QI am making my will (at last – have been meaning to do it for about 20 years), and want to make my second son my executor, not my eldest.
Is this legal, or can my eldest step in and over-rule him?
AThere is no rule of law in Scotland that gives eldest children any preference, nor indeed is there any pecking order. The choice is entirely yours. The only way your eldest could be executor is if younger son declines or refuses the appointment, in which case any other child of yours could ask the court to be made executor. But your will rules the family and there should be no argument.
QI live with my partner who bought the flat before I was with him. I am wondering if I can be put out of the house if he dies. He does not have a will, is legally still married but his ex left him (i.e. this was the marital home) before I came to stay. Does he have a claim on anything?
AFirst of all he should make a will. If you split up he can tear up the will.
But as things stand his wife and children will share the estate. Under the Family Law Act you as cohabitant can make a court claim for financial provision after partner's death, and it will be up to the sheriff to decide what you get, depending on how long you have lived together, what sort of relationship you had, and what sort of arrangements you had made about money.
QI was the victim of an assault last year. The attacker was found guilty – I had to give evidence – and the court awarded me £400 compensation. To date he has paid nothing and the court appears unable to enforce the award. Can I sue him?
ACriminal compensation like this is not like a criminal injuries compensation award which is paid from state funds. It is more like a fine. The court has the authority to insist on payment, but if your man fails to pay, the final sanction is to jail him. Very often fines and compensation orders are to be paid in instalments, and it takes the court months to bring a non-payer back to court to answer for his inaction. Criminals know this and come up with all sorts of sob stories as to why they can't meet their responsibilities, and get even more time to pay. I suggest you write to the judge of the court that imposed the order and ask for an explanation as to the lack of progress.
QI am in my early 80s. I made my will leaving my share of our bought house to my wife. I now also find I can leave her £10,000, but I want to make sure she doesn't just waste it, and there is something left for our children and grandchildren later on. Can I leave it in trust or something?
AThere are a few options including a trust, though that would probably be too involved and complex. But as you have grown up children, you could put the money in a joint account with no withdrawals to be made by your wife alone, but by co-signature with one of the children.