Probate: privileged wills and not-so-helpful help

first_img Professor Lesley King, College of Law, London Just how unusual it is to have a modern case on privileged wills is, perhaps, indicated by the comment of judge Peter Langan at the start of his judgment in Re Estate of Ashley Edward Servoz-Gavin, deceased 14 September 2009: ‘The case has involved a forensic journey on a path along which most lawyers, counsel and myself included, never travel after our student days.’ Privileged wills are the creation of statute. Section 11 of the Wills Act 1837 provides that any soldier being in actual military service, or any mariner or seaman being at sea, may dispose of his property after death without formalities. The deceased, Ashley, had been a ship’s radio officer. On his death a grant was obtained on the basis that he had died intestate. Subsequently it became apparent that, in 1985 and again in 1990, he might have made valid privileged wills. Ashley’s cousin, Christine, gave evidence that he had said to her on those two occasions that if anything happened to him, he wanted everything to go to his aunt Anne. Aunt Anne was the twin sister of his mother and he had been very close to her. After the death of his mother, she provided a home for him in England between voyages. Christine’s daughter, Emma, dealt with the administration of the estate on the basis of an intestacy and, initially, obtained a grant of letters of administration to the use and benefit of aunt Anne. Christine had told Emma about the conversations with Ashley, but Emma had brushed them aside on the basis that a will could only be validly made in writing and with witnesses. Later, Emma’s husband came across the concept of privileged wills on the internet. After counsel and solicitors had been consulted, an action was commenced to revoke the grant pronounce in favour of a privileged will. The court accepted Christine’s evidence of the conversations with the deceased, describing her as a straightforward and reliable witness and the evidence as ‘overwhelming’. The issue then was whether the words used demonstrated that he had sufficient intention to make a will. Langan J held that it is unnecessary for the validity of a privileged will that the testator knew that he was making a will – what is required is that he intended deliberately to give expression to his wishes as to what should be done with his property in the event of his death (see Re Stable [1919]). Here, the words used, the seriousness with which the deceased spoke and the fact that his cousin was a person who could be relied upon to carry out his wishes combined to show that the test of intention was satisfied. Counsel for those entitled on intestacy argued that the section 11 privilege is restricted to those serving or engaged to serve on British-­registered ships. This was not correct. There is nothing in the context or purpose of the legislation to indicate that the section should be restrictively construed. The phrase ‘being at sea’ in section 11 has been construed as extending to those who were ‘under orders’ to join their ship. The deceased was to be regarded as having been ‘at sea’ on the second occasion. The evidence showed that he had at that time been instructed to join his ship and his activity was thereafter directed towards preparation for the voyage, Re Wilson (deceased) [1952] PDAD followed. What had happened in 1985 was less well documented and the evidence was equivocal. The court, therefore, pronounced in favour of the 1990 will. That would revoke any previous will, including the 1985 one. The importance of good attendance notesPractitioners can be forgiven for feeling a little jaundiced about will making. There is increased competition from unqualified will writers and it is difficult to charge at a level proportional to the risks involved. The recent decision in Martin v Triggs Turner Barton [2009] EWHC 1920 is a salutary reminder of the need for good attendance notes (see also the comments in Sprackling v Sprackling [2008] EWHC 2696 (Ch) earlier this year). A solicitor had drafted a will leaving the residue of the husband’s estate to his wife for life, and the remainder to charity. The will included a power to advance £100,000 to the wife. She contended that it should have been a power to advance all but the last £100,000. As she had been present at the discussions over the will, this was a straightforward difference in understanding of what had been agreed and the judge preferred the wife’s version, among other reasons, because there was no full attendance note, just ‘notes on the draft will’, and some pages from a ‘counsel’s note book’. The firm’s problems with the life tenant in Martin v Triggs Turner Barton did not end with the disagreement over the power of advancement. After the testator’s death, the solicitor dealing with the administration told the widow that she was unlikely to be entitled to a widow’s pension. The solicitor agreed to write to the Department of Social Security and did so. The letter stated that the writer believed that the widow was in touch with them direct concerning any widow’s pension payable, and asked for confirmation of this fact. The DSS did not reply and the solicitor did not chase the DSS for a reply. The widow did not ask the solicitor about the state widow’s pension again. It later emerged that the widow was entitled to a pension and lost the opportunity to claim the benefits that would have been paid between 2000 and 2007 (valued at £25,047). Floyd J held that while, ordinarily, an executor does not owe a duty to advise a beneficiary in connection with the affairs of the beneficiary: see Cancer Research Campaign v Ernest Brown [1998] PNLR 592; [1997] STC 1425, that rule is subject to the principles about assumption of responsibility and reasonable reliance. In the judge’s opinion, the solicitor assumed responsibility to advise the widow about her pension entitlement, and to take steps to find out whether her belief in the non-entitlement was correct. The circumstances of the relationship were such as to make it reasonable for the widow to rely on the solicitor, so creating the necessary duty of care. He accepted the solicitor’s evidence that this was done as something of a favour, but said that it was done in a professional context in which it was reasonable for a recipient of the information to assume that it would be done with due care. He declined to find any contributory negligence on the part of the widow. Once responsibility had been assumed, there was nothing she needed to do. As a result, the widow had lost the benefits that would have been paid. Perhaps a warning to solicitors to think carefully before offering to help?last_img read more

Stars in their eyes

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

SRA to relax rules on reporting breaches

first_imgThe Solicitors Regulation Authority plans to drop the much-criticised requirement for compliance officers to report all non-material breaches, an executive said today. Samantha Barrass, director of supervision, risk and standards, told delegates at the Law Society’s Risk and Compliance Annual Conference in London that the authority’s current rules will be changed so that firms’ records of non-material breaches will not need to be reported annually to the SRA. The change is subject to consultation and approval by the SRA’s board. Compliance officers for legal practice (COLPs) and finance and administration (COFAs) will still need to record non-material breaches however, in order to support the identification and management of patterns suggesting systemic risk issues. The change to reporting requirements requires an amendment to the rules and will be consulted on as part of the next phase of the SRA’s Red Tape Initiative. The consultation will be published in April, ready for the necessary changes to come into effect in October. Barrass said: ‘In light of extensive engagement with those we regulate and the increasing effectiveness of our risk centre, we have come to the conclusion that we can safely remove the requirement for recognised bodies to report non-material breaches. ‘We recognise that the requirement to record and report non-material breaches has not been popular with firms, many of whom have told us that this is a burden that is simply not proportionate to risks.’ She said the regulator’s main concern ‘is, and always has been, identifying patterns of non-material breaches, that combined may amount to a material breach because of the systemic underlying issues’. Barrass also said the SRA will shortly be providing regular COLP/COFA alerts so they will be the first to know of any developments that may affect their role. She noted that the frontline regulator’s budget has been placed under pressure by the cost of interventions. A budget allocation of £1.3m to deal with interventions is already overspent, with the cost of two interventions alone reaching £1.8m. If mismanaged, the cost to the profession of the failure of a firm of the size of Cobbetts could be in the region of £6m, she estimated. Advice for COLPs and COFAs, including support for decision making on whether or not a breach is material, can be found on the SRA website.last_img read more

‘New solicitors not prepared for AI’

first_imgLaw Society president Christina Blacklaws has questioned whether new entrants to the profession are prepared for the growing reality of working alongside artificial intelligence (AI). ‘At the moment we’re training lawyers for 20th-century practices, not even for current practice,’ she told an international conference on AI in London last week. ‘There is a mismatch with what they are doing in practice today, let alone what they will be doing in future.’Blacklaws (pictured, centre) was chairing a panel at the AI Congress at which lawyers spoke of their experience of working with AI systems already implemented at magic circle firms. Sonia Cissé, managing associate at Linklaters in Paris, said her firm is already sifting through unstructured data with systems including its self-developed tool Nakhoda. Linklaters was one of the first magic circle firms to install an AI system from RAVN, now part of iManage, to organise, discover and summarise documents. The system is used on live matters, including by the firm’s banking department recently to compare 200 loan agreements, she said. Tests show that the AI system cut on average 26% of the time taken per document, displaying an average accuracy of 75%, she said: ‘These time savings are reflected in the fee we propose to clients.’ Other technology installed includes an electronic bundle creation system. Innovation consultant Peter Stovall, formerly a solicitor at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, said that the magic circle firm has a Kira AI system assisting with corporate due diligence. Among other AI systems is one to predict where time-recording entries should be made. He noted that AI was still applied in ‘very narrow use cases’ in law, reflecting the practice groups within firms. ‘Not many firms stick to one platform like the Big Four [accountants] do.’ However he predicted that ‘general AI’ – a system capable of learning any new task – was a decade away.  Cissé stressed that machines were not replacing humans. ‘How do we know there’s 75% accuracy? Because we did a close check and will keep checking what happens on the machine.’ AI is helping lawyers focus on the more important strategic things, she said. ‘It also improves morale among junior lawyers – they are not expected to work such long hours.’last_img read more


first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInAppeal for witnesses – DumfriesPolice Scotland is investigating an incident which is thought to have happened on the footpath between Lochside Road and Burnett Avenue in Lochside, Dumfries sometime between 1315 hours and 1410 hours on Wednesday 2 December 2015. At that time an altercation took place between a 41 year old man and up to three other men, not further described. As a result the 41 year old man received cuts and bruising to his head. Detective Sergeant Lee Moscrop at Dumfries said “we are keen to hear from anyone who may have used this path yesterday, at any time, and in particular from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area.” We are carrying out door to door enquiries in the area in order to establish the facts surrounding this incident.” Anyone with any information is asked to call police at Dumfries on 101, or if they want, anonymously, through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”last_img read more

St Joseph MP committed to working with youth

first_imgLocalNews St Joseph MP committed to working with youth by: – August 19, 2013 Tweet Share Asher Augustus receiving the award from Mr Kelvar DarrouxMember of Parliament for the St. Joseph constituency, Kelvar Darroux has revealed that he is committed to working with the youth.Mr Darroux who represents the Layou, Belles, Mero and St Joseph communities, said he is committed to ensuring that he assists in developing the people, particularly the youth.“I’ve made a commitment as Member of Parliament, to listen and to work along with the young people”.He said as the Parliamentary Representative for that constituency, the primary item on his agenda is to develop his people.“A lot of times our young people are castigated and a lot of times people say that our young people are not interested in anything but that’s not true”.“I have met a lot of positive young people who want to embrace opportunities that have been provided for them, and to move forward and to make a contribution to this community and to Dominica by extension,” he said.He therefore called on his constituents to work together for the development of the youth as well as their respective communities. “I believe it is high time that we continue to work together as a community to help these young people, guide them along the way”.He stated that he is focused on ensuring that “at the end of the day, all of us who are willing to make a positive contribution, can do so and do so in a right way”.Mr Darroux also noted that development should not only be viewed as the construction of a road or a building, but that of people’s development.Just last week Thursday, Mr Darroux presented another student with the 2013 Titiwi Scholarship, Asher Augustus, to attend secondary school and also delivered school supplies to other students within the constituency. Dominica Vibes News Sharecenter_img 29 Views   one comment Share Sharing is caring!last_img read more

New HumRC Series Remote Control and Sensor Transceiver Module from Linx Technologies

first_imgLinx Technologies announced the official launch of the HumRC™ Remote Control and Sensor Transceiver Module. The HumRC™ consists of a wideband transceiver and microcontroller in a module. It includes a Frequency Hopping Spread spectrum (FHSS) protocol and supports versions at 2.4 GHz and 900 MHz with a common footprint and pin out in this initial release, with 868MHz and others bands to follow in the near future. Its transceiver is designed for reliable bi-directional remote control and sensor applications. This common footprint across the available frequencies also makes it suitable for global sale, so one product can be manufactured and sold around the world. This is a low cost solution priced at $9.last_img read more

Video: Tim Alcorn of WEOL Previews Week Two of High School Football in Lorain County

first_img Matt Loede Matt Loede has been a part of the Cleveland Sports Media for over 21 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, the National Football League and even high school and college events. He has been a part of the Cleveland Indians coverage since the opening of Jacobs/Progressive Field in 1994, and spent two and a half years covering the team for 92.3 The Fan, and covers them daily for Associated Press Radio. You can follow Matt on Twitter HERE. Week two of High School Football is closing in, and Friday night NEO Sports Insiders will be all over NE Ohio, with coverage of nine games.Don’t forget we also will have reporters on with our broadcast partner at AM 930 WEOL, and Friday afternoon check back and we’ll have the links to the three games broadcast on WEOL Friday night.WEOL PBP man Tim Alcorn sat down today and previewed week two of the high school slate for Lorain County. Check out the video below and enjoy!center_img Related TopicsHigh School FootballLorainWEOLlast_img read more

UWF Athletics Hall of Fame Profile: Krissy Styrna-Warriner

first_img Share UWF Athletics Hall of Fame Profile: Krissy Styrna-Warriner PENSACOLA, Fla. – The University of West Florida Athletic Department will induct its Hall of Fame Class of 2009-10 on Friday, January 22 at Scenic Hills Country Club, and as a preview of that event each of the five inductees will be profiled throughout the week online at, the home of UWF Athletics on the Web.  The second featured profile is Gulf South Conference Commissioner’s Trophy winner and softball player Krissy Styrna-Warriner.Former UWF softball player Krissy Styrna made the trek from Surrey, British Columbia to Pensacola, Fla. for her college career, and she made her mark on UWF Athletics like few ever have. Styrna posted an 80-22 record in her four-year career as a pitcher for the Argonauts, with a career 1.36 earned run average in the circle. She was also a force at the plate, tallying 280 total hits and 152 runs batted in during her career.  While not pitching, Styrna saw action in the field at third base.Styrna was the first Argonaut in school history to earn the Gulf South Conference Commissioner’s Trophy for athletic and academic excellence in 2002, and she was also named as the NCAA South Region Scholar Athlete of the Year during the same season.  The two-time NCAA Division II All-American was twice a member of the NCAA All-South Region team, and she made her mark on the conference with a GSC Freshman of the Year award in 1999, four All-GSC selections, and four GSC All-Tournament Team accolades. In addition, Styrna was honored as a part of the GSC All-Academic Team.Krissy has spent the last three and a half years as Senior Associate (Financial Auditor) for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP in Jacksonville, Fla., the world’s largest accounting firm.  She is married to Jonathan Warriner, whom she met while attending UWF.–Hall of Fame Questionnaire1. What was your most memorable moment in UWF athletics39One of the most memorable moments during my tenure playing softball at UWF was being awarded the Gulf South Conference Commissioner’s Trophy in 2002, my senior year.  This award was a huge honor, as it was for not only my softball accomplishments, but also my academic accomplishments, for which I worked very hard.  This honor was memorable because not only did Coach (Tami) Cyr play a vital role in this award, but the head coach at our main rival Alabama-Huntsville also had some very nice things to say about me as a competitor, which was very humbling.2. Being a former student-athlete, how has it helped you in your life after college39Being a former student-athlete has helped me in life after college in so many ways.  Playing collegiate athletics has taught me how to work well in a team environment and how to always display a strong work ethic and put my blood, sweat, and tears into everything that I do in life.  It taught me humility and also a sense of accomplishment.  All of this has served me very well in my career and also in my personal life.3. Are you still involved with your sport39  If so, in what capacity39For a number of years after graduating, I was involved with softball through teaching pitching lessons to young girls in the community, and I was the pitching coach at a local high school for a season.   Unfortunately, my profession (accounting) makes it difficult to stay involved, as my busiest time at work is softball season, but I would love to get involved again one day.  I do play in the softball alumni game at UWF every year, and I have been asking my husband to catch for me at home so that I can keep up my pitching skills!4. Please list any other information that you would like to share.Playing softball at UWF was one of the toughest, but best decisions in my life.  Leaving home (Canada) to go to school on the other side of the continent was very difficult but extremely rewarding.  I deeply cherish the memories I have from playing softball in such a wonderful program for Coach Cyr and Coach (Cindie) Corey, and all of the friendships that I have developed over the years and continue to have.–The Hall of Fame festivities are scheduled for Friday, January 22 and Saturday, January 23 and will include a golf tournament and induction ceremony on Friday and a reception at the home basketball games on Saturday.  For more information, view the Hall of Fame home page online at or send an email to information on all UWF Athletics, visit Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

West Florida softball splits with No. 2 UAH in doubleheader

first_img Argos now 19-13 and 8-5 in the GSC (Photo by Bill Stockland) West Florida softball splits with No. 2 UAH in doubleheader Sharecenter_img HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The University of West Florida softball program split the first day with No. 2 the University of Alabama in Huntsville Friday night in Huntsville, Ala. The Argonauts defeated the Chargers in game one 9-7 in 11 innings but fell in game two, 3-11 in five innings. The Argos are now 19-13 on the season and 8-5 in Gulf South Conference play while the Chargers move to 18-4 and 7-4 in conference play.West Florida played a tight contest all throughout the game in the first match-up with UAH after both teams traded runs back and forth and each team held the lead multiple times in the game. After seven innings the score remained tied at 3-3 and would take extra innings to decide the victor. It wasn’t until the 11th inning would we have a victor after the Argos scored three runs in the top half and held UAH to just one to close out the upset victory.Senior pitcher Taylor Bailey (Austin, Texas) went all 11 innings for UWF to earn the win and only had two earned runs and added three strikeouts. Six Argos had multiple hit games including Lou Barnard (Apopka, Fla.) who went 2-for-4 with a solo home run.The Argos struggled defensively in the second game and allowed the Charges 11 runs on 12 hits and had three errors in the ball game and UWF eventually fell 3-11 in five innings to the second ranked team. West Florida could only register six hits in the game including a two-run home run by Barnard in the second inning, her second of the day.UWF will play the series decider tomorrow, March 15 at 1 p.m. CT against the No.2 Alabama Huntsville Chargers.For information on all UWF athletics, visit Florida 9, UAH 7 (03/14/2014 at Huntsville, Ala.) (Game 1)———————————————————————-West Florida…….. 011 102 000 13 –  9 14  4      (19-12, 8-4 GSC)UAH…………….. 111 020 000 11 –  7 11  3      (17-4, 6-4 GSC)———————————————————————-Pitchers: West Florida – Taylor Bailey and . UAH – W. Toler; K. Jack(6) and .Win-Taylor Bailey(10-5)  Loss-K. Jack(2-1)  T-2:31  A-238HR UWF – Lou Barnard (1).Weather: Sunny and mildGame: UAH21UAH 11, West Florida 3 (Mar 14, 2014 at Huntsville, Ala.) (Game 2)———————————————————————-West Florida…….. 021 00 –  3  6  3      (19-13, 8-5 GSC)UAH…………….. 212 6X – 11 12  0      (18-4, 7-4 GSC)———————————————————————-Pitchers: West Florida – Brooke Hale; Lauren Register(3); Rebecca Hein(4) and . UAH -E. Glover; T. Doriety(4) and .Win-E. Glover(6-1)  Save-T. Doriety(1)  Loss-Brooke Hale(0-5)  T-1:20  A-0HR UWF – Lou Barnard (2).Game: UAH22– –Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more