James Mackenzie

James Mackenzie

James Mackenzie is a Private Client Solicitor specialising in Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Probate and Estate Administration and related tax advice, especially inheritance tax.

03 Nov

The majority of Britons have not written a will according to research out today from the Law Society.

The representative body for solicitors has now warned that the consequences of dying without a valid will can be dire for those left behind.

The research revealed that 73 per cent of 16-54 year olds don't have a will, while 64 per cent of people over the age of 55 have made their final wishes clear in a will. The research also found that men are more likely to have a will and keep it updated than women. 

Source and the full article can be read at the Law Society

03 Nov

Probate records from 1996 to date can now be accessed online at www.gov.uk/search-will-probate. If the records relate to someone who died pre 1996 you will need to submit a search application form - http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/pa001s-eng.pdf.

20 Dec

If you are a joint account holder, and the other joint account holder loses mental capacity, you do not automatically have the right to access the account unless you have a Lasting Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Attorney or an order from the Court of Protection.

Click here to visit the website of the British Bankers' Association

11 Sep
in Wills

This is a warning to those of you who are in a second marriage and where you both have children from the first marriage.

Now let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time Mrs Poor met Mr Rich. They were both widowed. They fell in love and married. Mr Rich and Mrs Poor-Rich had 2 children each from a previous marriage. Mr Rich and Mrs Poor-Rich visit their solicitor to make Wills. Ignoring the advice of their solicitor about putting certain assets into trust on the first death they decide to leave their estates to each other and on the second death to the four children in equal shares.

Unfortunately for Mrs Poor-Rich, Mr Rich dies of a heart attack. Mrs Poor-Rich, who is now very wealthy, visits a different solicitor to change her Will. She leaves her estate (which includes everything she inherited from Mr Rich) to her own 2 children, leaving a legacy to each of her stepchildren.

Mrs Poor-Rich dies and her 2 children are absolutely delighted to inherit her estate after payment of the legacies.

Sadly, after the death of Mrs Poor-Rich, her stepson dies leaving a wife and three young children. Having just lost a husband and father, they receive a letter from the solicitors informing them that they have been left a legacy of £100!

Morally, the actions of Mrs Poor-Rich were inexcusable but legally they were not.

Make sure YOU have the correct Will in place.



11 Sep
in Wills

I am often asked to explain the difference between the role of an Executor and that of a Trustee. The role of an Executor is quite different to that of a Trustee and it is important to understand this when considering your Will.

An Executor deals with the winding up of the estate and by that I mean obtaining any grant of representation, settling any liabilities and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.

However, if there are Trusts in the Will, for example, where there are young children, the assets bequeathed to the children are passed by the Executor to the Trustees to look after for the children until they are of age. 

You can appoint the same people to be you Executors and Trustees or you can appoint different people, if you wish. YOU have the choice.

It goes without saying that they must be people you trust implicitly and certainly people that are expected to outlive you. You should also check that they are willing to take on the role of Executor or Trustee, roles which, at times, can be somewhat onerous.



11 Sep

The fee for registering a Lasting/Enduring Power of Attorney is to be reduced to £110 from 1 October 2013.

11 Sep

Application by James Mackenzie for recognition to become a Sole Practitioner granted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority on 5 September 2013.

10 Sep
in Wills

As parents you wish to be sure that in the possible (although unlikely) event of you dying before your children reach the age of 18 people you approve of will take care of those children. It may be that you have different views on this subject from your spouse or civil partner but communication here is important so that you reach an agreement which will be in the best interests of the children.

So how do you, as parents, appoint guardians for your children? You can, in a signed and dated document, appoint a guardian or guardians who will be responsible for your children should the worst happen. The appointment need not be in a Will. However, most parents choose to appoint guardians by Will and this is good practice because a Will is less likely to be forgotten about or mislaid after a death than a separate, less formal document.

To avoid difficulties parents should appoint the same guardians and only the appointment in the Will of the second parent to die should take effect. Wills are usually prepared in this way.

If you wish you can appoint guardians subject to conditions. For example, you could appoint someone to be guardian on the condition that that person is under the age of 60 at the death of the survivor of you and have a substitute guardian if the person was over that age.

When you have decided who to appoint it goes without saying that you should consult with them to confirm that they are willing to take on this role.

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