The team is headed by Wills & Probate Lawyer, Charlotte Elliott, who was educated at Jersey College for Girls before graduating with a Law Degree from the University of the West of England. She is a qualified English Solicitor with extensive experience in the legal and trust industry. The Wills and Probate section is responsible for assisting clients with a variety of Wills & Probate Services which include the drafting Jersey and UK Wills, applying for local, fast track and foreign domicile probate applications, estate and curatorship administration and the drafting of powers of attorney. Charlotte and her team guide clients through every step of the Wills & Probate process and is compassionate and considerate to those dealing with difficult and sensitive matters at what is often a stressful and emotional time.
What’s the best bit of your job?
It’s difficult to pin down, I work with an incredible team of people who I couldn’t do the job without but if I was to try and pick one part of my job that makes me happy then it would be seeing how relieved people are when their matter is dealt with promptly and delicately. Whether it’s seamlessly sorting someone’s Will and putting their wishes in to effect or efficiently administering a loved one’s estate. We would like to think that everyone that comes to see us is relieved at the ease at which we can deal with matters. So often people will say “Wow, I have put that off for so long but it really was simple!”. That makes me smile.
Have you ever had to deal with an awkward situation?
A colleague received a call from a widow saying that their partner had passed away and asking what to do next. We promptly arranged an appointment for her to come in to see us. We sat in a room before her, opened the sealed Will envelope and read out the name of the beneficiary of the Will. As my colleague read out the name in the Will we realised that it was not the lady sat in front of us – the lady before us was the deceased’s current partner. Instead the Will left everything to his ex-girlfriend! Turns out the deceased hadn’t changed his Will after his previous relationship ended. It serves as a lesson to us all to remember to review and update our Wills regularly.
Most memorable house clearance experience?
We were acting as executors on a client’s estate and attended at his property to review the contents and find any important documents. I arrived to a house that was nearly falling down! Beams keeping the walls up had been removed and replaced with props. The floorboards were missing, electrical wires exposed. I could just about fit from one room to the next, furniture was piled up from ceiling to floor. I couldn’t see a single wall, not one drawer, cupboard or work surface was empty. I simply didn’t know where to start! Fortunately I didn’t need to empty it myself but the clearance company told us it was the worst house clearance job they had ever had!
Have you ever been contacted by an heir hunter?
Yes, only once and we were very sceptical at first as we weren’t sure whether he was genuine but he had discovered that a deceased client had shares in a company in Africa. We had no evidence of these shares ever being owned, never received any dividends in the bank account or any paperwork trail in the deceased’s belongings. Fortunately the beneficiaries were all still alive and well but you can imagine how complicated it gets when beneficiaries have died and we have to trace living relatives. These matters often end up costing a lot of money, all because nobody knew the deceased owned these assets.
Have you ever had any unusual requests whilst drafting a Will?
Wills can be used to make beautiful sentiments, I have heard about a Will that requested flowers be delivered to his wife every month for the next year or conditional gifts, a gift of money on the condition it be used to have a great holiday.
We met with the rest of the Wills & Probate team at Hawksford to find out what they love about their working life:
Wills & Probate Assistant
An LLB Law graduate, Sophie assists with the daily administration of Hawksford’s Wills & Probate portfolios including the drafting and amending of Wills and the administration of estates
Best bit of the job?
“Passing on the news to friends or distant relatives that they have been left a gift in the Will when they did not expect to receive anything is always heart-warming – they are often very touched by the gift”
Lorraine provides Wills and Probate administration to a varied portfolio of clients. Lorraine’s 20 year career has included various administration roles at large financial and legal institutions.
Best bit of the job?
“When a Will has requested to leave a gift to a charity, it’s always nice to see the generosity of people who continue to support charitable organisations by leaving a legacy and making a difference”.
Jeremy has completed 38 years as an English Solicitor specialising in the areas of trust, wills and probate. He provides consultation to the business, drawing on his years of experience.
Best bit of the job?
“Welcoming back a returning client. Many clients return years after I first dealt with them, often to assist with a deceased relatives estate or to re-draft their Wills. It is always flattering to have clients return, it shows they value the friendly and personal service that we offer.”