Am I entitled to see a copy of the Will before it goes to Probate?
The only people who are legally entitled to sight of a Will before a Grant of Probate is issued are the executors who are named in the Will. That being said, it is common practice for an executor to provide a copy of the Will if it is requested.
Once a Grant of Probate is issued, the Will is then a public document and can be readily accessed by anybody who wishes to see it.
There are a number of technical formalities which any testator must follow in order to execute a valid Will. These include:
- The Will must be signed by the testator, in the presence of two other witnesses and then be signed by those witnesses, in the presence of the person making the Will after the testator themselves has signed the document.
- The person making the Will must be over 18 years of age and have mental capacity.
- The person must make the Will voluntarily without undue influence and must know and understand what the Will says; and
- The Will must be in writing
The CMA sees only limited circumstances in which a full refund would not be given. The CMA accepts that where public health measures prevent a business from providing a service or the consumer from receiving it, the business may be able to deduct a contribution to the costs it has already incurred in relation to the specific contract in question.
This view reflects a relatively complex area of law under which parties are released from obligations under a contract if performance of that contract becomes impossible or illegal. This is called “frustration” of the contract. Under a law passed during World War II, a party to a contract that is frustrated who has incurred expenses is permitted, if the court thinks fit, to retain an amount up to the value of those expenses out of any money they have been paid by the other party.
The CMA’s view, however, is that this will not happen often, and that deductions from deposits will be limited.
We deal with serious road traffic accidents, injuries that occur in a public/private place, spinal injuries, brain injuries, fatal injuries, accidents at work and injuries in airports and on planes.
Some of these can be implemented by you, some need agreement or consultation and some depend on the wording of contracts. We’ll explain more in relation to each option.
In the event that the contractor is displaying one or more of the above signs, then it is worth considering the following actions to protect the employer’s position as far as possible:
- Closely monitor the financial and on-site performance of the contractor in order to assess the likelihood and timing of potential insolvency
- Ensure all bonds, guarantees and collateral warranties have been obtained under the building contract, and if not take steps to obtain them immediately
- Consider the terms of any guarantees to ensure that the guarantor’s obligations are not inadvertently discharged
- Bonds may require adjudication to have been commenced (or even completed) prior to insolvency so as not to be stayed pursuant to insolvency laws
- Carry out an audit of the on-site plant, equipment and materials, and evidence this (for example with photographs and written records)
- Ensure that copies of all relevant documentation have been obtained, for example drawings, specifications and anything required to comply with CDM requirements. If not, take steps to obtain these
- Review the payment position under the building contract, including whether any over payments have been made to the contractor which should be reclaimed, what retention is held or has been released, whether any payment notices may be necessary, and whether there are rights of set-off which should be exercised
- Check whether the involvement of any third party is required, for example funders, landlords, tenants or purchasers who may have rights in relation to the building contract and how it is administered
- Review the terms of the building contract relating to contractor insolvency – hopefully the parties will be fully aware of the building contract terms and have been administering it correctly to date, but if it has been hiding in a draw then now would be a good time to dust it off and ensure familiarity with the relevant provisions!
In general. there is often a stick or twist decision. If the employer chooses to financially support the contractor (for example by agreeing different payment arrangements), this may help to keep the contractor solvent and more likely to complete the project, but it also exposes the employer to greater risk if the approach is not successful. Conversely, withholding payments from the contractor may make insolvency a self-fulfilling prophecy. The precise advantages and disadvantages of the approach will be dependent on the specific circumstances of each case.