Supreme Court reduces estranged daughter’s claim

Last year we reported that the claim by a daughter  who had been cut out of her mother’s Will was heading to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court issued its judgment in the case earlier this week. The Court underlined that people’s wishes in their Wills about who should or should not inherit from them must be respected and and the Courts will only depart from that in cases where there a clear need has been shown. The bar has been raised for adult children who are not disabled who wish to claim a payment from their parents’ estates.  All cases are decided on the particular facts, and in this case the money awarded to Mrs Illott was very substantially reduced.

If you wsih to discuss how this judgment might relate to your own will, please make an appointment to see our Wills specialist Chris Wallworth

Shock increase in Probate Registry fees

From May 2017 the fee payable to the Probate Registry to  obtain a Grant of Probate will increase by a staggering 2,580% for an average estate and by 12,903% for the wealthiest estates.

Currently the Probate Registry charges a flat fee of £155 to process and issue a grant of probate.  From May the fee will be on a sliding scale as follows:

Value of estate                                 Fee

0-£50,000                                             Nil

£50,001-£300,000                             £300

£300,001-£500,000                           £1000

£500,001-£1,000,000                       £4000

£1,000,001-£1,600,000                    £8000

£1,600,001-£2,000,000                    £12,000

£2,000,001 or more                         £20,000

The Government justifies this by stating that the Court service must pay its way. But the work the Probate Registry has to do is exactly the same whether the estate is worth £10,000 or £10,000,000. In a consultation last year the Government’s proposals were almost unanimously condemned by professional bodies such as the Law Society and the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners and many individual lawyers and law firms who responded. The Government has chosen to ignore that response.

To make matters worse, the new fees apply if the application for probate is submitted after they have come into effect. It does not matter that the deceased died before the fees are increased. There will therefore be a potential problem for the estates of people dying between now and when the fees come in. We cannot submit the application for probate until we have full details of the assets and liabilities of the deceased’s estate.  Where there is inheritance tax to pay, we cannot apply for probate until we have paid the tax and been issued with a receipt by HM Revenue & Customs. It can take HMRC as long as a moth to issue a receipt. Even if we have all the papers ready to go to the Probate Registry before the new fees come in, it might not be possible to send them in until after that date.

The probate fee for an estate liable to inheritance tax is likely to be at least £4,000.

If you feel strongly about this, we suggest you write to your Member of Parliament.

For futher advice please speak to Chris Wallworth

Christmas & New Year Closing

We close for the Christmas and New Year break on Friday 23 December 2016 at 5.00 pm and we re-open on Tuesday 3 January 2017 at 9.00 am.

We wish all our clients and professional colleagues a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Rotary Blenheim 10 & 5

A beautiful autumn day in Blenheim Park  yesterday when over 500 runners helped to raise £5000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society in the Rotary Blenheim 10k & 5k races, sponsored by Ferguson Bricknell

Phone problems at our George Street office

There is a major problem with phone lines in the centre of Oxford; we understand that about 600 lines are affected. We currently have only one working phone line. The phone lines that are not working still send a ringing tone down the line to the person calling even though they don’t ring at our end. So if we don’t answer your call, we are not ignoring you, we just don’t know you’re tyring to ring us.

Our fax line is also affected so we cannot send or receive faxes at present.

The best means of contact is email to the solicitor handing your case.  Click on the soliictor’s name below to send an email.

Sue Whitehead

Chris Wallworth

Bill Short

Rotary Blenheim 10k & 5k

Melvin Berryman of Ferguson Bricknell cruises past the south lawn of Blenheim Palace towards  the 9 kilometre post in the 2014 Rotary Blenheim 10k.

There is still time to enter the 2016 10k and 5k races, sponsored by Ferguson Bricknell, which will be run next Sunday, 23rd October. This year’s charity is The Multiple Sclerosis Society

Click here to enter.


Have you packed everything you need for your holiday?

Flight tickets? Passport? Suncream? Camera? Swimwear? Will?

If you need to update your Will before you go on holiday, please make an appointment to see us at least two weeks before your date of travel. That will give us time to discuss your requirements and prepare your Will so that you can travel with peace of mind.

Please make an appointment to see Chris Wallworth at our George Street office or Melvin Berryman  at our Headington office.

Singer leaves £200 million fortune and no Will

It is reported that the singer Prince was worth the equivalent of £200 million when he died earlier this month but he did not leave a Will. His sister has now applied to a Court in Minneapolis for an administrator to be appointed to administer his estate. With five half-siblings, one full sister and two deceased siblings the stage is set for a potential family dispute.

You may not be worth as much as Prince, but more modest estates can still cause problems for families if there is no Will.  Don’t delay. Make an appointment to see us to discuss your Will, whether you are making a Will for the first time or if you wish to review your existing Will.

Information about making Wills is here

Ask for Chris Wallworth at our City Centre office or Melvin Berryman at our Headington office.


1 2 3 4