Trusts, family disputes & a quiz – our conference round-up

The Today’s Wills & Probate and Editor Assist teams were delighted to attend the 20th Annual Society of Will Writers’ (SWW) Conference.

The Conference took place across two days on 10th and 11th October 2016 and for another year at the Abbey Hotel in Redditch. During the introduction led by Director General, Brian McMillan, there was discussion of changing venue for the next Conference due to the surge in attendees, with around a third of delegates in attendance for the first time.

“We’ve never had 140 plus delegates in the 20 years we’ve been running the conference,” said Brian.

The Society also welcomed a number of international delegates, where Brian stated: “We have also just signed up our first member in Singapore.”

During the Director General’s introduction, he outlined a brief history of the SWW, which now has around 1,700 members. They have seen many changes and events over the last two decades, from the introduction of PII insurance, roadshows and training facilities, to the creation of SWW Trust Corporation, Sure Will Writer software and the National Will Archive storage solution. It was also revealed that there is set to be a new version of Sure Will Writer coming very soon and the SWW are wanting to introduce a professional standards board, which has already had great interest.

Throughout the Conference, there was a range of incredible speakers from various backgrounds within the profession. Having spoken to delegates throughout the two days, many who have attended previously said this was the best selection of speakers yet and they found them incredibly engaging, making even the most complex specialist subjects easier to understand for practice.


Here is a summary of all the talks and workshops, for those who were unable to attend:

Sir Alex Elphinston, Senior Associate Solicitor at Anthony Collins Solicitors and active member of STEP – Disabled Trusts and Personal Injury (PI) Trusts

  • factors to consider when assessing whether someone is classified as disabled
  • requirements of wording within a Disabled Trust
  • recommendations and rules when opening a Disabled Trust
  • warning practitioners that they can be sued if a client hasn’t been advised to put injury claims into a PI Trust
  • surplus fundraising money can be put into this type of trust

Professor Lesley King of the University of Law and author of the Probate Practitioners’ Handbook – Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) and EU Succession Regulation

  • RNRB expected to be introduced on 6th April 2017
  • expects big review of inheritance tax (IHT) in around 5 years
  • advice on applying RNRB including will writing, calculations and band cap changes
  • French notaries saying when UK nationals choose to take on local law, lex situs applies

Sally Jones, Head of Legal at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) –  Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)

  • LPAs unfortunately usually come from a medical diagnosis rather than future planning
  • around 20% LPAs are wrong, with most mistakes eradicated when made digitally
  • charging clauses
  • where you can check if there is an LPA

Mike Smith, tutor for The College of Will Writing – Will Trusts

  • issues with mirror wills
  • requirements for immediate post death interests (IPDIs) in possession
  • how trusts can benefit changing family circumstances

Martin Holdsworth, Director of Jones Myers Solicitors – Larke v Nugus letters

  • questions to ask yourself on receiving the letter
  • the first things you should do after receiving the letter
  • only around 25% of first contacts have enough information, rises to 40% on second contact
  • how and when to respond to the letter

James Greenwood-Reeves, Probate Case Worker at the SWW Trust Corporation – Will Based Trusts and Deeds of Variation

  • requirements for Deeds of Variation
  • complex case study which delegates could debate

One of the most significant discussion points was that the Ilott v Mitson case will be taken to Supreme Court in December 2016, with the judgement expected to be released January or February 2017. It was also brought up that from November, practitioners could be blacklisted if they advise clients ways to avoid IHT.

We will be covering more on many of the above subjects in months to come. If you are particularly interested in any of the subjects mentioned, please let us know in the comment section below and we will provide more in depth coverage.

To register interest in attending the Society of Will Writers’ Annual Conference 2017, please contact Tom Stansfield at [email protected].

Today's Wills and Probate