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Soldiers Wills & Pensions

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2013 at 9:32am
Armed Forces Wills & Powers of Attorney

Armed forces personnel have high risk jobs and for their own sakes and those of their families, they simply must be properly prepared if things go wrong. Both a Last Will and testament and Lasting Powers of Attorney

Armed Forces Personnel: a speech by John Glen (Salisbury) (Con):

“I begin by acknowledging, as many others have, the welcome and historic breakthrough of enshrining the armed forces covenant in law. However, as the Prime Minister himself has said, the challenge is to make the Government live up to the obligations in it in reality. It is critical that we bring the aspirations that we all have for the covenant together with the realities that we are faced with in trying to deliver it.

The awful reality is that members of the armed forces and their families may have to face death or injury while they are serving. If the worst happens, it is extremely important to ensure that the right processes are in place and to make certain that the wishes of those who have been killed or wounded are carried out. I wish to focus my few remarks on that.

All armed forces personnel are advised in pre-deployment briefings to make a will. A form, MOD 106, is provided for the purpose. Unfortunately, no advice is given on making the Will, nor is there any compulsion to do so. Little information is given to those serving on the risk of mental incapacity following a tour of duty, or on the fact that if there are such complications, the management of financial affairs will not be sufficiently dealt with by a will. In reality, members of the armed forces would need to have a legal power of attorney document to be used in those circumstances, but it must be registered before the mental incapacity happens to make it valid for use when an injury occurs.

Many complicating factors conspire to mean that in many cases, our service personnel may not be properly legally protected in such situations. First, there is a cultural battle. Many young men and women who want to serve are less likely to make a will, because they feel invincible before a tour of duty after undergoing sustained training, or sometimes because they do not want to tempt fate. Secondly, a will speaks only from death. Many personnel are under the misconception that a will covers all eventualities, including mental injury, but it will not. That means that there is a real need to deal with the legal power of attorney option properly.

The consequence of not having a legal power of attorney document can be far-reaching and cause enormous problems for those left behind. I have been made aware of the case of a young man who tragically lost his life. He had made a will, but did not have legal power of attorney in place in the right way, which caused some difficulties. The will was also out of date, which meant that the benefits did not go the people he intended them to. Similarly, another person was in the middle of an acrimonious divorce, and his will did not work as he wished. The outcome was that it did not accurately reflect his updated wishes, which caused major complications for his family.

As we know, more people who serve in the armed forces are surviving terrible injuries that they would not have survived 10 years ago. Some are unable to manage their affairs when they have recovered from physical injuries, which means that someone must do so on their behalf. An LPA would solve a lot of problems in such cases. It is true that an LPA pack can be downloaded from the Office of the Public Guardian, but it costs £130 to register the LPA when all the forms are completed. That will seem like a lot of money to service personnel, many of whom are young people who might believe that nothing will happen to them—an LPA is probably the last thing they want to spend their money on. Defence instructions mention that document, but I am given to understand that they lack detail and contain errors.

If no LPA is in place, a deputyship must be applied for on behalf of the injured service person, which can be extremely expensive, as can the ongoing maintenance costs of a professional deputyship. I am aware of one case of a deputyship costing about £60,000 per annum to service. Solicitors who manage compensation claims will choose to instruct a professional deputy when a lay deputy is perfectly viable, which drives up the costs that take away from compensation schemes—they will have to borne by the MOD.

I see this as a specific covenant issue: if we are prepared to send young people off to fight and possibly die or be gravely injured for their country, and if we invest so heavily in the correct equipment and training for them while they are on operations, we must also have a duty of care to ensure that their affairs are in the order that they would wish them to be in if they are injured or killed. We have concentrated on equally important matters until now, but this issue needs to be looked at again in more detail as part of the pastoral care package that is offered to service personnel.

I am not seeking to embarrass the MOD or the Minister—this is a constructive suggestion on which I have worked with hon. Members on both sides of the House—but the Mental Capacity Act 2005 made this issue real, which is why it needs further examination. What should be done? I would like all those on deployment, and ideally all service personnel, to have an up-to-date will and LPA in place. It would be best to have a will pre-enrolment, but personnel should certainly have one pre-deployment.

I have also had meetings with a group who have a proposal for an organisation called the services trust—I met the group earlier this week. They would like to assist the MOD and serving personnel with information on some of the gaps to which I have drawn the House’s attention. The group could also help with processing LPAs and could act as deputies if necessary.

It would be useful to train admin officers to give relevant information on the consequences of not writing a will or of having no LPA. In fact, the Office of the Public Guardian held a consultation on what groups of people should be exempted from the £130 LPA fee, but it did not include the MOD. That unnecessary oversight needs to be corrected.

It should be feasible to spread the cost of an LPA over a number of months and to take it from the wage packets of personnel at source. That is done for a variety of costs, and it would be a simple matter to add it to the joint personnel administration system. Payments could even be taken out with payments for the armed forces insurance scheme.

To return to where I began, the Government have made a commitment to the welfare of the armed forces by enshrining the covenant in law. It is essential that that commitment is extended to ensure that not only their financial and operational needs are met, but their legal needs. I respectfully ask the Minister to give an indication of whether he is prepared to meet me and other hon. Members, and representatives behind the services trust proposal, to establish what can be done to address that proven need in our armed forces.”

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2013 at 9:49am
Soldiers' wills can be complicated

09 I 09 I 09

Soldiers' wills can be complicated

Matthew Evans

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A bitter dispute over an alleged Last Will and Testament of a British Marine killed in Afghanistan has recently made the headlines and brings into sharp focus the unique and complex law surrounding Wills for British service men and women.



In December 2008 Cpl Rob Deering was killed after stepping on a Taliban booby trap mine whilst rushing to help his injured colleagues in Helmand Province. He was serving with the Commando Logistic Regiment.



At the time of his death Cpl Deering was in a relationship with his girlfriend, Gemma Polino and had been for four and a half years. Earlier in 2008 (before Cpl Deering returned to Afghanistan in August) they had moved into a £148,000 house in Sheldon, Birmingham. They were due to marry this May.



Upon Cpl Deering’s death, Miss Polino attempted to claim the proceeds of his estate on the basis that she was aware that he had executed a Will shortly before returning to Afghanistan leaving his estate, including his share of the house and a life assurance policy to cover the mortgage, to her. If such a Will existed then it would supersede a Will written in 2006 in which Cpl Deering left his estate to his sister, Elaine.



Despite searches being undertaken by the MOD, however, there appears to be no record of a new Will as described by Miss Polino. For her part she insists that Cpl Deering handed the document in just before he left for Afghanistan but it was lost by unit administrators before it could be sent for safekeeping to the documents handling unit in Glasgow.



The family, on the other hand, deny that Cpl Deering would have executed such a document and say that his colleagues had told them of his intentions to leave the bulk of his estate to them.



Despite the involvement of John Hutton, the then Defence secretary and Defence Minister Kevan Jones, the matter currently remains unresolved and could well result in expensive and acrimonious legal proceedings.



Disputes over Wills of members of the armed forces are not uncommon and Hugh James has recently dealt with matters arising in the estate of Pte Gavin Williams, a young servicemen from South Wales who died leaving a standard services Will in which he bequeathed his entire estate to his then girlfriend to the exclusion of his family, including his younger sister to whom he was very close and who suffered from a disability.



Unfortunately, by the time that Pte Williams died he had long split up with his girlfriend but had not taken any steps to alter the terms of his Will. Moreover, due to the nature and timing of his death, Pte Williams’ estate was substantially larger than he perhaps could ever have envisaged at the time that he made it. Notwithstanding those circumstances, his ex-girlfriend refused to relinquish the majority of her interest in the estate and ultimately Pte Williams’ mother, Debra, had to take the difficult decision to accept a small payment from the estate on behalf of the family rather than risk substantial legal costs pursuing the matter further.



Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the execution of Pte Williams’ Will revealed that the completion of the document was part of the routine process which the serviceman went through when entering the armed forces and, in all likelihood, he probably gave very little thought to the contents of it or much consideration to it afterwards.



Both of the above cases are examples of problems that can arise from Wills made by service men and women but the position is arguably exacerbated further by the unique law that governs them.



For example, it is long standing British law that Wills of soldiers in actual military service are not required to follow the standard requirements that usually govern Wills as provided by the Wills Act 1837. What that means in practice is that such ‘privileged’ Wills do not have to be witnessed in the way that a non-privileged Will would.



Moreover, a soldier in actual military service can make (and revoke) a privileged Will even though they are under the age of eighteen, unlike non-privileged Wills.



Perhaps even more surprisingly, the Will does not even have to be in writing and can, in certain circumstances, simply constitute of words spoken by the testator so long as it is a deliberate expression of his wishes and not a mere casual conversation. In the same way that a privileged Will can be made orally, it can also be revoked orally although simply a return to civil life or a lapse in time will not be sufficient for revocation. As with non-privileged Wills, however, marriage will revoke a privileged Will.



Over the years case law has extended the scope of privileged Wills to members of the Royal Navy and Marine Forces and also members of the Royal Air Force. The term ‘soldier’ has also been found to mean officers of every rank and service, although not civilian engineers employed by the army but having no military status.



The definition of ‘actual military service’ has also been broadened considerably and certainly does not simply mean individuals within the theatre of war.



As is apparent, all of the above legal peculiarities and nuances can potentially give rise to disputes and confusion and expert legal advice may therefore prove invaluable.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2013 at 9:23pm
General

J7.101. The recommended methods of making a will which are available to Service personnel may be summarised as follows:

a. As for Civilians

(1) By drawing up a will on expert advice.

(2) By using one of the printed forms which can be purchased.

(3) By writing a simple will on a sheet of paper.

b. Methods Available to Service Personnel Only


(1) Use of MOD Form 106 (see para J7.104).

(2) In exceptional circumstances, as stated in para J7.106.

J7.102. Subject to the exceptions stated in para J7.106, the laws which apply to the making of wills by civilians apply to the making ofwills by members of the armed forces. The laws for England, Wales and Northern Ireland differ from those for Scotland and other parts of the world. Personnel domiciled outside these countries, or who are not British subjects, and who wish to make a will are advised to obtain legal advice in order to ascertain the procedure which must be followed and the formalities which must be observed. Persons under the age of 18 years cannot make a will under the law applicable to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Persons domiciled in Scotland may, however, make a will at the age of 14 years.

Duties of Commanding Officers

J7.103. Commanding officers are to ensure that all personnel entitled to make a will are urged to do so. Personnel making a will should be advised that if for any reason they afterwards wish to change the distribution of their estate they should make a fresh will. In addition commanding officers are to remind personnel that it may be desirable to make a will (or a fresh will) on any alteration of marital status or change of next of kin and that it is desirable to make a will before proceeding overseas. They should point out that if no will is made the estate (including money, balance of pay and personal belongings) must be distributed in the event of death according to the laws of the country of domicile governing intestate estates, which may result in the estate having to be distributed in a way which the deceased would not have wished, and that the nomination of a next of kin does not take the place of a will.

Making of Wills

J7.104. A form of will (MOD Form 106) may be obtained on application to the unit orderly room. The attention of personnel using this form should be drawn to the notes on the reverse side of the form. Personnel may make their own arrangements for drawing up a will if they prefer to do so.

7.105. Advice on the making of a will outside the United Kingdom can be obtained from Army Legal Services. Personnel serving in the United Kingdom should be advised to seek the aid of a solicitor.

J7.106. Service personnel, including those under 18 years of age, may be able to make informal unwitnessedwills, usually during war time, but in the interests of their beneficiaries they should make a formal will at the earliest opportunity.

Custody of Wills

J7.107. Completed wills should not be kept with personal belongings, but should be deposited in safe custody. Officers must make their own arrangements for the safe custody of theirwills. A rating, soldier or airman may hand a completed will to his commanding officer who is to forward it by recorded delivery to the Army Personnel Centre (Document Handling Centre (DHC)WillsSection). He is to record the fact that he has done so and ensure that a receipt is obtained in respect of each will. He is to retain the receipt of registration until he has been informed by the recipient that the will has been deposited in safe custody. Alternatively, a serviceman can make his own arrangements for custody.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2013 at 9:32am
Fiancee of murdered soldier Lee Rigby left with nothing from his estate because he forgot to change will after splitting from his wife

Lee Rigby was engaged to Aimee West, 22, at the time of his death

His estranged wife Rebecca, mother of his son, will inherit him



By Mail On Sunday Reporter



PUBLISHED: 02:02, 25 August 2013 | UPDATED: 02:02, 25 August 2013



The fiancee of murdered soldier Lee Rigby will get nothing from his £57,000 estate  because he failed to change his will after splitting from his wife.



Fusilier Rigby, who died of multiple stab wounds in the street outside Woolwich Barracks, wrote his will in 2008 before he deployed to Afghanistan.



At the time he was happily married to Rebecca Rigby, 30   the mother of his two-year-old son Jack.



Lee Rigby was engaged to Aimee West, 22, at the time of his death, but his estranged wife Rebecca, mother of his son, will inherit him.



Aimee West, 22, at the time of his brutal murder, but she will not inherit anything from his £57,000 estate



Loss: Lee Rigby was engaged to Aimee West, 22, at the time of his brutal murder, but she will not inherit anything from his £57,000 estate



But by the time of his murder, the 25-year-old from Middleton, Greater Manchester, was engaged to Royal Military Policewoman Aimee West, 22.



Miss West, from Feltham, Middlesex, was serving in Afghanistan when Fusilier Rigby was killed in May.



She was immediately flown back to Britain on compassionate grounds and was photographed tearfully placing a bouquet of flowers outside Woolwich Barracks and being comforted by colleagues.



Both Miss West and Mrs Rigby attended the soldier's military funeral at Bury Parish Church last month, although they kept a respectful distance from each other throughout the service.



Fusilier Rigby, a machine gunner in the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was separated from his wife, but they had not divorced.





Rebecca, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, was still nominated as his next-of-kin.



Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, have been charged with murder and will stand trial at the Old Bailey in November.





Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2401632/Fiancee-murdered-soldier-Lee-Rigby-left-estate-forgot-change-splitting-wife.html#ixzz2cy4PfS82

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Edited by Elaine - 07 May 2017 at 11:37am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2017 at 11:37am
Theresa May steps in after dead soldier's £120,000 Army payout is given to his FRIEND rather than his widow
Charlotte Hughes' sergeant husband Andy died in car crash in October aged 33
Her £120,000 death-in-service benefit was paid to his friend Andrew Cooke
Mr Cooke has so far failed to give her the money, despite saying that he would
May wrote to Mrs Hughes: ‘I was deeply sorry to learn of your husband’s death'

By Mark Nicol Defence Correspondent For The Mail On Sunday

Published: 00:07, 7 May 2017 | Updated: 00:12, 7 May 2017


Theresa May has ordered an urgent inquiry into red tape around military pensions after a soldier’s £120,000 death-in-service benefit was paid to his friend instead of his widow.

Bereaved Charlotte Hughes, 27, was denied the pay-out following the death of her husband Andy, a sergeant in the Intelligence Corps, in a car crash in October. He was 33.

The Prime Minister wrote to Mrs Hughes, a teacher, telling her: ‘I was deeply sorry to learn of your husband’s tragic death and would like to offer my most sincere condolences.



Theresa May has ordered an urgent inquiry into red tape around military pensions after soldier Andy Hughes' £120,000 death-in-service benefit was paid to his friend instead of his widow Charlotte.


‘I was also very sorry to read of the difficulties you have faced in regard to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme.’

She has asked the Minister for Defence Veterans, Mark Lancaster, to investigate.

Sgt Hughes had indicated in his will that his wife should be the sole recipient of his estate, but the benefit was paid to a former Intelligence Corps colleague, Andrew Cooke, 30.

Despite allegedly telling Mrs Hughes initially that he would give her the money, Mr Cooke has so far not done so.

The fiasco began in 2013 when Sgt Hughes deployed to Afghanistan and was told to nominate someone to receive the payout should he be killed in action.

He had just started dating his future wife so she declined his offer to nominate her, and he chose Mr Cooke.

Sgt Hughes and Charlotte got engaged in Morocco in June last year and married two months later.


The Prime Minister wrote to Mrs Hughes, a teacher, telling her: ‘I was deeply sorry to learn of your husband’s tragic death and would like to offer my most sincere condolences'

Shortly after, he made a new military will and gave his wife’s name and address after a paragraph that reads: ‘I give all my estate and effects and everything that I can give or dispose of to…’

On October 14, Sgt Hughes suffered fatal brain injuries in the crash near their new home in Broadway, Worcs, and died in hospital four days later.

His widow said Mr Cooke contacted her to say that he was due to receive the benefit but assured her he would give the money ‘entirely’ to her.

Now, she says he has reneged on this, and the MoD says he is the rightful recipient.

Mrs Hughes, who was close to Mr Cooke’s wife, said: ‘I’ve asked to see them but they’ve ignored me. I’m very hurt.’

The Mail on Sunday understands that Mr Cooke, 30, left the Army last year to retrain as a nurse and is working in the West Midlands.

Last night, his father, Dr Roger Cooke, confirmed that he had passed on our requests for an interview, but added: ‘I think the bottom line is he’s keen not to take it any further.’

Mrs Hughes said: ‘The MoD has closed ranks but I am campaigning for change.’

She is backed by the Forces Pensions Society whose Assistant General Secretary, Hugo Fletcher, said: ‘This issue is a ticking time bomb and affects people across the Army, Navy and Air Force.’

The MoD said: ‘We cannot comment on specific cases, however officials are working to review current processes to ensure that our personnel’s wishes are fulfilled.’


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4480920/Widow-denied-dead-husband-s-120-000-Army-payout.html#ixzz4gO7e0FBy
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


Edited by Elaine - 07 May 2017 at 11:41am
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