Capacity and Marriage | Blog Series

Here at Anthony Gold Solicitors, we are sadly seeing an increase in clients approaching us for advice because they have concerns that a relative or friend may be subject to a predatory marriage.

The test for capacity to enter a marriage contract does not require a high or complex level of understanding. It is also one that would, strictly speaking, be regarded as a health and welfare decision. However, the financial implications of marriage can be wide-reaching and complicated to overturn.

Where it is suspected that a vulnerable individual is being financially exploited by way of marriage it is important to act quickly to ensure adequate protection is implemented as soon as possible.

We have put together a series of blogs looking at the legal consequences of a predatory marriage and the preventative measures that can be implemented to protect a vulnerable individual from such a marriage. The blogs will be shared over the coming week:

Predatory marriages and Probate Claims

David Wedgwood looks at the impact of a voidable marriage on an individual’s estate and their testamentary wishes.

Does my Relative have Capacity to Marry and What can I do to Protect them?

Nicola Gunn sets out the legal test for marriage and looks at the Court of Protection’s approach to applying the test.

Capacity to Marry – the Legal Test

Alexandra Knipe looks at the recent case of  WU v BU (by her litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) [2021] EWCOP 54 where the High Court exercised its inherent jurisdiction to protect P and implemented a forced marriage Order.  

Marriage Caveats

Alice Collier looks at marriage caveats to prevent/stop a suspected predatory marriage.

Forced Marriage Protection Orders

Ffion Jones sets out how to apply to the Court for a Forced Marriage Protection Order.

How can I stop probate/letters of administration being granted? Caveats, Warnings and Appearances

If you want to stop the administration of an estate, you can enter a caveat.

What is a caveat?
A caveat is a written notice given by someone (the caveator) which is filed at court to prevent probate being granted. The entry of the caveat prevents the grant of probate being issued without the caveator first being consulted or being allowed to make representations to court about the matter. A caveat has effect for six months from the date of entry and may be renewed every six months until it is removed. It should be entered only in certain circumstances, which may include disputing the Will or the person applying for the grant of representation.

How can I remove a caveat? What is a warning?

If you disagree with the placing of a caveat, you can challenge the caveator by issuing a warning to them. The effect of a warning is to give the person who entered the caveat (the caveator) 14 days (including the date of service) to either lodge an appearance setting out their grounds for maintaining the caveat or to remove the caveat. If they do nothing, the caveat will be removed by the Probate Registry.

How do I respond to a Warning? What is an Appearance?

If you have entered a caveat and are served with a warning, you have 14 days (including the day you were served) to enter an appearance. If you do nothing, your caveat will be removed and the application for a grant can proceed.

The effect of entering an appearance is that no grant can be issued by the Probate Registry to anybody except you without an order from the court. Your caveat remains in force until the issues are resolved either by the consent of the parties or following a court hearing. You should have a valid reason for entering your appearance otherwise there is a risk of costs orders being made against you.

What do I do if an Appearance has been entered?

If an appearance has been entered then a caveat can only be removed by consent of the parties or by court order. If the parties agree to the removal of the caveat, it can be removed by consent by filing a summons and consent order at court. If the parties do not agree to the removal of a caveat then you may want to consider issuing a claim at court for the removal of the caveat.


This content was originally posted as a guide to will and inheritance disputes produced by Sarah Atkinson, Ryan Taylor and Tom Dickinson for the National Will Register, which can be found here.


Can I see the Will?

One question which we are almost always asked when acting for beneficiaries of an estate (or those who believe they should have been beneficiaries) is ‘do I have a right to see the will?’ (They often also ask about when the will is going to be ‘read’, but this is generally only done on TV – normally for maximum dramatic effect!)

Prior to a Grant being issued, the will is the property of the executors who can decide whether or not a copy should be provided to other people.   Unfortunately, often they will refuse to disclose it to those who are not beneficiaries – either because they feel that the person asking should not be allowed to see it (for example because they were not on good terms with the deceased), or they hope to gain some advantage in any future litigation by withholding information from the outset.

However, a will is a matter of public record as soon as the Grant of Probate is issued, and so there is little advantage to be gained by refusing to share the will earlier.  Executors often fear that releasing the will is going to provoke a claim, but those who have genuine grounds for disputing the will’s validity are likely to challenge it anyway (and of course are entitled to see it as part of disclosure in any contentious probate proceedings).

In all Court proceedings, early disclosure of documents is encouraged, with a view to facilitating an early resolution of the claim.  This forms a part of all of the pre-action protocols (including the ACTAPS Protocol), and Courts are unlikely to be sympathetic to executors who have caused the costs of a matter to be increased because of arguments over whether a will should be released.

It is also our experience that withholding a will tends to inflame the situation and lead people to wonder why it is being hidden.  They may well assume that it contains much more than it does.  It is often therefore in the executors’ best interests to release the will, so as to show the person asking for it that there is nothing to hide.

* 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.*

I was promised a share in a property but this was never written down. Is there anything I can do?

There are times when the ownership of property can be different from what it seems.  The legal owner of a property is the person whose name is registered at the Land Registry, but this may not tell the whole story of who owns a property. It is the beneficial ownership that sets out who actually owns the property and in what shares.

There may be formal paperwork setting out who the beneficial owners are (for example, where a property is purchased by one person who holds it on trust for another, under the terms of a clear trust document).  However, this is not always the case.

Co-habitants or family members who are helping each other out with a property purchase, often fail to put into writing the extent of their beneficial interest in a shared home or investment property. This can cause issues if the couple split, or when the property is sold or the legal owner of the property dies.  We are frequently approached by clients who want to realise their share in a property which is in the name of another person.

In such scenarios, there are a number of legal routes that can be taken to try and remedy the situation.

Constructive Trust (common intention between you)

If there is no written agreement then you may be able to argue that there was a “common intention” between you and the other party that you would be entitled to a share in the property. This is known as a constructive trust.

In order to prove this, you would have to prove;

a)That there was a common intention between you and the other party that you would have an interest in the property (this intention can be through something said or written, or inferred through actions);

b)That there has been a change of position on your part and that of the other party (for example contributing to the mortgage or paying for property renovations); and

c)That it would be unfair to prevent you having that share in the property.


If this intention is proven then the Court will decide your share based on any established agreement or by deciding what is fair based on all the circumstances of the case.

Proprietary Estoppel (a promise made to you)

If you were promised a share in a property and have relied on this promise then you may be able to make a claim to the Court that this promise should be upheld. This is known as proprietary estoppel.

In order to prove this, you would need to prove;

a)That a promise (or series of promises) was made to you, and the terms of that promise;

b)That it was reasonable for you to rely on the promise or promises that were made to you.

c)That you relied on the promise to your detriment (you normally have to show that you have suffered some kind of financial hardship (like contributing to the mortgage payments) as a result of the promise).

Where this is established the Court has a wide discretion and will usually award you what is considered to be fair to satisfy the promise or promises made.

Claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

Cohabitants often face a problem when their partner, the legal owner of the property has died, and they do not stand to inherit the property.  If this has happened to you, it can mean that you are threatened with loss of your home at a time when you are already mourning the loss of someone close.  A cohabitant, or child in the same position, is entitled to bring a claim under the 1975 Inheritance Act for reasonable financial provision, which can include the provision of housing.

The Court decides such cases by looking at a variety of factors including your financial resources/needs of the Claimant, any other Claimants and the beneficiaries of the estate; any obligations/responsibilities of the deceased (including promises made to you about what might happen with the property, or what might happen on their death); the size of the estate;  any health needs you may have and any other relevant issues including conduct. The Court will balance these factors to reach a result, which can include the provision of property, or money to buy or rent somewhere else.

If you face any of the issues outlined in this blog and require assistance, Anthony Gold can help. Please contact any member of our Contentious Probate team.

* 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.*

Law Commission’s proposals to change rules as to Capacity to make a Will

Amongst many controversial proposals, the Law Commission Report published this summer proposes that the test for whether a testator has the mental capacity to make a Will should be changed.

The current test, indeed the test since 1870, has been that as set out in the case of Banks v Goodfellow. In that case, Chief Justice Cockburn said “it is essential to the exercise of [the power to make a Will] that a testator shall understand the nature of the act and its effects; shall understand the extent of the property of which he is disposing; shall be able to comprehend and appreciate the claims to which he ought to give effect; and with a view to the latter object, that no disorder of the mind shall poison his affections, pervert his sense of right, or prevent the exercise of his natural facilities – that no insane delusion shall influence his Will in disposing of his property and bring it about to a disposal of it which, if the mind had not been sound, would not have been made.” (1869 – 1870 LR5 QB549 at 565]

This test remained a rare island of certainty in the ever-changing legal landscape for over 100 years. Then, however came the Mental Capacity Act 2005. It contained what seemed like a different test for capacity. It is this statutory test that the Law Commission proposes should apply to Will writing.

The test is found at sections 1-3 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The relevant parts of these sections state:

“1(2)   A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity …

2(1)     For the purposes of this Act, a person lacks capacity in relation to a matter if at the material time he is unable to make a decision for himself in relation to the matter because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain …

3(1)     For the purposes of section 2, a person is unable to make a decision for himself if he is unable:

  1. To understand the information that is relevant to the decision.
  2. To retain that information.
  3. To use or weigh that information as part of the process of making a decision, or
  4. To communicate his decision (whether by talking, using sign language or any other means)”

The Law Commission’s proposal is not a new one. Following the Act coming into force in April 2007, there was much debate as to which test prevailed. The debate seemed to be settled by the courts in the case of Perrins v Holland [2009] EWHC 1954 (Ch).

That case held that the common law rules apply. The case was later approved in 2003 in the case of Bray v Pearce and in 2014 by the case of Walker v Walker (ChD 20/11/2014). In that latter case Mr. Strauss QC set out the three potential differences between the tests and rejected the argument that the Act was just a modern reinstatement of the common law. The three potential differences he identified were:

  1. The burden of proof under the Act is on the person asserting lack of capacity, while under the common law it is on the person propounding the Will (at least initially).
  2. The Act requires that the person understands all the information relevant to making a decision in order to have capacity. This goes beyond what is needed under common law, where it is possible to have capacity to execute a Will even though a person is unable to remember all the relevant information.
  3. The Act also arguably requires that the person has capacity to understand use or weigh information as to the reasonable foreseeable consequences of his choices, whereas the common law does not require such an understanding of collateral consequences.

The Law Commission’s stated objective is to make making a will a lot easier. It is on that basis that they wish to explore making Wills online and generally reducing the formalities around Wills. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 test seems more straightforward and simple. However, in overturning hundreds of years of caselaw dealing with the nuances of a very specific task, they might inadvertently trigger more disputes and more Wills being disallowed. That in turn might lead to less people making wills.

Some also question the merits of the Mental Capacity Act test itself. Although good in many ways, is not without its critics. The Mental Capacity Act in effect defines capacity in terms of a diagnostic threshold and then a functional test. The diagnostic test found at section 2(1) of the Act is in effect is a medical test. This medical model of incapacity was criticised by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in their report of 11 April 2014.

The Committee, whose job it is to oversee the operation of the United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities 2006, which the UK ratified in 2008, said of the UK that there is “a general failure to understand that the human-rights model of disability implies a shift from the substitute decision-making paradigm to one that is based on supported decision-making. The Committee was particularly critical of the diagnostic threshold.”

After the publication of the Committee’s general comments, the Ministry of Justice commissioned the Essex Autonomy Project to consider whether the Mental Capacity Act was compliant with the convention. On 22 September 2014 the Essex Autonomy Project published its report, which said that the Mental Capacity Act was not fully compliant. It recommended that section 2(1) be amended to remove the diagnostic element.

My own view, for what it is worth, is that the Law Commission, although working under the laudable objective of encouraging people to make wills, should not abandon hundreds of years of careful legal analysis for a simplified statutory code, which itself may well be criticised or later amended. Furthermore, it is not at all certain that the Mental Capacity Act test would lead to less challenges, indeed it is most likely that it would lead to more.

At Anthony Gold, we are engaging with the Law Commission in consultation. We have prepared a questionnaire which we are circulating to South London lawyers who have an interest in probate and that questionnaire is attached. It has ten questions with three multiple choices which we would hope that you would have the time to complete. If you wish to let us have more comments then of course they would be more than welcome to pass them on to the Law Commission, or discuss them at our next seminar on 15 September.

We would like to invite you to our seminar, please click here for more information.

I hope to see you there.

* 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.*

When should an incapacitated person’s Will be disclosed

It is common practice for a deputy to see a copy of the Will of the incapacitated person they are representing.

However, on 1 March 2017, the Law Society issued new guidelines were the solicitors who acted for and held the Will of a person who has lost capacity to disclose that Will to the property and affairs deputy.

Deputies have a duty when making financial decisions not to interfere with P’s succession plans.

It is the duty of the deputy to discover what the wishes of P are. By doing so the deputy would require a copy of P’s Will. If at the time the Will was made if no contrary instructions were provided, then a deputy would be entitled to see the Will. There would be a duty for the solicitor making the Will to seek clear instructions whether the Will is not to be disclosed in such circumstances. If that were so, then the solicitor (on the request of the deputy) should not disclose the Will without a specific court order. Upon hearing evidence, it will be for the court to determine if the Will should be disclosed to the deputy.

In conclusion, it can be seen that the deputy must be very careful not to dispose of any assets of P without first attempting to seek a copy of the Will. There could be a number of reasons for this including P’s succession plan, inheritance issue or why certain family members have not been included in the Will.

If you are a lay deputy and need specific advice, please contact our Court of Protection team.

“Administration of bankrupt estates – Top tips ”

An estate is deemed to be bankrupt when the total value of its debts and liabilities (including conditional and future liabilities) is greater than the total value of its assets.   A bankrupt estate is often a very daunting prospect for the executors or administrators (the PRs).  The task of administering such an estate is challenging and often fraught with pitfalls.  What should the PRs look out for?

If I was to provide some top tips for those potentially faced with insolvent estates, I would say the following are my top 3:

1 –  Identify if the estate is insolvent early, so as to avoid problems later.

If you are put in charge of an estate that is being pursued by one major creditor, often the HMRC, check whether there are charges, particularly second and third charges over the deceased’s property and/or there are pending disputes as to the ownership of the deceased’s assets.  A debt to the tax man need not be the evidence that the deceased was bankrupt.  However, all factors listed above are signs of potential problems with solvency.  Do not ignore them!

2 –  Do not pay anyone anything, until you know what all the assets and liabilities of the estate are.

There is always an urge to pay a creditor or a beneficiary who is pursuing “what is theirs” a bit aggressively.  However, the approach of “I will get rid of problem one and deal with the rest later” will not pay off!

When the estate is insolvent, the PRs are obliged to pay the liabilities and debts in a specific order:

a)  Costs and expenses of administration are payable before any creditors

b)  Funeral expenses are payable as a priority debt, i.e. before payments to any unsecured creditor. Sometimes, the funeral expenses will be payable even before a payment to a secured creditor is made.  This is when e.g. the estate has only secured creditors.

c)  Secured creditors are those whose debt is secured by e.g. a charge on a specific asset. They get paid out of that asset.  If the value of the asset is not sufficient to satisfy the debt, any unpaid balance of the debt becomes an unsecured debt.

d)  Unsecured creditors are all the other creditors whose debts are not a priority or are not secured. If the assets of the estate are not enough to pay all, the unsecured creditors get paid on a pari passu  This means that if a debt to Mr X constitutes 70% of all unsecured debts, Mr X will receive 70% of what is left in the estate (after payment to the groups as set out above).

e)  Beneficiaries get their legacies only if there are assets left in the estate after payment to all secured and unsecured creditors. In other words, when an estate is bankrupt, the beneficiaries will get nothing!

The consequences of getting the above wrong may be catastrophic.  If a PR pays a debt to an unsecured creditor in full, he is obliged to pay the liabilities due to all the other creditors in full.  The liability is a personal one.  If you have paid out 100% of any debt, you may have to refund the balance over the % that should have been distributed. Hence, if the assets in the estate are not sufficient, the PR will be personally liable for any balance due to the creditors.

3 –  Do not incur costs and expenses, which are not recoverable

The bankruptcy of the estate takes effect at the date of death.  Hence, all transactions made from the date of death until the date of the Insolvency Administration Order are void.  This means all payments of the PRs’ costs are void, unless they are validated by the court.

As we know from case law, the court will not validate expenses which were not incurred for the benefit for all creditors and beneficiaries of the estate (i.e. increased the estate’s assets or reduced liabilities).

This may sometimes be tricky.  For example, it may be tempting to have an argument with a major creditor who makes exaggerated demands.  After all, if you win the argument, you will benefit the estate (and thus all its creditors and beneficiaries).  Well… true, but you must always consider the risks involved in such an approach as well.

In Re Vos [2006] BPIR 348the Lloyds Bank was pursuing an individual for debts.  The person died and his executor continued the fight.  He hired solicitors to do that and paid those solicitors for their service, as is usual, with the estate’s funds.  The estate was held insolvent.  How surprised were both the executor and his legal advisers, when the court held that the payments received by the solicitor were not “in return for beneficial services rendered to the estate”.  As such they ought to be paid back to the estate with interest.

For general advice on how to manage the risks involved in administering a bankrupt estate or for an article on what may be the alternative to administration of a bankrupt estate by the PRs, please look out for my further blogs on the subject.  If you need specific advice, please contact me direct.

* 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.*

Will by WhatsApp: The Law Commission calls for modernisation of wills regime

The laws relating to the production of a valid will have remained unchanged since 1839. Under the present regime, a will needs to be written and signed by the “testator” as well as two witnesses in order to be valid.

In their long awaited report, published yesterday, the Law Commission has branded these laws “outdated” and called for a sweeping modernisation of the legacy regime.

They consider that the “need to comply with formalities can be a barrier to making a will”  and have suggested that audio and video recordings, electronic documents and oral statements should have the power to dispense and overrule a valid will.

They state that “a person who is seriously ill in the hospital may have more immediate access to a tablet or smartphone than to a pen and paper, and may be more able to speak than write”.

Under their proposals, judges in the High Court and County Court would have the power to decide on “the balance of probabilities” whether the text or recording is a valid expression of person’s testamentary wishes.

They consider that this power should operate retrospectively as “the date of the document may be difficult to discover in comparison with the usually straightforward question of the date of a person’s death”.

The effect of these proposals and the uncertainty created would certainly keep contentious probate practitioners busy for years to come.

In recognition of this, the Law Commission states that “the potential recognition of electronic documents could provide a treasure trove for dissatisfied relatives. They may be tempted to sift through a huge number of texts, emails and other records in order to find one that could be put forward as a will on the basis of a dispensing power”

They also acknowledge that “the large number of electronic documents that we store on our phone, tablets and computers may open up a variety of avenues by which probate could become expensive and contentious”.

Among their other proposals are a lowering of the legal age to write a will from 18 to 16 and a modernisation of the current test for testamentary capacity, known as the Banks v Goodfellow test, which dates back to 1870.

The Law Commission considered the language in this test to be “archaic” and that “recasting the test in a modern form would make it more readily understandable and therefore more easily applied”.

Their proposal is for the Mental Capacity Act 2005 be adopted as the test for testamentary capacity.

The consultation closes on 10 November and whether any of these proposals come into force, remains to be seen.

If you have any questions relating to a Will, Anthony Gold can help. Please contact 0207 940 4000.

Recovering legal costs in contested probate cases

When it comes to determining the issue of costs in contested matters, the general litigation rule is that the costs follow the event.  In other words, it is expected for the loser to pay the winner’s costs.  This is however not always the case in contested probate matters.

The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) Rule Part 57.7(5) allows some family members or beneficiaries to insist on the Will being “proved”, without them setting out the reason for them refusing to consent to the Will being adopted. In other words, contrary to the usual practice in litigation, a defendant need do nothing, merely serves notice that although they are raising no positive case, they still require the claimant to prove the Will (a so-called “passive defence”).  This puts no obligations on the defendant.  The job of adducing evidence to convince the court that the Will ought to be pronounced is left to the claimant (normally the executor of the Will).

To add insult to the injury, CPR Rule 57.7(5) (b) provides that the court will not make a cost order against the defendant “unless it considers that there was no reasonable ground for opposing the Will.”  One can, therefore, say that not only does the claimant do all the work, but they must do so at their own expense.   The claimant proceeds expecting success, but extremely frustrated that the estate must waste tens of thousands of pounds incurred in legal fees.

The costs rule, can be used tactically, by those familiar with it, to force opponents into paying off weak challenges to the Will.  Such use of the CPR has many critics and quite rightly so.  However, does the tactical use of CPR always pay off? Not necessarily!

In the case of Elliott v Simmonds [2016] EWHC 732 (Ch) and [2016] EWHC 962 (Ch) the defendant, Ms Simmonds, did precisely what CPR 57.7(5) allowed her to do.  Ms Simmonds was an illegitimate daughter of Kenneth Jordan, a self-made millionaire.  Mr Jordan, having been admitted to a nursing home in which he later died, made a Will leaving his entire estate to Ms Elliot.  Upon his death, Ms Simmonds registered a caveat preventing a grant to the estate of her father being sealed.  She made various allegations against the Will but took no steps to produce evidence in support of any of those, let alone issue claims.  This left the executor of Mr Jordan’s Will with no choice, but to issue proceedings to prove the Will.

Ms Simmonds did not enter a defence raising the allegations as to the Will’s invalidity she previously insinuated.  Instead, she entered the “passive defence”, merely insisting the Will be proved.  By doing so she left herself the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses who attested the Will, at trial.  The case then proceeded through usual procedural steps of disclosure, witness statements and then trial.

Mr Jordan’s medical records, care home notes and copies of various solicitors’ files (including the file of the solicitors who prepared the Will) were obtained.  At trial, the judge found nothing suggesting that Mr Jordan lacked capacity or knowledge and understanding of the Will.  The court ordered accordingly that the Will be pronounced in solemn form and Ms Simmonds caveat is removed.

Setting a precedent, and totally unexpectedly so for Ms Simmonds, the court ordered also that Ms Simmonds pays the claimant’s costs of the matter, such costs to be assessed if not agreed.  Pending the assessment process, Ms Simmonds was ordered to pay a sum of £65,000 on account of such costs.

The court made the costs order finding that Ms Simmonds acted unreasonably as she had in her possession all the evidence adduced by the claimant prior to the issue of the proceedings and still chose not to withdraw the caveat.

What lesson do we learn from this judgment?  It pays for executors to be cooperative, even towards those who are contesting the Will.  When executors find themselves in a situation that they should issue claim to prove a Will, they should disclose supporting evidence as soon as possible. They should also warn defendants on costs before issuing.  Then, even if the defendant enters a passive defence, assuming the evidence supporting the Will is strong, the executors look to get an order that their costs are paid.

* 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.*

Property Fraud and Executors

As set out in the recent article in the Financial Times there has been a recent increase in identity thefts involving properties.  In that article, Ms Beth Holden, a member of our team here at Anthony Gold, explains how fraudsters target empty or rented properties.

One of the case studies referred to in that article involved a probate property. It was only long after the executor was appointed that the fraud came to light.

What then are the responsibilities of an executor to safeguard the estate assets in these circumstances?  Many people agree to become an executor, without understanding the full responsibilities involved. Furthermore, although executors’ powers are limited until the grant is in place, many do not understand that the responsibility starts on the death. As such they are often not in a great hurry to secure the property. This is when fraudsters might target probate property.

An executor will have made enquiries as to the estate assets before the grant of probate, in preparing the IHT forms. Part of that process should be looking to secure the estate property. Executors should make enquiries as to who is occupying the property. If the property is empty regular visits should be arranged. If the property is rented, then enquiries should be made of the tenants.

In terms of protecting a property, many executors will have the property transferred into their own name as soon as possible. The first step, however, would be to send in the death certificate and request that the death is registered on the system. Executors would also be wise to sign up to the free alert service offered by the Land Registry. In any event, the address of the proprietor should be updated from that of the deceased.

If the above precautions are not in place and the property is transferred to a bona fide purchaser without notice of the fraud, it would be necessary to apply to have the register rectified. This is a complex and lengthy process, which necessitates legal representation.

At Anthony Gold, we run regular seminars discussing the latest issues affecting executors.  The seminars are free of charge. If our programme of seminars is of interest, please follow this link here where you will see the latest topic.

* 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.*