Father's Failure to Make a Will Plunges His Widow Into Legal Difficulties

6th October 2021 By

One of the best things you can do for your loved ones is to sign a professionally drafted will. As a High Court case showed, failing to take that easy and cost-effective step is to risk plunging those closest to you into legal difficulties after you are gone.

The case concerned a German national who died intestate. Under German law, his widow was entitled to half his estate with the remainder being shared between his five children equally. As a result, his youngest son, aged 16, inherited a one-tenth share in a German property and two garages that were owned by his father. Following the father’s death, mother and son settled permanently in England.

The property generated sporadic rental income but, after maintenance, tax and other costs, it was an overall drain on the family’s resources. Having received a very good offer for the property, the widow wished to sell it. The son, however, was yet to attain adulthood and, under German law, could not consent to the sale. The German land registry would not register a transfer of the property unless all six heirs gave their consent to the sale. In those circumstances, the widow was obliged to seek the Court’s authority for her to enter into the sale contract on her son’s behalf.

Granting the authorisation sought, the Court noted that a relatively simple practical problem had given rise to complex legal issues, which were rendered considerably more difficult by the UK’s departure from the European Union. It was highly regrettable that, in the absence of a will, the widow had to engage in stressful litigation simply to sell a house in Germany in which her son had an interest.

After accepting that it had jurisdiction to consider the matter, the Court found that it plainly served the boy’s welfare for the property to be sold at a price that was well above its current valuation. His mother promised the Court that she would use her son’s share of the proceeds of sale for his education, maintenance and benefit.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Relationship Status Put Under Spotlight in Divorce Case

26th February, 2024 By

Divorce proceedings are rarely cut and dry, especially where the passage of time adds complexity to matters. This was certainly so in a recent case that required a Family Court judge to rule on the validity of a decree nisi. The case centred on the divorce proceedings of a couple in their fifties and focused on a decree nisi that had been pronounced in 2012, following an application by the husband. Now seeking to finalise the divorce with a decree absolute, the husband asserted that the decree nisi had been properly...

Will Execution – Remote Witnessing Legislation Expires

22nd February, 2024 By

A legal amendment that was made during the COVID-19 pandemic allowing the witnessing of wills to take place via videoconferencing has officially expired. As of 31 January 2024, the Wills Act 1837 (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 is no longer active. It was introduced in response to the pandemic, as a means of facilitating the valid execution of wills via remote witnessing. The Order applied to wills made between 31 January 2020 and 31 January 2022, but was later extended to 31 January 2024. Section 9 of the Wills Act...

Psychotherapy Condition Leads to Contact Order Appeal

20th February, 2024 By

Wherever possible, the courts will do what they can to support contact between parents and children but, in some instances, that contact comes with conditions attached. The nature of such conditions was the cause of contention in recent appeal proceedings brought by the father of two young boys. The man appealed against a High Court order that allowed for contact periods with his children, which would progress from supervised to unsupervised and increase in length but were dependent upon him engaging in psychotherapy. This condition had been imposed following a...

Beware of Builders Offering Cut-Price Work – Court of Appeal Cautionary Tale

16th February, 2024 By

Every householder should understand the dire risks involved in opening their doors to those promising to carry out cut-price building work. A Court of Appeal decision provided distressing examples of almost the worst that can happen. A householder approaching retirement age was taken in by a workman who knocked on his door, offering to paint the front of his home for £1,000. He was introduced to another man – the offender – whom the workman described as his business partner. The pair proceeded, over a period of months, to carry...