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Fergusson Law shares their latest news, the latest legal news and provides some legal advice on this blog.

Maradona Left No Will. Big Legal Bill

Footballer Maradona Dies Intestate

By not writing a will, Maradona has left his extended family facing potentially heavy taxes and legal fees on his £55m estate. What would happen if you died?

Did you ever work abroad and leave assets or a pension behind? Or even tax demands? Do you own, or share, property outside the UK?  Might it be in a country like Cyprus or Spain where there are rules about who you can leave it to?  

The Argentine football icon died at 60 last week, leaving behind a complicated financial legacy that echoes his exotic personal life.

Maradona had a big family, fathering at least eight children over decades of romantic entanglements with six different women in Argentina, Italy and Cuba. His inheritance might be expected to be divided equally among those children. And perhaps some of the ex-wives.

Under Argentine law (Código Civil y Comercial de la Nación or CCCN) a person can only give away a third of their assets in a will, with the rest passed on to their children or spouse(s). One child’s lawyer has already asked a court to exhume the footballer's body to collect a sample for a DNA test.

Maradona's apparent heirs - recognised or not - can file a claim for a share of his inheritance in court nine days after his death on 25 November. A judge will then decide "who takes what" before issuing what's known as the declaration of heirs.

Since Maradona does not appear to have left a will, and had no spouse at the time of death, his children should, in theory, receive an equal share of the entire estate.

Without a will, things will get technical and expensive in legal fees.

In the meantime, Maradona’s lawyer said, "We can't predict if the heirs are going to get along well".

After all, you can't choose your family. That, some might say, is decided by the Hand of God.

 

Writing A Legally Binding Will in Scotland

Help is at hand. Let us have a talk about your assets, home or abroad, buy-to-lets, song royalties, patent rights, digital bitcoin, whatever or wherever they may be.  We will quote you for a fixed price Will which expresses your wishes so that your heirs will not waste money bickering in Court.

Just as an example did you know that British nationals with property in Cyprus can opt for UK law for the administration of their estate in the event of their death and avoid the Cypriot forced heirship regime altogether. The decision to apply UK law should be mentioned clearly in the will, as failing to do so will make the Cypriot law of succession applicable by default.

The late Peter Ustinov left defective wills.  The outcome:  Lawyers £22m.  Heirs  £1.4m 

Please get in touch or call on 0131 556 4044 for more information on how we can help you.

The Importance of a Power of Attorney

Making decisions for ourselves is something we all take for granted, but what happens if you lose capacity to look after your finances or welfare? This could happen to any of us suddenly and unexpectedly a result of an accident or of ill-health.

It is also a sad fact that 1 in 3 of us will suffer from dementia.

Whatever your age it is important to take time now to grant Power of Attorney in favour of someone you trust. Being prepared will give you and your family peace of mind.

Many people think that a family member, being a spouse, civil partner or child, will automatically be able to make decisions for them but that is not the case.

Unless you have a Power of Attorney your family does not have the right to make decisions on your behalf.

If you are unfortunate enough to be one of the 1 in 3 who develops dementia and you do not have a Power of Attorney, your family members may have to go to Court to obtain the legal authority to act on your behalf.

Power of Attorney makes sense. By getting a Power of Attorney, you have the right to choose someone who you trust to make specific decisions on your behalf if you need help or if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself.

This is also a topic which has been discussed recently in the media.

Phone us on 0131 556 4044 (any extension), email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out our website www.fergussonlaw.com for more information on how we can help you.

Intestacy and Property Investors

Are you a Buy-to-Let Investor?  Do you have a Will?  If you die without one, your property may not be distributed in the way you would have wanted , and it might cause real problems for your family. 

If you do not have a Will in Scotland, your estate is divided according to the rules of intestacy.

Firstly, if there is a surviving spouse they get two items

  • The family home up to a value of £473,000 and contents up to £29,000
  • Cash - £50,000 if there are surviving children, £89,000 if there are none

If the house is worth more, your widow or widower would have to buy the balance from the estate.

If there are moveable assets ( that is everything except houses, flats and land) left after the first two items then further  Rules  apply

These rules below only apply to moveable assets – cash, investments, cars, belongings etc. 

  • Surviving spouse and children – spouse gets 1/3rd, children share 1/3rd net moveable assets
  • Surviving spouse only – spouse gets one half net moveable assets
  • Surviving children only – children share half net moveable assets

Everything left over falls into what is called FREE ESTATE

So anything else you own (including your buy-to-let Properties), remaining cash, investments etc. are distributed under the following strict order of succession.  Only if there is nobody in the higher category can the next down category inherit:-

  • Children take everything, if you have any
  • Your parents share one half and siblings the other half, if you have both
  • Your parents take everything if you have no siblings
  • Your siblings take everything, if you have no parents
  • If a sibling has died leaving children, those children (i.e. your nieces and nephews) are entitled to their share
  • Your spouse – but only if none of the above survive you.

The important point is that your surviving spouse is well down the list.

If you are a buy-to-let investor with no Will your properties are likely to end up in your free estate.  If you have children, they will inherit them in preference to your surviving spouse, even if they are very young at the time. If you have no children, your nieces and nephews may turn out to have a bigger inheritance  from you than your surviving spouse.

This distribution can have a number of unwanted consequences including an unnecessary inheritance tax bill, family upset,  and difficulties managing the properties if there are children under 16. 

The  practical solution is to draw up a Will.

For advice and a quote contact us at Fergusson Law on 0131 556 4044 (any extension)

or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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