A number of concerns have been raised about the lawfulness

Here are a few of the topics that have interested the readers of the magazine over the last few months:

I have been contacted by a so called heir hunter who says that a reclusive distant relative has passed away without leaving a will. They say I should benefit from her estate but have asked me to sign an agreement confirming that I will hand him 20 per cent of any inheritance. Is this necessary?

A number of concerns have been raised about the lawfulness of the type of agreement you are being asked to sign. Beneficiaries are taken advantage of because they believe the only way to get their share is to sign away a large proportion of their inheritance. Do not feel under any time pressure to sign an agreement. There is no risk of you not receiving your share. Estates only pass to the Government if they remain unclaimed for up to 30 years. You are entitled to receive your share under the Administration of Estates Act 1925. Always take legal advice to make sure that you have been given all the information you are entitled to and to make sure that what you are being asked to pay is fair and reasonable.

I have separated from my girlfriend and she has agreed that I may have the flat we purchased together transferred to me. How easy is this to deal with?

If there is a mortgage on the flat then you need first of all to obtain the permission of your mortgage company to the transfer. They will want to make sure that you can afford the mortgage on your own. If they are happy to agree then they will write to your solicitor confirming that they consent to the transfer. If there is no mortgage then you can ask a solicitor to prepare the transfer for yourself and your girlfriend to sign straightaway. In either case the transfer needs to be registered at the Land Registry but your solicitor will do this for you. There are important rules about stamp duty in these circumstances and so it is important to take legal advice.


Remember that if there is anything you would like to read about in the magazine or if you have any questions you would like me to answer then please e mail me on helen@dixonstewart.com