The term “chattels” invokes the language of a time when Britain still had an Empire and people were concerned with what would happen to things such as their carriages and horses. The statutory definition of personal chattels was updated in 2014 from such delightful but archaic language but the principle remains the same. Any personal goods other than “money, securities for money or property used solely or mainly for business purposes” falls into the definition of chattels.
From May 2017, the government is introducing a new set of Probate fees based on a banding system – the larger the value of the estate, the higher the fee. In many cases a Grant must be issued by the Probate Registry in order for personal representatives of a deceased person to access their assets. When this happens, upfront costs of around £200 are met by the representative and reclaimed later from the assets of the estate. But what if the upfront cost is £20,000?
Whilst it is true that you do not need a solicitor to prepare your Will in order for it to be valid, as with most drafted legal documents, it is often safer for a solicitor to prepare it. They are well used to the legal requirements to make a valid Will and what happens upon a person’s death. This will help avoid uncertainty in the future. The following are some aspects of a Will a lay-person may not be aware of and which highlight the fact that legal advice is important.