Please share this useful information.

Did you know………Facebook allows you to add a “legacy contact” who can take limited control of your account if you pass away? You also have the choice as to whether you would like your Facebook account permanently deleted or it can be memorialised, allowing family and friends to post messages of remembrance.

It takes moments to set up the above. On your facebook home page at the top right, click on settings, then choose manage your account. You will see the selection to nominate somebody as explained above.

Twitter says that in the event of a user death it will work with a person authorised to act on behalf of the estate, e.g. an executor or a verified immediate family member to shut down an account. They are likely to ask for i.d. and the death certificate.


Have you registered your Lasting Power of Attorney? You may be entitled to a partial refund from the OPG…

Why did applicants pay too much?

People were charged more than was necessary by the Office of the Public Guardian, to apply to register a lasting or enduring Power of Attorney, between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) sets the Office of the Public Guardian’s (OPG) fees and the Power of Attorney cost was set at £110.

However, during the four-year period highlighted, OPG’s operating costs came down as more applied to register a Power of Attorney. However, the application fee wasn’t reduced in line with this.

It was only from 1 April 2017 that the fee came down to £82.

The MoJ explains that OPG should not be making a profit or loss on the fees – the fees should cover the cost of delivering the service only, which can vary from year-to-year depending on the number of applications received.

How much can you claim?

The OPG will run the refund scheme:

  • £54 if the fee was paid between April and September 2013
  • £34 if the fee was paid between October 2013 and March 2014
  • £37 if the fee was paid between April 2014 to March 2015
  • £38 if the fee was paid between April 2015 and March 2016
  • £45 if the fee was paid between April 2016 to March 2017.

Claims will also include 0.5% interest. If you paid a reduced – ‘remission’ fee, you will get half the refund amount.

How to claim a refund

It will take around 10 minutes to apply online for the Power of Attorney refund (have your bank account and sort code to hand, though you will need to claim by phone (on 0300 456 0300) if the donor doesn’t have a UK bank account, the donor has died or you’re a court-appointed deputy.

It can take up to 12 weeks for your claim to be processed and if it is approved, the refund will be paid to the donor’s bank account. If it is rejected, you can appeal by contacting the refunds helpline.

If this affects you and you need advice, call Liane at Western Wills today. 


How Do You Trust Your Will Writer?

Some people choose to write their own will or use a cheap on-line service. The problem here is the document will only be as good as their knowledge! The wrong type of will could be chosen, or vital facts not considered. This could cause considerable distress to loved ones or a loss of money from the estate. There are a group of clients who would not be happy unless they saw a solicitor for their will or Power of Attorney.
Surprisingly, the Will writing industry is not currently regulated, but this does not mean there isn’t an increasing demand for Will writers to become regulated.
It’s apparent that the number of ‘cow-boys’ out there has increased and there are some stories where a Will, which the client thought to be professionally written, either did not correctly state the clients wishes or failed completely. In this circumstance, there is very little the client can do. Additionally, I have seen excellent wills written by will writers and appalling ones written by solicitors!
Understandably, these facts make clients very nervous about writing their Will; sometimes to the point where they put off writing their Will altogether. The biggest concern for clients is trusting the professional sat in front of them.
The House of Commons have recently been driven to delve into this issue a little deeper and have taken a look at the pros of cons of adding regulation for Will writing. The decision to exclude Wills from the original Legal Service Act was by no means unanimous – there were many arguments put together to try to force regulation. At the time, the Government responded to these arguments by suggesting that voluntary regulation would suffice.
Whether you are pro-regulation or not, what is clear is that these questions are rearing their head again and it is definitely advisable for Will writers to opt for voluntary regulation. We would expect that regulation will be considered again within the next 5-10 years.
Until then, the best procedure for a client is to check the will writer belongs to a professional body such as The Society of Will Writers or IPW. Members must continually train throughout the year and any complaints would be taken seriously.
Also check your will writer has P.I. (personal indemnity insurance). Look at their client testimonials, these will give a good oversight.


Remember George Osborne?  Yep, the one who was Chancellor for a while and who promised to raise the inheritance tax threshold for married couples to £1 million?  Well in typical political style, he sort of kept his promise when he announced in summer 2015 that he was introducing the grandly titled Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB for short!)

The RNRB is arguably the most complicated introduction to our tax system in (at least) a generation. The new allowance will certainly see some people benefit from the long-awaited increase in the amount of their hard-earned cash they can pass to their loved ones free of inheritance tax (IHT).  Provided that their loved ones receiving the required interest in their home are “lineal descendants” and that the gift to them is absolute.  Oh and that they have a main residence or had one in the past.  There are other conditions but we will skirt round those for now…

This is marvellous news if you have lineal descendants and if it is appropriate to leave an interest in your residence to such descendants with no strings attached.

However, the limits on the availability of the new relief are a problem for people who have children/grandchildren (even step or foster children) who might not be capable of taking control of such a gift, perhaps where they are disabled or just not great with money.  Whereas trusts would usually be favoured to afford some on-going protection, using such arrangements eliminates the availability of the relief.

Which leads to the question – Are we introducing, through the back door, forced heirship rules here?  They have them in Scotland and our continental cousins are au fait with such provisions but in England and Wales, we have always had freedom of testamentary disposition.  Well, the RNRB takes a bit of that freedom away.  The cost of securing the additional relief is that you cannot freely decide who gets part of your estate and how.

Then we have the issue of discrimination.  A strong assertion but a fact.  Those who do not have qualifying lineal descendants do not get a look in on the RNRB.  Those who have lost children, who have never been able to have them or indeed have not wanted them, lose out.

Ultimately, the RNRB is not as generous as it first looks but most of all it is unfair, excludes some from benefiting, and leaves others with a lack of free choice on how they gift their estate.

All is not as the headlines would have you believe and even those that do qualify for the relief on the face of it need to make sure that they do not fall foul of other conditions that are not covered here.


Children under 18?

Currently in the UK, only 67% of adults have a valid Will, and whilst not all of them will have needed to appoint guardians for their children, it is certainly something that many of them will have considered. Deciding who you would like to bring up your children is likely to not be easy. However the thought of knowing that someone you trust will be looking after them after you’re gone should certainly bring some comfort to the matter. After all, the alternative is letting the courts decide on their guardians, something that surely any parent would wish to avoid.

The appointee will only become the child’s guardian if at the death of the testator:

  1. No parent with parental responsibility survived him; or
  2. There was a residence order in his/her sole favour relating to the child.

Without any guardians in place, under Section 5 of the Children Act 1989 the courts can appoint guardians for a child if there are no parents with parental responsibility, i.e. not named on the child’s birth certificate. Guardians may also appoint a successor, and this is not something that needs to be done in the testators Will.

When appointing guardians in your Will, you should always seek consent of those you wish to appoint, prior to naming them in your Will. The loss of a friend or family member can be shocking enough without unexpectedly having to take on the responsibility of children.

Having appointed guardians for you children, you should also think about writing a letter of wishes to lay out how you want your children to be raised specifically. You can express how you wish for your children to continue with certain activities such as music lessons, or afterschool clubs. Other examples may include guidelines as to religion, or their education. It should however be remembered that a letter of wishes is just that. It is not legally binding and cannot be enforced and as such it is advisable that when appointing guardians, you choose somebody who will follow the wishes you have set out.