You and the Law – 9th November 2010

Bumped up bill

My wife was involved in a minor accident when she ran into the back of a van.   There appeared to be no damage to either vehicle.  We have received a letter from the van owner’s insurers asking us to foot the bill for more than £700.00 of repairs.  The bill is obviously extortionate.  What should we do?  RK

You could pass the bill on to your insurance company, lose some of your no-claims bonus and pay your excess.  That would draw a line under the episode; you’re obliged to inform your insurance company in any case.  If you decide to defend the claim, tell them you’re dealing with it yourself.

I suggest you ask to see the repair shop’s photos of the damage; it’s normal practice in insurance claims to take pictures before commencing repairs.  If the van owner can’t produce any and the matter came to court it would look suspicious and help your defence.  If you accept there was some damage you could make the insurers an offer.

Avoiding probate

Does Probate have to be granted on a Will if there is only one beneficiary?
I am a widow with one son and don’t have much to leave and I am trying to save all possible expense.  LC

It’s not the number of beneficiaries which determines whether Probate is necessary but the size of the estate.  Banks and building societies will release amounts under £5,000.00 (sometimes £15,000) without requiring a Grant of Probate, and cash, jewellery and the like can usually be dealt with without a Grant.  However, if you own a property in your sole name your son will need a Grant to transfer it into his name or sell it.

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