The latest Women in Wills meeting saw over 50 practitioners from around the country come together on Zoom to share stories, experiences, and advice.
The group has recently passed 750 members and continues to be a source of support and inspiration. So many members have said how valuable they have found their time in Women in Wills and as restrictions ease, plans are in place to host the first in-person events in Autumn 2021. The virtual meetings will continue as well to provide a regular opportunities to get together.
To support the continued growth of Women in Wills, a new 2-tier membership has been introduced which provides members with opportunities to access discounted rates for events, mentoring and connecting opportunities, members newsletters and discounted entry for the British Wills and Probate Awards 2022.
Alongside our fantastic sponsors Arken, Lawyer Checker, Honey Legal and Estate Search, we are really excited to be able to bring the in-person events back and look forward to seeing everyone again.
Find out more about membership and upcoming events here
Claire Cox from Hedges Law was first to speak and provided a very interesting account of a case she has recently dealt with around, ‘the rule against double portions’, she then invited group participation as to whether others have come across it and how we can help client’s avoid disputes such as this in future.
The case was that of her client, whereby her and her sister had been left £30,000 each on the death of their father, however the sister had been gifted an additional £18,000 for her forthcoming wedding. The client’s evidence was that her and her sibling had always been treated the same and she would have had the same when she married. The sister refused to give her a greater share of the estate.
Claire discussed the options when dealing with this type of case, one being a ‘Hotchpot Clause’ in the Will, this clause directs those gifts made during the parents’ lifetime should be taken into (or brought back into) account when dividing assets between the children (or other beneficiaries) following death. Sadly, there was no such clause within the Will, meaning other options were necessary to explore including the rule against double portions and promissory estoppel.
A settlement was reached for a specific legacy to the client of £18,000 (the portion), in addition to her half share of the estate.
Claire then went on to detail some of the learnings she had taken from this case.
Consider including a hotchpot clause and advise the Testator to keep a record of gifts. Ascertain their intentions and record them. Understand and record their intentions when preparing the Will. Ask the Testator to prepare a clear statement at the time of any substantial gifts, confirming if whether it is intended to be in addition to the gift by Will and finally advise Testators to keep a list of gifts with the Will and update as necessary.
If you are interested in future webinars from Hedges Law, please connect with Claire on Linkedin.
Louise Sackey of IDR Law led a discussion around flexibility in the workplace, and this went on to reveal a plethora of professional and personal feelings around this topic.
A topic that is hugely prevalent now, as things return to the ‘new normal’ more of us are faced with the dilemma of returning to the office following a year of working from home.
Most of the group felt that women have taken the bear brunt of this, as reported heavily in the media. We had quite a debate around the challenges that women have faced when attempting to juggle work, home schooling and housework, especially during the second lockdown as the structure of schooling was more refined and the pressure to complete tasks built.
However, overall, the majority confirmed that it was beneficial to have the flexibility around working from home and have certainly experienced more of a work life balance since the pandemic.
In discussing this the caveat though was ultimately would women end up paying the price from being more flexible?
Compared to a ‘smokers break’ as men return to the office will they end up receiving the lions share of ‘good’ cases and ‘better’ roles as they have the advantage of being present when these types of situations unfold within the workplace.
It was agreed that strong management and leadership can certainly make WFH work well, and we have seen this across the UK as productivity of those working from home has soared and many companies are experiencing pandemic success stories.
Our next virtual Women in Wills meet up will be on Thursday 29th July 4pm-5.30pm, and we are excited to invite our guest speakers along Gill Steele from Law Skills Ltd and June Potts, Menopause 360 Consultancy. Contact Allie Jones for more information [email protected]