Is there anything I can do about this?
A It is usual to give all interested parties the opportunity to be heard by the sheriff who is deciding an adoption application. However, if a natural parent is absent and cannot be contacted, or an attempt has been made at contact without success, or if there are other factors that make contact impractical or inappropriate, then in such exceptional cases the adoption process can proceed without notice being given. This is a complex area and I suggest you consult a solicitor experienced in adoption law. The adoption almost certainly cannot be undone now.
Q I currently rent out a flat through a letting agent, but I never received any contract for their services, and I was not really bothered as it was a nice flat and things were going smoothly.
I have now decided to take over the running of this rental agreement myself but the agent is now claiming I have to pay a £250 get-out payment as "his" tenant, the one he found for the flat, is staying on.
A If there is no written contract between you, he cannot now bring in new clauses to suit himself. And I know of no general rule that an agent can charge you for bringing in a tenant.
Q MY husband and I are both retiring this year. We have two children in their 30s. One still lives at home with us. We have not made a will. What would happen if either of us died before the other? Would the house automatically pass on to the other?
Can you advise who to contact about making a will and what would the average cost be ?
A It is likely (though you should check) that the house will go to the surviving spouse. But for the rest of your estate, the remaining husband or wife would inherit the contents, and also a sum of money before the children had any claim.
It is always best to make a will now, as this cuts down on legal costs and time when one spouse dies, as well as allowing you to leave the estate as you wish. The cost could be from £50 to £150, but you are entitled to a written quote before proceeding.
Q MY father died and left me and my sister out of his will. He left everything to his second wife. Can we contest it, as we are sure he was unfairly influenced by this far younger woman?
AYou cannot contest the will as such but you can get round it partially.
As children you have legal rights to one third of the moveable estate (that is everything except any house, and after all debts have been settled). This is your entitlement no matter what the will says.