Thank you for your enquiries this month. It is always good to hear from you. Here are just some of the matters that have been concerning you:
I have been separated from my husband for 3 years after 20 years of marriage. We have no children and no financial matters to resolve but he will not agree to a divorce. What can I do?
Unfortunately in England the only way you can have a “no fault divorce” is after living apart for two years with the consent of both parties to the marriage or after living apart for five years without consent. I am afraid that if your husband will not consent to a divorce then you will have to wait a further two years to issue divorce proceedings unless you wish to divorce on the basis of unreasonable behaviour, adultery or desertion.
My mother made an enduring power of attorney many years ago. She is now 87 years of age and is in relatively good health. Should she also make a lasting power of attorney in relation to her health and welfare?
The enduring power of attorney will enable your mother’s attorneys to act on her behalf in relation to her property and financial affairs. Since October 2007 people have also been able to make a lasting power of attorney in relation to their health. If your mother were to make a lasting power of attorney in relation to her health then it could only be used by her attorney if she lost mental capacity. It is a good idea to have a lasting power of attorney in relation to health as it means that if you lose mental capacity the person or persons you trust to make health decisions on your behalf have the necessary authority.
I have been estranged from my youngest daughter who is now 29 years old for 11 years. Although I have tried to have contact with her she has returned any cards or letters that I have sent her unopened. I have 2 other children with whom I have a good relationship. I feel I should change my will to benefit these 2 children and leave out my youngest daughter. Will this cause a problem when I die?
I am sorry that you have no contact with your youngest daughter this must be upsetting. In England we have testamentary freedom in that we can leave our estate to exactly whom we wish. You can make a Will leaving out your youngest daughter. However in the event of your death your youngest daughter is entitled to make a claim against your estate. Merely because she is entitled to make a claim does not mean that she would be successful. The court would have to decide what was reasonable financial provision for your daughter if she were to make a claim after your death and they could decide that nothing was reasonable financial provision. If you do make a new Will then also make a side letter that clearly explains why you have not benefitted her and why you want your other children to inherit. Make it clear in the side letter that you have attempted reconciliation with your daughter but that this has been rejected. Remember that if your other 2 children have a relationship with their sister this relationship may be affected if you leave your daughter out of your Will
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