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Laying Down the Law: Do we have to make a new will every time we have children?

MY husband and I are thinking of making wills. We have no children just now but might in future. Will we have to change our wills when we have a child, or indeed every time we have another? 

NO. You can make “what-if” wills, leaving everything to each other, but building in provisions for different futures, including with kids – one or more – before you die. A well-constructed will should envisage all the likely scenarios for death, including both of you dying together in an accident rather than one outliving the other, and so on. It makes for an interesting chat with your lawyer. But a will can be changed from time to time as you see fit, and is worth reviewing every few years as your circumstances change.

MY son’s wife took out a bank loan but they split up and she lost her job and didn't pay back the loan. She has now straightened herself out, they are back together and she has a job but the problem is she needs a bank account for her wages to be paid into. She has been told that after seven years the debt is written off.

CONTRACTS including loans prescribe after five years, though this would presumably be five years after the last repayment date i.e. the end of the loan. I doubt the bank would leave it that long without suing, and in the meantime the interest will be building up. Suggest she opens an account in a different bank, though she may have difficulty if there is a credit black mark against her.

I HAD a credit card cloned and had to claim money back from a bank after fraudulent withdrawals. I have now been cited as a witness in a trial of someone whom I have never heard of. I don’t want to appear in court – can I make a signed statement instead?

IF called to court you must go and answer all questions, like any witness. Failure would mean getting arrested and brought to court but, as your evidence is purely formal – to confirm you owned the card and gave no authorisation to anyone to use it, the Procurator fiscal and the defence lawyer might very well be able to draw a joint minute that allows this evidence to be agreed in advance. Speak to the Procurator fiscal who sent you the citation.

I HAVE had my home on the market for the last four months. There have been a few prospective buyers who have agreed to buy the property and pulled out about two weeks before concluding missives. I have now had an invoice from estate agents for about £600 each time, I just wondered if this was normal practice.

CHECK your estate agency agreement document. Estate agents usually only get a commission is the sale is completed. There may be additional advertising fees, but that magnitude would be surprising. And if you are not sure where you stand, contact your solicitor and/or trading standards. And I have to say (as an estate agent myself) there must be something worth asking about in terms of the marketing being carried out if your home has not sold after all that time in the current market where there is a dearth of property for sale.

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