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24 April 2017

The recent case of Briers v Briers [2017] EWCA Civ 15 concerned a woman who was successful in obtaining a share of the wealth her former husband had accrued after their divorce.

Although the couple had been divorced for many years and agreed an informal settlement at the time, no financial consent order or other formal and legally binding agreement or court order was obtained at the time. This then meant that Mrs Briers could apply to the Family Court for a financial order some 10 years after the divorce was finalised.

21 April 2017

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed today (21/4/17) that the proposals for increasing the application fee for a Grant of Probate have been shelved.

Following the announcement of a snap election for June 8 2017, the lack of parliamentary time left to deal with outstanding matters before dissolving in early May means the introduction of the controversial fees will be halted.

11 April 2017

An aspect of separation and divorce that is rarely talked about with any level of seriousness is what happens to the family pets? As anyone with a cat, dog, turtle, axolotl or miniature elephant will know, pets are more than secondary to a family life, in fact they form part of a family's dynamics and may even be viewed as another family member. For children, pets can be constant and anchoring presences who keep confidences while offering unconditional love and affection at a time when they may question their parents' love for them. In short, family pets may offer comfort and companionship during a tumultuous time in a way that no human can.

10 April 2017

The Ministry of Justice recently provoked consternation with news that it would introduce a massive hike in probate fees for those estates valued over £50,000. Currently the fee is £155 (if grant of probate is obtained through a solicitor) or £210 (if an individual applies).

However, with the increase in place, fees will range from £300 to a whopping £20,000, with the higher sum applicable for estates valued at £2 million or over and, depressingly, the Government Response to the consultation on fee reform makes clear what the real reason is for the proposed increases: "a properly funded courts and tribunals service".

30 March 2017

Three women who faked their elderly neighbour's Will have received custodial sentences following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court. Karen O'Brien was sentenced to four and a half years, Gemma Gauci to four years and Leanne Collins to one year - all for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

The women claimed to have found the Will while cleaning the home of the deceased man, Mr James Wilmot. The faked Will named Karen O'Brien and Gemma Gauci as executors and beneficiaries, and Leanne Collins as another beneficiary. The late Mr Wilmot's estate was worth an estimated £320,000.

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