Seminar recap: Inquiries into Life after Death
On 7 September 2022, Anthony Gold’s Contentious Probate Team held its first inhouse and in person seminar since the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. The seminar was well attended by members of other highly regarded law firms specialising in private client and wills, trusts and estates work. An early morning, pre-seminar breakfast buffet at Anthony Gold’s London Bridge offices afforded an opportunity to meet and greet or catch up.
The seminar began with a presentation led by partner Beth Holden and Senior Associate Tom Dickinson. The presentation touched on a variety of fascinating legal issues that are key to this complex and nuanced area of the law. These included the legal test for the requisite mental capacity to make valid lifetime gifts and transactions, undue influence (both actual and presumed), the duties and powers of an attorney operating under a financial LPA, restrictions on gift making by an attorney, the removal of executors and even a soupçon of partnership law.
Following the presentation, the attendees were invited to consider a hypothetical scenario. This gave rise to an animated and fruitful dialogue, first within breakout groups and then by way of a roundtable discussion. The scenario concerned a dispute between the children of a hypothetical successful businessman, Jack Mills, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease some years prior to his death. His children disagreed about the validity of several pre- and post-death transactions that had a bearing on Mr Mills’ estate and his children’s respective inheritances.
Issues considered included which of the transactions were valid and which ones liable to be challenged. There was analysis of what steps should have been taken in advance, or retroactively, to validate the specific transactions. There was also debate about what actions ought to be undertaken by any personal representative charged with administering the estate, as well as the potential for proceedings against third parties. Some of the transactions occurred at the threshold of when Mr Mills may have lost capacity, which was the source of a lively exchange of views. Also, discussed was the validity of lifetime gifts to minors, the appointment of someone on their behalf to give good receipt, and Beddoe relief (where the Court approves a trustee’s or personal representative’s participation in litigation and orders that they be indemnified). In addition, the scenario raised points of partnership law relating to the dissolution of a partnership on death of one of the partners, the entitlements and obligations of the respective partners and/or their estate on dissolution, and what happens to a partnership if one of the partners loses capacity.
The consensus among attendees was that this was an enjoyable and worthwhile event and a welcome addition to the calendar. It was a promising precursor to our next contentious probate seminar and seasonal drinks taking place on 24 November 2022.* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*