You and the Law – 26th April 2011

Costly disputes

Recently you said it was possible to get divorced for £340.00.  How do you go about getting a financial settlement worked out if there’s a dispute over money?  JW

The court fees for divorce proceedings are currently £340.00 on filing the petition, plus additional sums for a consent order and applying for a decree absolute.  If you were to do the divorce yourself without instructing solicitors you could therefore get divorced for this sum.

However, obtaining a divorce is one thing, sorting out finances is quite another, and this is where expense can arise if couples can’t reach agreement.  Even where there is no dispute over money, it is still advisable to have the terms of the agreement drawn up into a formal document and placed before the court so that a consent order can be obtained.  This will end each party’s right to make further capital, income and pension claims on each other.  You should see a solicitor to ensure you receive a fair settlement.  This is likely to save you time, trouble and money.

Will worry

My mother is a widow, aged 94, and lives in a nursing home.  She has savings of around £5,000.00.  Since I am her only child she refuses to make a Will in the belief that her savings will come to me anyway.  But I am concerned that without a Will her money will be swallowed up by probate expenses.  NY

Whether your mother makes a Will or not has no bearing on whether probate is required, the determining factor is the value of her estate.
Most banks and building societies will pay out sums up to £5,000.00 without requiring production of a Grant, so by the time you have paid the funeral expenses from her account it’s unlikely this will be necessary.
You should receive her savings under the intestacy rules.

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