About Lauren Hill

Lauren joined Mitchells Roberton in January 2015. She graduated from Glasgow University with an Honours degree in law in 2008 and thereafter completed her Diploma in Legal Practice at the Graduate School of Law in 2009. Before starting her traineeship in September 2011 with Wright Johnston & Mackenzie Lauren went travelling visiting amongst other countries, India, Nepal, China, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia experiencing the wonders of The Great Wall of China, the Amazon ,and Machu Picchu. Yet Millport still remains her favourite holiday destination of all. Her traineeship was a general one and when she left Wright Johnston & Mackenzie in 2013 she joined Friels Solicitors in Uddingston as a newly qualified assistant specialising in conveyancing and private client work. Here at Mitchells Roberton Lauren is part of our private client department preparing Wills, Powers of Attorney , handling the administration of estates and administering trusts. She has an easy manner and is friendly and approachable . She enjoys getting to know her clients and is committed to helping them with any legal issues they may have. Lauren loves to read, walk and sample Indian cuisine.

A German Prisoner of War left £384,000 in his will to the Perthshire village of Comrie

Heinrich Steinmeyer , a member of Hitler’s Waffen SS  was only  19 when he was captured in Normandy shortly after  D-Day, in August 1944. He was classed with a C designation which meant he was considered a hard-line Nazi, completely committed to the cause and dangerous. He was sent to  the Prisoner of War camp at Cultybraggan by Comrie and was held there from September 1944 to June 1945. He was then dispatched to Watten in Caithness, another maximum security Nazi Camp and at the end of the war he spent time at a camp in Ladybank , Fife.

But Steinmyer said he was only shown kindness by the villagers of Comrie which he had not expected and the experience had such an impact on him that he returned to Comrie after the war and made lasting friendships. He vowed that when he died he would leave everything he owned for the benefit of the elderly in the community of Comrie.

His Will read “I would like to express my gratitude to the people of Scotland for the kindness and generosity that I have experienced in Scotland during my imprisonment during the war and thereafter.”

When he died at the age of 90 in 2014 his ashes were scattered in the hills above the camp where he had been held. Two and a half years later his bequest of £384,000 was gifted to the village’s local community trust and has now been transferred to a special Heinrich Steinmeyer Fund set up by Comrie Development Trust as a separate account.

Andrew Reid from the Comrie Development Trust said “This story is about Heinrich Steinmyer’s gratitude for how he was treated and welcomed in this village and other parts of Scotland.”

“ Heinrich’s personal history is an amazing story of friendship and appreciation and people in Comrie will both honour and benefit from his legacy.”

Mr Steinmyer was born in 1924 and grew up in Silesia (which became part of East German) with only basic education. He came from a “very poor” family and worked as an apprentice butcher on a pitiful wage. He joined the SS aged 17 and was captured in a fight for a bridge in Caen in France.

He stayed in Scotland after he was released from detention in 1948 and settled in Stranraer where he found work on farms in the area. He said he would have remained living in Scotland after the war  had it not been for his elderly widowed mother in his native Silesia. He returned to his hometown  in 1970 as she was ill and did not qualify for a pension. He found work at the docks in Bremen and settled in Delmenhorst in a house which he built. He once said “It was in Scotland that I earned the money to build my house so it is only right that it goes back to Scotland when I die.”

He credited the Scots for saving his life on three occasions- from the French when he was captured, from the Polish as he was being transported and then in captivity with kindness.

I have great experience in assisting clients with Powers of Attorney, Wills and Executries and  if I can help please contact me, Lauren Hill on 0141 552 3422 or by email lnh@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

Dressing Down for Nepal

At Mitchells Roberton we have a dress down day once a month for a good cause. This month a colleague suggested an additional special dress down day for the Disaster in Nepal.

I was particularly drawn to this cause because I was lucky enough to visit Nepal during my trip around the world in 2010. It remains one of my favourite places . I visited both Kathmandu and Pokhara, where much of the destruction occurred. Kathmandu and its surrounding areas were full of beautiful temples, abundant with colour. Pokhara was enclosed by stunning  lakes and mountains. However, the primary reason that I loved the country so much was its friendly and warm people.

One example is when we were on a trek across the mountains and stayed in a small bed and breakfast. We were the only guests and in the evening the owners gave an impromptu demonstration of their traditional song and dance, even managing to persuade our trekking guide to join in the fun. We were then encouraged to show our own traditional dancing which involved us trying to give a very poor rendition of the Gay Gordons – much to the amusement of our hosts! As we carried on our trek each person we met gave a traditional greeting of ‘Namaste’, with the palms of their hands held together, their head bowed, smiling.

I was very pleased that our firm raised a total of £250 which will go to the DEC Nepal Appeal. A couple of my friends were in Pokhara at the time of the earthquake.  Thankfully they were in a hotel designed to withstand a large earthquake. Again my view of the people of Nepal was reinforced. The owners of the hotel’s first priority was their guests’ safety and then they took in others who had lost their home in the disaster. Hopefully the funds raised here and elsewhere will help the people of Nepal get back on their feet.

For more information and to donate to the Nepal Earthquake Appeal, please visit http://www.redcross.org.uk/nepalhero

Lost someone close to you? We can help

You don’t need to enlist professional help when someone dies but an experienced solicitor can greatly assist in dealing with the deceased’s affairs promptly, properly and with the minimum of fuss.

Obviously when someone close to you passes away you will be upset and you may find it hard to know what to do. Here are a few points to guide you.

Firstly you will need to ascertain whether there is a Will. You should check through the deceased’s papers or contact their solicitor to see if they hold a Will. If there is a Will then the person named as executor in the Will can give instructions about the estate.  If there is no Will a Petition will often require to be lodged in court to have someone, usually the closest relative, appointed as executor. A solicitor will be able to advise you.

Once you have clarified the position regarding the Will you should arrange to meet with your solicitor. You should take to that meeting  the Death Certificate, the original Will if available, title deeds to the deceased’s property, again if available, together with any paperwork that confirms or gives a clue to what assets and debts the deceased may have had.

Thereafter, in most cases you will need to apply to court for what is called Confirmation. This is necessary if there is heritable property in the estate or if there are bank accounts and investments of around more than £10,000-£15,000 held with a single asset holder. To get Confirmation your solicitor has to prepare a detailed list of everything the deceased owned with values as at date of death. This list of assets is then signed by the executor together with the deceased’s Will (if there is one) and HMRC papers. These documents will then be lodged at Court in order to obtain Confirmation.

If there is no Will then a solicitor can apply to court to have an executor appointed.  This is usually a spouse or child but anyone entitled to the estate can be named. If you need Confirmation and there is no Will then it is necessary to get a Bond of Caution (except if the spouse is inheriting the whole estate) which is a type of insurance policy to protect the estate from any wrong doings by the executor.  You may find it difficult to get a Bond of Caution unless a solicitor is dealing with that for you.

Once Confirmation has been granted by Court this can be used to sell or transfer title to any heritable property owned by the deceased and it will enable banks, building societies, insurance companies etc to release monies.

I can provide practical, sympathetic legal advice and support. If I can help please contact Lauren Hill on 0141 552 3422 or by email lauren@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

Changing Your Will After Divorce

Once again may I repeat myself.“Do you have a Will? YOU SHOULD HAVE. It is an important document as it is your way of making sure your wishes are known and your property and assets are distributed after your death the way you want them to be.”

However, if you have a Will and you divorce or separate from your partner you need to remember to change your Will, otherwise on your death your ex-partner could receive everything you listed in your old Will.

When amending your Will you need to look at all your assets, everything you own. Certainly after splitting up from a partner the likelihood is that you will have far fewer assets than you had before – you might even feel that you have very little to leave to anybody. Nonetheless if you have children you will want to provide for them after your death so it is key that you see a solicitor to make the appropriate revisions needed.

If you have bought a flat or house you can ensure it goes to your children (if they are under 16 it can be held in trust for them until they are older).You will want to be certain that your ex partner cannot touch your heritable property.

The chances are that under your old Will your ex would have been appointed executor of your estate. Obviously you will need to alter that also.

And remember that your assets can include heirlooms, family photographs and memorabilia which are things you may want your children to have by which they can remember you.

You may find a new partner and move in with or marry them which is another huge change in your circumstances and one that may again require a new Will.  Your new partner may already have children and you may go on to have children together so there is a lot to take into consideration.

The sheer act of changing your Will is an admission that you have moved on. I have the experience to advise on the best possible way to deal with your new situation.  If I can help please call Lauren Hill on 0141 552 3422 or contact me by email at lnh@mitchells-roberton.co.uk