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Latest legal news on estate planning, including wills, trusts, executries, powers of attorney, and family law from our Edinburgh solicitors. For legal advice, contact our lawyers on 0131 225 7558.

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According to a new survey, not enough people in Britain are making plans for their end of life.

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Coercion argued in will dispute

Posted by on in Wills

In an on-going English court case one brother has accused the other of coercing their mother into leaving him the majority of her estate, reports the Telegraph.

In a will signed in 2006, Jessica Schrader, who died two years later at the age of 98, left her home to her eldest son, Nick. Her younger son, Bill, received only a bequest of comparatively little worth.

According to the Telegraph, the dispute revolves around whether Mrs Schrader had been unduly influenced by Nick Schrader. Alternatively, argues Bill Schrader, she must have lacked the legal capacity to make a valid will, as it represented a radical departure from the fairness and even-handedness with which she had always treated her sons.

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A recent survey from Canada has found that 56% of adult Canadians do not have a signed will, and 71% are without a signed power of attorney.

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Recent research from Canada has found that many Canadians may have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the value of expected future inheritances.

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Recent research by Standard Life has found that 61% of British adults don't have a will drawn up.

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The firm highlights that less than half of all UK adults have made a will and says that this so-called "will apathy" could have catastrophic effects for families throughout the country – as it means that they will not know whether they will receive the full inheritance they may have been expecting and this could create unnecessary feuds over money.

Partner Scott Rasmusen, who provides family law advice in areas such as wills, powers of attorney and executries, said: "The economy is still fairly flat and we are seeing more and more cuts being made to the public sector, which is leading more people to be fearful over their jobs and finances.

Gibson Kerr, which has more than 100 years experience in the Capital, has been working with English inheritance research firm Celtic Research who specialise in searching for the rightful heirs to fortunes left by people who did not make wills before their deaths.

The firm says that these bargain-hunters are actually leaving their families and loved ones in danger of not receiving their rightful inheritances – as online or DIY wills can be poorly written and, in some cases, are not legally-binding contracts.

Scott Rasmusen, Partner at Gibson Kerr, said that it was vital that people get suitable legal advice regarding the process of making or changing a will in order to safeguard their families and loved ones – rather than being tempted by the "cheap" DIY option.

Credit Crunch Wills

Posted by on in Wills

Scottish legal firm Gibson Kerr believes that many charities across the country are likely to receive less money from legacies over the coming years - as more people in Scotland choose to dramatically cut down donations after reassessing their personal wealth in the wake of the economic downturn.

The firm says that with investments, such as share portfolios, savings and property, falling in value, many people will choose to change their wills to ensure family members are not left out of pocket in favour of charities. Edinburgh-based Gibson Kerr believes that many charities that rely on vital funding from donations left in wills could be seriously hindered in the future – as more and more legacy donations are reduced in people's wills.