful Who You Trust With Your Finances
Understanding Between Couple Regarding Work Done Creates Legal Obligation
Changing Circumstances Lead to Divorce Settlement Dispute
Working From Home? Do You Have the Right?
Email Address Not Enough for Serving Claim
High Street Store Will Invalid, Rules Court
Judge Criticises Council and DWP for Usurping Attorney's Powers
Supreme Court Supports Mother Who Changed Mind Over Return to Australia
Flats Development 'No Pets' Policy Passes High Court Test
Failure to Take Advice Stops Legal Action Cold
Psychiatrist Approves Marriage for Alzheimer's Patient
Who Owns the Balance on the Joint Account?
Everyone Has a Right to Know Who Their Parents Are – DNA Test Case
Planning Law – Take Advice Before You Act
Government to Review Law to Wipe Out Trolling
High Court Focuses on Essentials to Resolve Family Trust Dispute
Reliance on Accountant Shows Reasonable Care
Premature Contract Signature Proves Expensive
Direct Contact With Both Parents Best Promotes Child Welfare
Victim of Hotel Jewellery Theft Wins Substantial Compensation
Mistaken Belief Overturns Estate Split Agreement
Non-Residents Beware – Ignorance of UK Tax Law is No Excuse
No Pay, No Passport?
DIY Approach to Property Purchase Proves Costly
Air Travel Woes May Lead to Compensation
Reasonable Provision May Not Mean What You Think
What Do Points Make? Tax Penalties
Trust is No Replacement for Legal Advice
Court Approval Not Needed to Withdraw Treatment
Onerous Leasehold Terms to be Banned
Placing Trust in a Family Member Proves Unwise (Again)
ISAs in Estates to be Tax Exempt
Cohabitants Entitled to Bereavement Damages
Victims of Crime and Compensation
Service Standards Must Be Appropriate for Properties
Do You Still Believe in the 90-Day UK Tax Residency Myth? Read This!
Family Attachment a Critical Factor in Adoption
Casting Aspersions to Change Inheritance Proves Unsuccessful
Ripped Off By a Rogue Trader? You Can Be Compensated!
Court Bypasses Wife's Attempts to Stymie Sale
Tax Net to Loosen for Trusts, Tighten for Offshore Affairs
Certain Inheritance Can Be Financial Resource in Divorce Settlement
Informal Wills on the Way?
Solicitors Are Under a Lifelong Duty to Guard Client Confidentiality
Minor Drafting Error Corrected – £1 Million Saved
Council Must Consider Planning Application
Judge Sees Through Attempt to Hide Assets
Business Tycoon's Wife Well Served by Lawyers Who Drafted Her Will
Libel by Internal Email Proves Expensive
Planning to Participate in a Tax Avoidance Scheme? Read This First!
Facing Compulsory Purchase of Your Home?
Take Care When Appointing a Non-Lawyer as Your Executor
Court Corrects Parenthood Bungle
HMRC Fail in IHT Challenge on Livery
HMRC Fail in IHT Challenge on Livery
Flat Tenants – Taking Over Management Can Be a Legal Minefield
Failure to Use Solicitor for Will Leads to Challenge
Insurance Extension on the Cards?
Government Must Prove its Case to Obtain Deportation
Mis-Sold an Interest Rate Hedging Product? Don't Miss the Time Limit for a Claim
Change of Use Over Time Leads to Four-Day Court Battle
Ignoring Advice Not Path to Success
But I Wrote a Cheque
HMRC Aren't Always Right
Take Extra Care When Buying Abroad
Executors and Taxes
Family Proceedings – Anonymity Orders v Freedom of Expression
Power of Attorney or Deputyship?
Couple May Lose House After Denying Neighbour Access to Meter
Tax Domicile – HMRC Upping the Ante?
Denied Divorce Case Heading to Supreme Court
Mutual Will Voids Thirteen Later Wills
Only Gifts Without Reservation Are Effective in Minimising IHT
Don't Delay in Completing 'Formalities'
Parenthood is Not a Trump Card to Avoid Imprisonment
Estranged Daughter Gains Share of Late Father's Estate
Everyone Has a Civic Duty to Assist Judges in Resolving Disputes
What is an 'Existing Building'? – Tax Tribunal Clarifies the Law
Equality of Division of Assets on Divorce Abolished? Hardly
Court Upholds Restrictions on Holiday Homes
High Court Dementia Ruling – Judge Acts to Protect Widow
Private Investors – Beware of Wolves in Sheep's Clothing!
Using Fansites? Take Care What You Say
Court Unsympathetic When Mum Takes Law Into Own Hands
You Can Make Your Council Tidy Up Bad Housing
Don't Litigate Without a Lawyer to Tell You When You're Wrong!
Small Pension Pots – Planning Possibilities
Insurer Must Pay Missing Driver Claim
Skulduggery in Divorce Proceedings Will Do You No Good
Court Rejects Rerun Argument in Property Dispute
HMRC's Tough Approach to Penalty Rejected by Tribunal
Court Rejects Will in a Crisp Packet
Mired In Debt? Get Professional Advice You Can Rely On
Mothers Denied Child Residence Orders
High Court Blocks 'Super-Basement' Extension Plans
HMRC Provide Calculator for New IHT Relief
Managing the Affairs of Missing People Law Passed
Sale of Goods Law Provides Route to Compensation for Holidaymakers
Court Unwilling to Force Family Home Sale
Your Right to Claim Tax Relief on Losses Dies With You
Car Bonnet Will is Valid, Rules Court
Couple Ordered to Demolish House Built Without Planning Permission
Put it in Writing
Failure to Take Advice Proves Costly in Family Arrangement
Have You Checked Your Investment Adviser's Credentials?
Power of Attorney Fees Fall
Danger of Subletting Exposed as Court Orders Flat Sale
Uninsured Drivers and Compensation Claims
Tax Law No Respecter of (Cultural) Tradition
High Court Encourages Social Workers to Make Use of Facebook
Cocktail of Drugs Not Sufficient to Overturn Will
Noise Is Not the Only Form of Disturbance – High Court Ruling
Indemnity Insurance Comes to the Rescue in Identity Fraud Case
Financial Advice to Become More Common?
Giving Up Your Career to Get Married? Think Twice!
Assets of Elderly Are Target of Wrongdoers
Court Urges Simplification of 'Right to Manage' Rules
Bank Mistake – HMRC Still Levy Penalty
Divorce: Asset Division Not Always Equal
Accountant Forged Mother's $50 Million Will
Probate Charges Increase Likely to Be Delayed
Charity Report Highlights Need for Trustee Vigilance
Definitive Plan Decides Boundary Dispute
Tax Penalties Avoided for Those Affected by IT Glitch
Court Enforces Pre-Nuptial Agreement
Problems for Family Unaddressed as People Still Shun Wills
Driver Need Not Enforce Wheelchair Space on Bus, Rules Court
Failure to Reveal All Proves Costly for Developer
Woman Aged 96 Wins £223,000 for Negligent Investment Advice
Court Corrects Bureaucratic Nightmare for Family
Solicitor Evidence Crucial in Proving Will Valid
Unexplained Delay Denies Right to Give Evidence
Tax Evasion Assistance – Changes in the Law
Carrying Out Building Works? Consult Your Neighbours First!
Massive Increases in Probate Charges on Large Estates on the Way
Supreme Court Overturns Daughter's Will Claim Award
New Powers Proposed to Make Family Financial Settlements Effective
Attorney Who Forged Will to Accelerate Inheritance Given Jail Term
Where is a Taxpayer 'Ordinarily Resident'?
Housing Association Tenant Pays Price for Unlawful Subletting
Bankruptcy Can Be a Fresh Start – But Only For Those Who Cooperate!
Court Orders Must Be Obeyed – But Caring Pensioner Was Wrongly Jailed
Investment Opportunity? Take Advice First
Changes in Trustees – Who Appoints New Trustees?
Expert Resolution of Boundary Dispute 'Final and Binding'
IVAs and Mental Capacity – Test Case Ruling
Reliance on Accountant's Advice Prevents Penalty
Trustee of Deceased Bankrupt Cannot Claim Payment From Spouse
Lack of Diligence Costs House Purchaser
Court Rejects Unprovable Claim of Property Gift
Council Held to Account Over False Claims
Government Acts to Close Dubious Investment Companies
When is a Conversion Not a Conversion?
Survivorship Clause Leads to Double Benefit for Beneficiaries

Residential Property

SDLT on Residential Property
Stamp Duty Land Tax and Second Properties – The Basics
Fact Sheet – Disclosure to Mortgage Lenders of Incentives for Buyers
Repossessions – the Duties of Mortgage Lenders
Leaseholders' Right to Manage
Buying Abroad – Considerations
How Do We Set Up a Commonhold?
SDLT on Residential Property Sales
Planning Law Basics
Bank of Mum and Dad Lending Issues
Selling Your Property at Auction
What is a Tenant's Improvement?
Buying a House and Consumer Protection
Selling Your House and Land: Tax Tips
Mortgage Exit Administration Charges – Consumer Redress
Tenants' Right to Buy
Timeshares – Good or Bad?
Who Can Go Where?
When Can I Access My Neighbour's Land?
Accessing Your Own Land
Guide to Law on Squatting in Residential Premises

Tax and Financial Planning

Should I Buy To Let?
Enterprise Investment Schemes: EIS and SEIS
HMRC Guidance on Tax Residence
Pension Flexibility – Basics
IHT Nil Band for Residential Property
How Inheritance Tax Works
What is Taxable?
Fiscal Help for your Student Children
Funding Care in Later Life
Tax Issues for Owners of Two Homes
Stamp Duty Land Tax and Second Homes – The Basics
Warning for Holders of US Assets
IHT Planning and the AIM
Unlocking Your Equity – the Choices
Putting Cash into a Family Business
How Drawdown Lifetime Mortgages Work
Are You a Sophisticated Investor?

Trust, Wills and Probate

Administering Estates – Procedures and Pitfalls
Cohabitees and Death – Who Can Claim?
Asset Valuation Problems – Chattels
Heir Hunters – Take Advice!
Estates – What Happens if Values Fall?
Making Your Will – Guidance
How do I Leave Money to Charity in My Will?
What Happens on Intestacy?
Helping Your Executors
What is a Trust?
CGT and Shares in Estates Valuation Trap
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Changing Wills For Benefit
Who is Under the Influence?
Dealing With an Insolvent Estate

A recent survey has shown that more than one in ten people who are thought to have died intestate (i.e. without leaving a will) may actually have made a will and that a similar number of those who leave a will which is initially believed to be the last will they made did, in fact, make a later will.

Two of the main reasons for these findings are that many people change their mind about who should inherit their estate late on in life, or decide to make a will for the first time, but do not tell their relatives. This can lead to the will being challenged and, where there is a disputed will, the costs can mount up rapidly. Another reason for contentious probate is when a claim is made against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, which allows people who were dependent on a deceased person to claim against the estate if they are not provided for in the will.

Dying intestate, especially where there are significant assets, is a recipe for disaster, especially as the ability to plan for and mitigate Inheritance Tax (IHT) liabilities is foregone. The estate is distributed according to set rules of intestacy, which might lead to a division of assets very different from anything the deceased person would have wanted. For example, the spouse of the deceased will not inherit the whole estate unless its value is £250,000 or less, unless there are no children. The need to share an estate with children can, for example, require an elderly person to mortgage or sell their home to provide statutory inheritances for children.

Where assets are significant, it can get very complicated indeed. The recent death of the pop star Prince, who died intestate, is likely to tie up the family in legal red tape for many years.

The duties of the executor (or the administrator of an intestate estate) are onerous and should not be undertaken lightly. Once the person appointed has undertaken an act as executor, the role cannot be rescinded.

Duties of executors are to:

  • collect the assets of an estate and settle its liabilities, such as taxes, funeral costs and so on;
  • deal with any outstanding tax matters, including filing an IHT return and an Income Tax return if there is income during the period between death and distribution of the estate assets. Until any outstanding tax liabilities of the estate are dealt with, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will not give clearance for the grant of probate to be issued;
  • obtain the grant of probate (or letters of administration if there is no will) over the estate. This is done by filing the will with the probate registry together with the ‘clearance’ letter from HMRC; and
  • carry out a distribution of the assets of the estate in accordance with the provisions of the final will or the rules of intestacy.

If executors carry out their duties incorrectly, they can be personally liable for the outcome, so it is important to be very careful to make sure the right will is being administered and that the estate is not being distributed until all liabilities have been met and no further claims are likely to arise. Keeping appropriate records of the transactions involved is also essential, as is an understanding of what expenses can legitimately be treated as estate expenses.

One method of disputing a will is to lodge a ‘caveat’ at the probate registry. This prevents a grant of probate from being made. A caveat lasts for six months, but can be renewed, and initiates a contentious court procedure. As no notice has to be given to an executor that a caveat has been applied for, the receipt of the court notice can come as an unpleasant surprise.

Note: From 6 April 2018, interest earned on funds in ISAs during the period of administration of an estate is exempt from UK taxation.

When one member of a cohabiting couple dies, it can come as an unpleasant surprise to the bereaved partner to discover that not all of their late partner’s estate will pass to them in the absence of a will. It is only when this happens that many people become aware that there is no such thing in law as a ‘common law’ spouse, so it is important that people living together give thought to protecting their position by the means currently available to them.

Where there are assets which are jointly held (as ‘joint tenants’ in legal terminology), these will pass by survivorship to the other partner. Property held jointly and joint bank accounts are normally held in this way. Also, if there is a life assurance policy or there are pension benefits payable to a nominated person, then the surviving partner will receive these if they are the named beneficiary.

Once such assets have been dealt with, however, the rules of intestacy apply if there is no will. An intestate estate passes (with a rather complex formula regarding its division depending on the size of the estate) to the relatives of the deceased. This will normally leave the deceased’s partner with nothing.

However, the law does allow a claim for provision to be made from the estate of the deceased  (under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975)  by dependants if they are persons for whom the intestate person might reasonably have been expected to make provision.

A surviving cohabitee can make a claim if the deceased died intestate or failed to provide for them in the will if:

  • they were maintained by the deceased in whole or in part immediately before the death of the deceased; or
  • for two years prior to the death of the deceased they lived in the same household as the deceased as if they were the husband, wife or civil partner of the deceased.

In such cases the court may be requested to make ‘reasonable provision’ for the applicant. There are a series of guidelines which have been set to ensure that the provision made is fair bearing in mind the size of the estate and the circumstances of those with an interest in it.

The court’s powers to divide the estate are considerable and can include making orders for periodical payments or lump sums or the transfer of specific property to the claimant. However, it should be remembered that transfers on death to a cohabitee do not qualify for the ‘spouse’ exemption from Inheritance Tax which applies to transfers to a spouse or civil partner.

A recent case involving the death of a man who had lived with his partner for fewer than two years before he died confirmed that she could not bring a claim as a result of his death, although their child (born after his father’s death) could. In another case, the ex-wife of a man born in the UK was denied the right to make a cliam after he was determined by the bank to have adopted a foreign domicile of choice in Gambia.

After an earlier Cohabitation Rights Bill  failed to pass through Parliament, a new bill was introduced  which also failed to reach the statute book.

When dealing with an estate, an increasing problem for executors is the valuation of assets in the form of the chattels of the deceased. In probate terminology, chattels are the ‘everyday’ assets such as furniture and ordinary possessions, as opposed to houses, investments and the like. These latter assets are relatively easy to value as estate agents and other specialist valuers can be called upon and in the case of listed investments, their market values at any point in time are readily available.

One difficulty is that an increase in wealth and estate values generally has brought an increasing number of estates into the Inheritance Tax (IHT) net. Where the value of the estate is well below the IHT threshold (£325,000 for 2017/8), even placing a relatively optimistic valuation on the chattels would probably not create an IHT liability. Where IHT must be paid, however, a realistic and justifiable open market value must be ascertained.

A second aspect of the rise in living standards is that it is more normal than it was in the past for people to have a substantial value in chattels. A side issue arising here is that many households may have an insured value for ‘contents’ which is well below the actual value of their household contents.

In general terms, when valuing assets for probate purposes, the appropriate valuation is the ‘open market value’ – the value for which they could be sold if a bargain were made between a willing buyer and a willing seller. Specialised assets, such as works of art, stamp, book and coin collections and so on, should be valued by a professional valuer if likely to be of significant value. Cars can be valued by reference to a trade guide and boats by a yacht broker.

Any items specifically mentioned in the will should be separately valued and, as a rule of thumb, individual items worth more than £500 should be assessed individually. Items which are widely traded (such as musical instruments) can, in some cases, be valued by reference to the prevailing prices on Internet auctions.

Another problem that is becoming more common occurs when there are a number of chattels, some of which may be valuable and some of which are not, and the relative value of each is not easy for the executors to know. Where the executor is likely to have the contents of the house cleared, it is possible for quite valuable chattels to be disposed of for little value or even thrown out.

When chattels are being distributed (say where there are three children, each entitled to a third of the chattels), it is also important for values to be known, because the distributions made will need to be equal unless agreed otherwise by the beneficiaries. Since many assets are in the form of sets (china and furniture for example), some horse-trading may need to be done and having an idea of the values of the different chattels will prove helpful.

Until the recent publicity afforded by television shows on the subject, many people might not have realised that ‘heir tracing’ companies exist, let alone that they research ‘promising’ estates by looking at public records and then contact potential beneficiaries of those estates.

The prospect of obtaining a windfall following a knock on the door by such a firm makes many people only too glad to sign the contract offered, but quite often these can involve very considerable sums being paid to the heir locators – a figure of 25 per cent of the inheritance is not uncommon.

It is often the case that your entitlement to an unexpected legacy can be achieved more economically. Many such approaches result from the firm researching into the background of substantial unclaimed estates and much of the work that is done can be done by an ‘amateur’ (especially one with an interest in genealogy) without great expense.

Here are some things to think about if you are approached by such a firm. Often, the details they give you will be scanty and will not include the likely value of the inheritance. The withholding of critical information in order to make you sign the contract may make their agreement with you unenforceable.

Firstly, try to establish who the deceased is, your relationship to them and the value of the estate. The latter can normally be found with a little research, as wills are public documents. The more distantly related to them you are and the more other possible beneficiaries, the less you are likely to receive.

Do not rush! If the visit arises because of an unclaimed estate, the estate will not pass irrevocably to the Crown until 30 years after the death of the testator, so there is normally plenty of time. The Treasury Solicitor’s website contains details of unclaimed estates, which is a good starting place for your research.

There have been a number of successful legal actions taken against heir hunters which show the importance of not allowing yourself to be pressured into making any legal agreement with them until you have taken professional advice. In 2017 an heir-hunter was convicted of theft after failing to pass on the full value of the assets uncovered to beneficiaries.

If you are approached by an heir hunter, contact us for advice.



One of the biggest problems now facing executors is that assets can fall in value as well as increase, which can mean that the value of an estate for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes is greater than the market value later on.

Where assets are disposed of at a loss within twelve months of the death of the testator (the legal term for the person who left the will), IHT relief is available. This works as below, but note that the relevant date is twelve months after the death, not after probate is granted: a powerful incentive to make sure that the administration of the estate is progressed with reasonable speed.

If the assets which have lost value are quoted shares, a claim can be made on their sale, but not on a transfer. If the assets consist of land, the time period for a claim is four years from the date of death. The loss claim can only be made by the ‘appropriate person’ (in most cases the executor) and therefore any asset transferred which is then sold at a loss will not qualify for relief. A claim cannot be made unless the loss is at least 5 per cent of the value at the date of death or £1,000, whichever is greater.

There is clearly room for tax planning here, not only regarding the timing of transfers but also whether assets should be sold or transferred and then sold. Which approach is best will depend on the tax situation of the beneficiaries as well as the estate.

Lastly, there is a similar relief which is available for lifetime gifts. Where an asset which has been gifted prior to death has fallen in value and is subject to IHT, a claim can be made for the reduced value to be substituted in the valuation of the estate at the date of death. This relief is only available if the transferred asset is still owned by the person to whom it was gifted or their spouse or civil partner.

It is easy to keep putting off making a will. However, having a valid will is the only way to guarantee that your estate goes to who you want it to when you die.

If a person dies having made a will, the distribution of their estate is normally straightforward. If someone dies without making a will, they are said to have died intestate. In this case, the laws of intestacy will apply.

This guide deals with the law in England and Wales. Intestacy law is different in Scotland.

Before making a will, it is important to consider exactly what you wish it to cover and who you want to benefit from it. It is sensible to specify your major financial assets, such as your home, investments and other possessions, and to leave clear instructions regarding who will receive each. If there is a special item that you want to leave to a particular person, even if it is of little value, this too can be included. If you have children under 18 years old, your will can also make provisions for them and state who you wish to care for them in the event of your death.

When someone dies without having made a will, if they have a spouse (this does not include a ‘common law spouse’ – see below) or civil partner and children, the intestacy laws provide that their spouse or partner will inherit the entire estate if it is valued at £250,000 or less.

The statutory limits that apply to estates exceeding £250,000 are as follows:

1. If there is a husband, wife or civil partner, and children:

• the spouse/partner gets the personal chattels, the first £250,000 and a life interest in half of what is left; and

• the children of the deceased, including illegitimate and adopted children but not step-children, share between them half of the excess over £250,000, straight away if they are 18 or older, and the other half when the surviving spouse dies. The share of a child under 18 is held in trust until they reach the age of majority.

2. If there is a husband, wife or civil partner, and relatives but no children:

• the spouse or civil partner receives the personal chattels, the first £450,000 and half of what is left; and

• the parents of the deceased, or if they themselves have died, the deceased’s brothers and sisters or their descendants, share the other half of the excess over £450,000.

3. If there is a surviving husband, wife or civil partner, but no other relatives, the surviving spouse/partner gets everything.

4. If there are children, but no living husband, wife or civil partner, the children share everything equally.

5. If there is no husband, wife, civil partner or children, everything goes to the next available group of relatives in a strict order of legal precedence.

6. If there are no available relatives, the entire estate goes to the Crown.

Inheritance Tax (IHT) must be paid on all taxable estates valued at £325,000 (2017/18 rates) or more.  The 2015 Summer Budget introduced a further exemption which will rise over the next few years to £175,00 relating to the home of the deceased. However, bequests to spouses, civil partners and donations made to charities are normally exempt from IHT. There are numerous reliefs and exemptions from IHT available, and planning in advance is essential to maximise these.

Gifts made during a person’s lifetime are also potentially subject to IHT. Any gifts made seven years or more prior to the death of the person making the gift are normally free of IHT, although in particular circumstances older gifts may become taxable. Where the estate of the deceased includes a business, farm, woodland or National Heritage property, specific reliefs from IHT are available. If IHT is applicable, it is payable at 40 per cent on the amount of the taxable estate after all reliefs.

It is important to note that a will that was made before a person entered into a marriage or a civil partnership normally becomes invalid after the event. It is therefore wise to make a new will as soon as possible after getting married or becoming a civil partner.

If you and your partner simply decide to live together, the situation can become more complex, especially if no will is made. Cohabitation does not give a surviving partner any automatic right to inherit their partner’s estate.

Assets that are held jointly, such as joint bank accounts, will normally pass to the surviving partner. However, once these types of assets have been dealt with, any residual assets that are legally the property of the deceased will pass strictly in accordance with the laws of intestacy, which do not make any provision for the surviving partner of unmarried couples.

If a person is financially dependent on the deceased but is not provided for under his or her will, an application to the courts can be made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Where the claimant is a cohabitee, they must have been living with the deceased as if they were married or in a civil partnership for two years prior to the death, or have been completely or partially provided for by the deceased in the period just before they died.

The courts have considerable powers to determine what money or assets should be passed to a surviving partner and will choose what, if any, provision should be made for the applicant.

It is often thought that a person’s final wishes as stated in the terms of their will must be followed exactly, but this is not necessarily the case. If everyone who is to benefit from the will agrees to a change or changes, a variation of its terms can normally be made using a Deed of Variation (also known as a Deed of Family Arrangement). In order to do this, however, an application must be made within two years of the person’s death.

Originally, Deeds of Variation were introduced in order to protect dependants who would otherwise be left unfairly deprived under the terms of a will. Nowadays, these arrangements are mostly used to reduce the amount of IHT payable.

When a variation to the terms of a will is proposed, anyone who is a beneficiary of the deceased’s estate and whose entitlement is reduced as a result of the proposed variation must agree to it in writing. If any of the beneficiaries are under 18 years of age, the approval of the court may be needed before a Deed of Variation can be made.

IHT and estate planning can be complicated. When seeking to manage future tax liabilities, it is always best to take professional advice on any aspect about which you are unsure in order to avoid unforeseen consequences. What is certain is that making a will is highly desirable, inexpensive and not something that should be put off.

If you have any concerns on this topic, we can help.

It's easy to include a charity in your will, but you should always consult your solicitor before you write or change your will  to be sure it reflects your exact intentions and that you understand its implications.

Before you call your adviser, take a few minutes to clear your thoughts and decide exactly what you want to do. Ask yourself…

What have I got to leave?

If you own your home, how much is it worth? Have you any savings or investments? Valuables? Jewellery?

Who do I want to help?

Of course you must make provision for your loved ones first. Make a list of their full names and addresses.

Who else has made a difference to my life?

Has a charity helped you, or someone you love? Which causes have been important to you? Which appeals have really moved you? If you know them, make a note of their official charity name, address and registered number for your adviser.

One potential problem to making a charitable gift is that if the gift is for a set sum (say £20,000) to be paid before the balance of the estate is distributed, this may leave your executor short of cash to pay necessary expenses.  In some cases – for example where the main asset is a house which proves difficult to sell – family members may have to lend your estate money so that charitable donations can be made.

On the other hand, if the charity is a 'remainderman' (paid out of the residue of the estate after the specific bequests are met), the wording of the will needs to be very careful. Recently, a number of cases have arisen because charities have interpreted the wording of a will to mean something different from the interpretation placed on it by the executors and have gone to court.


 Is it the 'right' charity?


Many charities are organised on a 'regional' basis, rather like franchises. If you will makes a bequest to the charity without specifying the local branch (eg 'Age Concern', rather than 'Age Concern <your local branch>,' then the bequest will probably be given to the central organisation, not the local branch.

 It is always worth considering the practical side of any arrangements you make under your will.



The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act came into force in late 2014. It changes intestacy law in England and Wales to allow a deceased’s estate to pass to their widow, widower or civil partner absolutely where there are no children.

The intestacy rules can be complex, but. If there is a husband, wife or civil partner, and children, then the spouse/partner gets all the personal possessions and  half of the estate absolutely and the children of the deceased, including illegitimate and adopted children, share between them half what is left straight away, if they are 18 or over.

The Government has created a straightforward guidance tool to assist executors in understanding the entitlement of relatives to an intestate person’s estate.


Being an executor is a demanding job at the best of times and a task that is made all the more difficult when the deceased has not given proper thought to the problems their executors will face.

Here are some of the things you can do to make sure your executors are able to administer your estate as efficiently as possible:

  • Make a list of all your investments, bank accounts, premium bonds, insurances and other assets and keep it in a safe place. Put a copy with your will. Even if you subsequently close one of your accounts or surrender a policy, it is far easier for your executors to send a few letters asking for details of holdings that no longer exist than it is for them to deal with the discovery of an unexpected policy or bank account months down the line;
  • Don’t change your address without telling all concerned;
  • Make sure that any ‘free insurance’ (these are quite common with some bank accounts, for example) or similar offers are retained and not thrown away;
  • Put all the originals of your important documents in a safe place – such as a bank safe-deposit box – and keep copies in a single place, where they are secure, but can be found;
  • Consider writing any life assurances or pension death benefits ‘in trust’, so that they are paid to your beneficiaries directly, rather than into your estate. This could lead to considerable Inheritance Tax savings and provide useful cash for beneficiaries at an early stage;
  • Register your title to any land you own at the Land Registry, if you have not done so already. This may facilitate a subsequent transfer.
  • Leave a letter outlining your wishes for your funeral arrangements, etc. Your executor will have the last say on these, but guidance from you can prevent unnecessary disagreements between family members.
  • If you have significant ‘online’ assets, it is important to make sure these are identifiable and can be accessed by your executor.

Of course, your will and any other important documents such as enduring powers of attorney or lasting powers of attorney (EPA or LPA) should also be kept in a secure place where those who need to find them will be able to do so.

A trust comes into effect when a ‘settlor’ places money, land or other assets in the hands of trustees. The trustees are the legal owners of the property but are obliged to hold and manage the property for the benefit of a person or a group of people, who are called beneficiaries.

There are several types of trust:

Bare Trust
In this type of trust, sometimes called a ‘Simple Trust’, the beneficiary has an immediate and absolute right to the property in the trust. The trustees have no discretion as to how the fund is managed. They must manage the trust assets for the maximum benefit of the beneficiary. The income of these funds is taxed as if it is the income of the beneficiary. Parents or grandparents can be trustees of a Bare Trust for their children or grandchildren.

Discretionary Trust
Here the trustees have discretion over to whom and when payments should be made and also whether conditions should be attached. They are usually given discretion as to the investment of the fund. This type of fund may or may not be allowed to accumulate income. Discretionary Trusts are often used when there are worries that a beneficiary may act irresponsibly if given assets outright.

Accumulation and Maintenance Trust (A&M)
In an A&M Trust, the settlor places money in trust for children/grandchildren until they reach a specified age (maximum age 25), when they become entitled to the trust fund. A&M Trusts are used to provide financial support for younger family members. Until 2006, they had favourable tax treatment, but they are now less ‘tax friendly’.

Interest in Possession Trust (IIP)
Here, the beneficiary has a right to the income but not the capital of the trust fund. For example, a beneficiary may be allowed to receive the income arising from shares during their lifetime, with the shares going to their children on their death.

In the UK, there are quite generous exemptions from Inheritance Tax (IHT) which apply to business assets. One problem with making use of such exemptions is the effect this may have on the subsequent value of the relevant assets for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) purposes. Under S274 of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992, the ‘base cost’ value of such assets for future CGT purposes is the IHT value, provided that value has been ‘ascertained’.

This can be especially important when assets are aggregated for IHT purposes. For example, if a deceased person owned 15 per cent of an unquoted company’s shares in his own name and had an indirect interest (say through a trust in which he held a life interest) in another 40 per cent, the IHT valuation would be on the basis of having a controlling (greater than 50 per cent) interest. If the company is a trading company, Business Property Relief (BPR) would apply and in the case of a controlling interest, BPR is given at 100 per cent.

The Capital Taxes Office will not in such circumstances wish to enter into negotiations about the value of these shares and will simply regard the value transferred as nil. The value, therefore, will not have been ‘ascertained’, which may lead to a later dispute about the real value of the shares at the date of death, when the value may well be much harder to ascertain or at least agree.

One possible way around this dilemma is for the executors to submit a valuation of the shares, preferably with the benefit of a valuation by an appropriate professional. This is likely to be ignored by HM Revenue and Customs when dealing with the estate taxation, as 100 per cent BPR will apply. On a subsequent disposal of the shares, that valuation – probably unchallenged – can be used to help to justify the base cost in the CGT computation.

In October 2007 there was a fundamental change on the way in the way powers of attorney are created and the powers that they can give attorneys, when the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) was replaced by the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). EPAs are no longer available, although existing EPAs remain effective.

A power of attorney can be a godsend in cases in which people become incapacitated and unable to deal with their own affairs. Setting up an EPA is a sensible precaution for many people.

Similarities and Differences

Both types of power of attorney are created so that someone’s affairs can be looked after by someone else. In the case of a standard EPA, this is limited to a person’s financial affairs, but the LPA can be used to give much wider powers to the attorney. Any EPA or LPA should be only be undertaken with the advice of a solicitor, as they give considerable rights to the attorney, even in their most limited forms.

Under an EPA, if the attorney wishes to take over exclusive handling of the affairs of the creator of the EPA when that person is no longer mentally competent, he or she must apply to the court. Although LPAs have to be registered when they are to be used, there will no longer be any need to inform anyone when they are to be put into effect, so it will no longer be evident to third parties when a person is no longer able to manage their own affairs.

Under an LPA, the person granting the power of attorney must when it is created, obtain a certificate, signed by a competent witness, stating that they are mentally competent and not making the LPA under the influence of someone else. A wide range of people (including, for example, teachers, accountants, civil servants and shop-keepers) are deemed to be competent to make such a judgment and witness the document.

An LPA also allows the appointment of an ‘attorney for personal welfare’, who is permitted to decide whether ‘life-sustaining treatment’ is to be provided when the person granting the power is no longer able to give informed consent. The definition under the MCA’s definition of ‘life-sustaining treatment’ is also rather vague. It is the ability of attorneys to make life-or-death decisions which is causing much disquiet about LPAs in the legal profession.

In late 2009. following complaints about the complexity of the forms for appointing an attorney under an LPA, simpler forms were introduced. In October 2007 there was a fundamental change on the way in the way powers of attorney are created and the powers that they can give attorneys, when the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) was replaced by the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). EPAs are no longer available, although existing EPAs remain effective.

A power of attorney can be a godsend in cases in which people become incapacitated and unable to deal with their own affairs. Setting up an LPA is a sensible precaution for many people.

There is more information on LPAs on the DirectGov website.


A will expresses the final wishes of the deceased person and it is commonly thought that a will is irrevocable after death. However, provided everyone agrees, it is normally possible to vary a will provided that the application is made within two years of the death.

A Deed of Family Arrangement, or DFA, (also known as a Deed of Variation) is a legal document which can be used to ‘rewrite’ provisions of a will. While these were originally introduced to protect dependents from being unfairly deprived, they are now mainly used to reduce Inheritance Tax.

To be effective, a DFA must be made in writing and signed by all of the beneficiaries who would lose entitlement to the affected part of the deceased person’s estate. If this affects any person under age eighteen, it may require the formal approval of the court.

The law recognises that some people (such as solicitors or accountants) have a high degree of influence over other people (their clients), since clients hire their professional advisers for the specific purpose of giving advice.

However, it is not normally with regard to professional advice that undue influence claims come into being. Normally these arise when someone has been influenced by another person to do something which is to the first person’s detriment and which normally is for the benefit of the other.

In ordinary relationships it is hard to demonstrate that undue influence exists. To do so, the person asserting that undue influence has been exercised must demonstrate in regard to the transaction in question that:

  • he or she placed trust in and confidence in the defendant; and
  • that the transaction is not readily explicable bearing in mind the relationship subsisting between the parties.

The courts have over the years addressed themselves to this issue many times, but with the circumstances of each case varying substantially it has been difficult to establish anything more than general principles. The most important of these are that one must look at the nature of the transaction and the relationship between the parties to transfer to the defendant the burden of proof that undue influence was not applied.

Two recent cases have illustrated this. In the first, an elderly couple, one of whom was dying, bought their council house subject to a sixty percent discount and transferred the title to their son. In exchange for this, the son paid the mortgage and allowed them to live in it rent free. The son had ‘driven’ the arrangement. There was, it seemed, evidence of undue influence.

The son’s successful rebuttal of the claim was based on the arguments that his parents would not have bought the property had he not taken the steps he did and furthermore, they acquired the right to stay in their home rent free for life. Under their agreement with their son, they would also regain their beneficial interest in the house if the son failed to make the mortgage payments.

The second case also dealt with a council house purchase. Here, a mother agreed (by means of a trust deed created at the time the house was bought) that when she sold the house, the sale proceeds would pass to her son. Her son paid the mortgage payments and she lived rent free in the property. Some years later she decided to terminate the agreement.

Here the circumstances were different. When she was a council tenant, the mother’s rent was paid through housing benefit. The practical effect of the arrangement she had entered into was the loss of both her security of tenure and the obligation on her landlord to keep the property in repair. If her son failed to make the mortgage payments, she could lose her home. In any event, the trust deed prevented her from selling the house. In this case, the court found that there was sufficient evidence of undue influence by the son. The absence of a clause that protected the mother if her son failed to make the mortgage payments apparently was a key difference between the two arrangements.

More recent cases have further muddied the waters as regards the circumstances in which undue influence will be able to be demonstrated. However, it is clear that it requires a considerable weight of evidence to be put before the court before it will rule that undue influence has occurred.

One of the rules that applies to the administration of estates is that whilst a person appointed as executor under a will can refuse to accept the appointment, once an executor ‘intermeddles’ in the estate, in principle he or she cannot then ‘resign’ from the responsibility.

It is relatively easy inadvertently to carry out an act which demonstrates one’s acceptance of the rôle of executor. This normally causes few problems, but when the estate being administered is insolvent, matters can get very complicated indeed.

When the liabilities of the deceased exceed the available assets, the personal representatives of the insolvent estate have a duty to administer it in the best interests of the creditors, not the beneficiaries. Debts must be cleared before any legacies are paid. If this rule is breached, the executors may be required to refund the value of any legacies paid from the estate. Payments made to the executor by an insolvent estate may also have to be repaid, with interest.

One possible solution to this problem is for the executor to seek an Insolvency Administration Order (IAO), under which the estate administration is passed to a qualified insolvency practitioner.

The practical effect of an IAO is that the estate is administered in a way that is very similar to a bankruptcy. Any legal proceedings against the estate are stayed and the personal representatives are protected from personal claims. The IAO is deemed to commence at the date of death, and a statement of affairs must be prepared and a creditors’ meeting held.

The assets of the deceased are collected in and distributed according to the priorities set out in insolvency law. The beneficiaries of the estate rank last in order of right to be paid.