Probate – Don't Delay
24th January 2018Back to articles
The Government's announcement in the November Budget that it intends to give local authorities the power to levy a council tax premium of up to 100 per cent on empty properties could have unwelcome consequences for executors who fail to deal with the probate and administration of an estate with reasonable speed.
The plan is aimed at discouraging 'absentee owners', of whom there are large numbers in London, from retaining their properties empty. The argument is that this has the effect of locking up housing stock and helping to maintain prices, especially for properties in the capital, at high levels.
Executors of estates faced with the need to clear and sell the property of the deceased person, which is not possible until the estate is probated, may face a hefty rates bill if the process becomes prolonged.
Our probate professionals can help you make sure that any estate of which you are executor is dealt with in an efficient and professional manner. Contact us for assistance.
Promises, Promises…But Can You Prove It?
People frequently promise to do things for other people and then break their word…or at least other people say they have. When the promise is important and an argument ensues that ends up in court, the decision will be based not on any moral position but on what the evidence says.
Recently, the ex-partner of a wealthy woman lodged a claim against her for a third of the value of her assets.
His argument was that the two had had a committed relationship which was intended to last and that he had done a great deal of refurbishment work at three properties she owned on the understanding that he would have a share in them if they were sold.
The woman denied that such a promise was ever made. As is always the case in such circumstances, the court looked at the external independent evidence: in particular, whether there were any written agreements. In this instance there were none, nor any credible third party evidence.
In the absence of any compelling evidence that any promises had been made, the High Court rejected the man's claim and the Court of Appeal upheld that decision on appeal.
Andrew Eddy, head of Private Client says "It is surprising indeed that this case went as far as the Court of Appeal. In similar circumstances, getting credible documentary evidence, such as a contract or deed of trust, to confirm the position is just common sense."
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