The 7 Costly Mistakes with Care Fees……………….Free EBook

Grandmother with adult daughter and grandchild in park

Mistakes  are often made regarding care costs unwittingly by vulnerable people or their families. If you read this, it could potentially save your family thousands of pounds that may be lost due to lack of knowledge.

We all want the best for our loved ones. It is my mission here at your local estate planning company, Western Wills to keep you informed.

Download the following link for a free eBook with relevant advice.

p.s. if you feel nervous about clicking links, you can access this information via the website “Care to be Different”.

Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin Owed Millions In Unpaid Tax Says IRS

When soul legend Aretha Franklin died in August aged 76 she left no will to her vast estate. As interested parties file documents with Oakland County Probate Court, the IRS has joined the fray claiming back tax believed to be in the region of $6.3 million plus penalties and interest, a possible total of nearly $8 million.

The debts are in respect of 2012-2018 and the IRS has demanded payment as a priority, in advance of any distribution to other creditors.

However, an attorney representing Franklin’s estate disputes the figures saying that $3 million has already been paid in back taxes and all returned filed.

David Bennett, an attorney working for Franklin’s estate, said: “We claim it’s double-dipping income because they don’t understand how the business works.

“The vast majority of Ms Franklin’s personal 1040 tax obligations were paid prior to her death – something she wished to occur. The estate is diligently working to resolve any remaining issues”

Don Wilson, Franklin’s entertainment attorney for the past 28 years, regrets that she neglected to set up a trust, saying: “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate and kept things private. I just hope [Franklin’s estate] doesn’t end up getting so hotly contested. Any time they don’t leave a trust or will, there always ends up being a fight.”

Her four sons have already filed notices of interest in her estate with the Probate Court, and it is expected that the net estate will be divided between them.

In the past two years she had forfeited three properties and had a lien placed on a fourth because of overdue taxes, which she then paid.

With the estate estimated to be worth $80 million, paying outstanding debts won’t be difficult, although winding up her complex affairs, including numerous properties and copyrights to her songs and partial copyrights for many of those she covered is likely to take years.


Why is a IHT General Simplification Review needed?

The amount of IHT collected by HMRC has risen dramatically in the last few years and hit a record £5.3 billion in the 2017/18 tax year. This was a 13% increase in comparison to the £4.6 billion collected in 2016/17. With the rise in the number of estates subject to IHT, this review is very timely and will hopefully ensure that IHT is simpler to understand in the future.

A case earlier this year highlighted the lack of understanding when it comes to dealing with IHT as part of administering an estate. The Personal Representative, Mr Harris, was left with a staggering IHT bill of more than £340,000. Mr Harris was administering a £1.2 million estate and misguidedly distributed the assets to the beneficiaries before all of the IHT had been paid. Mr Harris’ case shows how a mistake or misunderstanding in regards to IHT can be of great consequence to Personal Representatives.

Don’t get caught out-check what your position is with professional advice.

Farmer’s Son Stripped Of His Inheritance Because He Hates Cows

A farmer’s son is in the middle of a bitter court row with his own parents for his right to inherit the family farm because he ‘doesn’t like cows’.

Clive Shaw, 55, from New York, Lincolnshire, who found out he had been written out of his parents’ Wills has brought a proprietary estoppel claim against them. (Proprietary estoppel  is where a person assumes on verbal agreement they will inherit something, especially if they have had vested interest e.g. worked in a family business.)

Based on a promise from his parents that he would inherit the £1m family farm, Mr Shaw claimed that he tirelessly worked on the farm from a young child and never pursued other career prospects.

The parents cut him out of the Will altogether and instead bequeathed the estate to his sister because they both claimed that their son ‘hated the cows’ on the farm and felt that he was incapable of running the business.

Mr Shaw’s sister, Cheryl Hughes, told the High Court in London that he repeatedly called the cows ‘stinking, horrible, rotten creatures’.

However, Mr Shaw believes the dispute has nothing to do with this but has come about because his mother does not like his girlfriend and thinks she is a ‘gold digger’.

According to national law firm, Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, the case highlights the importance of ‘early action’ where families wish to protect their family assets to avoid costly farming disputes arising in the first place.

Nazia Nawaz, farming will disputes specialist, said: “We’re seeing increasing numbers of similar claims in farming disputes where the parties fail to formalise agreements in writing at the time the promise is made.

“While such cases were historically brought on the death of the person that made the promise, this case is one of many where the claim has been brought in the lifetime of both parties to enforce the promise as soon as there is an indication that the promise has not been honoured in a Will.”

She added: “This case also highlights the importance and need for early action where families wish to protect their family wealth. It goes to show why it is worth hiring a solicitor when it comes to Wills – they are able not only to advise and represent parties in such disputes but also on strategies to minimise the risk of disputes arising in the first place.”

The High Court’s Judge will conclude the case on a later date.

There have been recent cases in the farming sector where Wills have not been written and ‘verbal promises’ have been relied upon instead to family members – which not only causes costly inheritance battles but can tear families apart. Private sector legal professionals have been warning farming families that ‘promises are not enough’ when it comes to farm inheritance and stressed the importance of making a Will to avoid expensive inheritance disputes.


The Danger of Using Cheap Online Will Writing Services! Pay £20 now…… and your family may pay £1,000s later.

When I see clients, I always advise them to put relatives/close friends as executors if possible. This can potentially save the estate a lot in probate fees. Read the following article as published in the Daily Mail 12/09/18.


Dozens of internet firms offer cheap will-writing services that claim to save people time and money by cutting out solicitors. But budget DIY wills can include enormous hidden fees and extra charges.

Money Mail discovered that one firm, called Nine Minute Will, has included a clause in its terms and conditions that says its parent company MedEx Direct will be appointed as executors of a person’s estate if they use their website to create a will. This means that the company — rather than a trusted relative or friend — would be responsible for distributing someone’s estate after their death.

Crucially, MedEx Direct will charge 4 pc of the estate for carrying out its duties as executor — so a customer with a £500,000 estate would hand over £20,000.

The Society of Will Writers — a self-regulatory professional body of which Nine Minute Will’s directors are not members — describes the practice as ‘unethical’. Use of professional executors is generally advisable only when someone has no family or friends suitable to take on the role.

Professional executors can also be useful if someone has a complicated estate or where there is conflict between beneficiaries — although even then you should appoint them as joint executor, experts say.

Thomas Stansfield, marketing director of The Society of Will Writers, says: ‘Automatically appointing yourself as a professional executor and then referring to it in the small print is very misleading, and I would argue unethical.

‘Practices like this could have a negative impact on the profession, including those who do a great job in assisting people at a time of need.’

Mr Stansfield says his members typically charge 1.5 pc to 2 pc — less than half the fee at Nine Minute Will.

Chris Poulton, managing partner at probate firm Final Duties, says: ‘It is common practice for will-writing firms to encourage people to appoint themselves as a back-up executor or even primary executor, basically because it can increase their profits.

‘If you fill out a form online there will often be a tick box to name them as executor.

‘But it’s unusual to not give people the option. That is unprofessional, in my opinion. Even if it is in the terms and conditions, it might not be obvious and not everyone would realise the implications.’

On the homepage for Nine Minute Will it says ‘ we do not charge for being appointed executors’. The firm then refers customers to its terms and conditions.

Its huge fees for carrying out executor duties are then revealed more than 2,600 words into a 5,000 word document at point 11.2, where it is highlighted in bold font. Customers who take out wills with the firm must fill out a form online, during which they are asked twice to confirm they have read these terms and conditions.

These say: ‘The officer and staff of MedEx Direct Ltd will be specified as executors of your estate if you use our will writing services in the will you create. MedEx Direct Ltd will charge 4 pc of your estate for carrying out their duties as executors.’

Nine Minute Will, which also runs the website, says it has been in operation for over 20 years.

The firm, which is based in St Albans, Hertfordshire, charges £19.99 for a single will and £29.99 for a couple if they have similar intentions. This compares to a fee of around £ 150- plus if it is arranged through a solicitor. Steven Katz, director of Nine Minute Will, says that the firm lays out its charges, and the fact that it will be executor of your estate, in a draft will it sends customers and in the final document.

Mr Katz says that Nine Minute Will deals with very small estates that most solicitors would not touch.

He says: ‘A High Street solicitor will charge £250 to £500 to write a will, we charge £20. We take a commercial risk on it.

‘Our risk is that we may end up doing our work for zero or a few pounds. We look after the orphans and widows, we look after the people with little or no assets.’

Most of the hundreds of reviews on the Nine Minute Will website give it glowing reviews, highlighting its ‘streamlined service’ and ‘ cheap prices’. Others describe receiving M&S vouchers as a perk for signing up.

Money Mail contacted several other will writing websites, none of which forced customers to name them as executor in return for drafting the will. appointed itself as default executor when you filled out its form online and you had to untick a box to remove them.

After Money Mail got in touch, the firm changed its website so customers would no longer be automatically opted in.