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Closing Foreign Bank Accounts in the EU

We have a couple of cases which are taking longer than usual to close down because the deceased had a bank account in a European country. Although both countries are within the European Union, of which we are still full members, the banks in question are less than co-operative. In spite of our long-standing membership of the European Union, the fact remains that as far as legal systems are concerned, there is still an enormous gap between “the continent” and the United Kingdom. This is one area of law where Brexit will make no difference whatsoever.

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Probate Providers or Solicitors

When I was researching the treatment by banks of the accounts of deceased’s customers I noticed that Barclays Bank was tied in with an operation called Simplify Probate. They may be an extremely competent and well run organization but they are not described by Barclays as solicitors or lawyers. It is not unusual for estates to come with unexpected legal problems when, for example, expertise in property or trusts becomes an essential part of the service.

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Government Sponsored Research on Inheritance Tax – What’s the Motive?

On budget day the Government published some research it had commissioned into the way that potential testators and beneficiaries look at certain reliefs for inheritance tax. In particular agricultural property relief and business property relief. The research was a limited project and came to some fairly obvious conclusions.

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Grandchildren – the new executor class

At Probaters we have noticed a recent trend. People are appointing grandchildren as executors and skipping the intermediate generation. Why is this? I suppose some parents have had enough of their children and a bright grandchild is a source of joy and hope for the future. Even better if he or she is computer literate as the trend nowadays is in favour of all things digital. If a grandchild is a whizz at a spreadsheet and knows a thing or two about online assets then maybe he or she is a good choice.

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Executor appoints attorney – not always a good idea

At Probaters we often find that executors are relieved that the whole of the administration has been taken off their hands. Sometimes they just want us to step entirely into their shoes. This can be done by the executor appointing an organization or an individual to act as his or her attorney. Indeed some probate providers actively promote this because it really gives them carte blanche, not only in the way they administer the estate, but their ability to charge sometimes exorbitant fees.

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