Wills, probate and Lifetime Planning

Making a Will

Death is something we all try to avoid thinking about, which is why approximately 70% of people die without leaving a Will.

Why should I make a Will?

•    To ensure the correct persons inherit your estate. Without a Will, the law dictates who will inherit your estate.
•    For married couples or civil partnerships, to make sure your spouse or partner inherit everything from your estate if that is your wish.
•    For unmarried couples, to make sure that your partner is provided for.
•    To make sure your children are taken care of by the guardian of your choice, and to make financial provisions for your child’s upkeep and education.
•    To confirm who will sort out your financial affairs after your death. Whoever you appoint will become an ‘Executor’ and are often family members, friends or professional advisors such as your solicitor.
•    To minimise the amount of Inheritance Tax payable on your estate, or to help preserve assets in relation to care home fees.
•    To make sure all is not lost for the children after a parent’s second marriage.

Don’t put it off until it’s too late. Use our legal expertise to make the process as easy as possible.

Probate

Following a death there will be a process of administering the Estate.

When you have suffered a bereavement, dealing with the estate of your loved one can be distressing and feel daunting. Being appointed as an Executor of somebody’s estate brings with it a great deal of responsibility and risk of personal financial liability if problems arise.

Using a solicitor to deal with the administration of the estate is advisable. We have many years of experience in the administration of estates, and we ensure the process is dealt with smoothly, efficiently and always in a sensitive manner.

Talk to us about how we can help, today.

Lasting Power of Attorney

We often take for granted that we’re able to look after our own finances. It’s important to remember that this could change, sometimes suddenly, for a number of reasons.

Accidents, physical illness or the onset of dementia or mental illness could result in difficulties in managing your finances.

With a Lasting Power of Attorney, you ensure in advance that your financial affairs are in safe hands, in the event that you become unable to manage them.

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:

•    A Lasting Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions is a legal document that allows you to appoint somebody you trust to make decisions on your behalf about your property and financial affairs.
•    A Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Care Decisions allows you to appoint somebody you trust to make decisions on your behalf in relation to personal healthcare and welfare.

You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney provided you are over the age of 18 years and still have the ability to make your own decisions.

We have a wealth of experience in both advising and preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney. We know that the process can be a very challenging and emotional experience, and make sure that you not only receive a professional service, but a caring and informal one, too.

Court of Protection and Appointment of a Deputy

When a loved one loses their mental capacity and are unable to manage their day-to-day affairs, you want to make sure that they and their finances are properly looked after.

Family members, friends or professional advisers can make an application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy.

Taking months to complete, applications to the Court of Protection can be complicated and require a lot of commitment.

Anybody appointed as a Deputy for someone else must be prepared to regularly devote a significant amount of time dealing with the financial affairs of another. Upon being appointed, the Court of Protection will closely monitor a Deputy’s actions and request detailed accounts to be delivered on an annual basis.

Should you wish to be appointed as a Deputy for someone we can assist you every step of the way. We can help guide you through the process and prepare the annual account to relieve the stress and pressure of taking on such a demanding role.

Alternatively, you can also ask us to act as a professional Deputy.

Inheritance and Estate Planning

Considering your Inheritance Tax & Estate planning is important. It ensures that there are provisions for you and your spouse in later years. Saving on tax and ensuring your retirement is comfortable can be a difficult and intimidating task but we have the knowledge and experience to help you through these important decisions.

We can help you with:
•    Drawing up a tax efficient Will
•    Making sure you make full use of your tax exemptions on lifetime transfers
•    Optimising lifetime transfers between spouses
•    Protecting your property from the Local Authority
•    Transferring assets into Trusts

Deed of Variation

With the agreement of the relevant beneficiaries, a Deed of Variation affords an opportunity to vary the Will of a deceased love one, catering for either a change of circumstances, or to make the Will more tax efficient.

Inheritance and Will disputes

Claims against estates are on the increase. Bringing or defending a claim can be a very stressful and worrying time. Contentious Probate claims are complex and each case will have different issues. No matter how hard we try to plan for the future, disputes can still arise.

Please see our Disputes and Litigations page for more information on how we can help.

Legal Fees

We recognise that two of the most important questions for our clients are:-

•    What are my solicitor’s fees?
•    How am I going to pay them?

How our costs are paid and who pays them depends upon the type of work that we are doing for you. When we first advise you that we can help, we will talk to you about your choices. At all times, we’ll be clear about the likely costs and the methods of payment we offer.