An update to our campaign against double charging

Posted in Fairness Campaigns, For Solicitors

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As a result of our campaign to end double charging for birth, marriage and death certificates, yet another law firm has accepted that our rationale is correct and has obtained a full repayment from the heir hunters involved. Philip Turvey reports.

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How murder affects inheritance rules

Posted in For Solicitors

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Recently one of our case managers was searching through historic records when she stumbled upon a probate entry for Frederick Walter Stephen West, better known as the infamous serial killer Fred West who died in January 1995. In this article, legal researcher Rosie Kelly, fresh from success in her CILEx criminal law examinations, looks at the rules of inheritance when a murder has been committed and how these have evolved in recent years.

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Double charging: unethical, unjustifiable and rife

Posted in Fairness Campaigns, For Solicitors

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When probate researchers work on their own initiative they must be prepared to underwrite the entire cost of investigating an intestacy themselves. If successful, their expenses, like their overheads, will ultimately be recouped through the fees they negotiate with any beneficiaries that they locate. However, many heir hunting firms are also being paid retrospectively out of estate funds for the cost of the birth, marriage and death (BMD) certificates that they acquired during the course of their speculative research. In this article, Philip Turvey argues that this practice of double charging is unethical, unjustifiable and rife.

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How can something as big as a house be missed from someone’s estate?

Posted in Case Histories, For Relatives, For Solicitors

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According to the most recent government statistics, there are currently over 200,000 long-term empty homes in England alone. Given that ‘long term’ is defined as over six months, it’s likely that many of these buildings are empty for quite mundane reasons, perhaps because they are awaiting new tenants or a sale. However, a small number of long-term empty homes fall derelict simply because their owner has died and – whether or not they made a will – for some reason the property has not been included in their estate. In this article, Chris Ferry discusses a case that shows how easily this can happen and the problems that arise when it does.

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Ashes, urns and the law on moving human remains

Posted in For Solicitors

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A builder laying a concrete floor in a former chapel came across an urn, shifted it out of the way and continued his work. When he enquired what to do with his find, he was informed by the Ministry of Justice that moving a funerary urn is a criminal act and in order to avoid a potential prosecution he would need the consent of a family member for it to be moved. So, is it a crime to remove human ashes if they are found buried on your property? In this article, legal researcher Rosie Kelly takes a close look at the law.

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