Wills and Probate
We provide a range of Private Client Services including: preparing Wills; obtaining Grants of Probate and administration of estates on death; advice, preparation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney; and applications to the Court of Protection.
Our team specialises in advising elderly clients and offers home visits to those who are unable to come to our offices.
By making a Will, you can ensure that your estate is shared in accordance with your wishes on your death. It is particularly important if you have children as you can also determine who cares for them. Further, if you are not married to a partner, they will not necessarily be entitled to a part of your estate on your death if you do not have a Will.
We offer reasonable fees for preparing your Will and will also store this for you and register it on the Certainty National Will Register. We also offer a free ‘Will review’ service to discuss your current Will and advise you on any additions or amendments you may wish to make.
Additionally, we give advice on the Inheritance Tax liability of your estate and can discuss ways of reducing that liability and point you in the direction of additional expert financial advice.
Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration
If someone has died with an estate worth more than £5,000 it is usually the case that a Grant of Probate (if there is a Will) or Letters of Administration (if there is no Will) need to be obtained by the Executor (if there is a Will) or a beneficiary of the estate (called an Administrator if there is no Will) to collect in the estate and distribute it.
We can assist you in gaining the required document from the Probate Registry to enable you to administer the estate, and in completing all the relevant Inheritance Tax Forms. We charge a fixed fee for this type of work.
We can also administer the estate from start to finish on your behalf. We charge an hourly rate for this type of work.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
In the future, if you were to lose some or all of your mental capacity to manage your financial affairs and / or make informed decisions or communicate your wishes about your welfare, your family and friends cannot make decisions on your behalf unless you give them the right to do so.
This can be done by having a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) prepared now. You are never too young. The Power will enable a trusted friend or relative to manage your financial affairs and / or welfare decisions on your behalf should you be physically or mentally unable to do so yourself.
LPAs were introduced under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 as a replacement for the older style Enduring Powers of Attorney. An LPA allows a person (known as the Donor) to give other people (known as Attorneys) the authority to make decisions about their personal welfare and/or property and financial affairs when they no longer have the capacity to make those decisions themselves.
There are different types of LPA:
- Property and Financial Affairs LPA – to deal with your money and property on your behalf. Some of the examples include paying bills, dealing with bank accounts, selling your home if you were unable to live there and making investments for your benefit.
- Personal Welfare LPA – to make decisions about your healthcare and welfare. This includes decisions to refuse or consent to treatment on your behalf and deciding where you live. These decisions can only be taken on your behalf when you lack the capacity to make the decisions yourself.
As the Donor you can choose to create both types of power, or just one. You can also appoint the same or different people to be your Attorneys.
We can assist with preparing the documentation and registering it with the Office of the Public Guardian so that it can be used. We charge a fixed fee for this type of work.
Deed of Variation
Within two years of a death, the beneficiaries under a Will or an intestacy (i.e. where someone has died without making a Will) can choose to have a Deed of Variation prepared varying the terms of the Will or the intestacy.
This is sometimes helpful for Inheritance Tax planning of the beneficiaries (i.e. to bypass a beneficiary in favour, for example, of a child of that beneficiary) or where there has been some other family agreement.
Please feel free to book a free half hour appointment to discuss how a Deed of Variation may be able to assist you.
Inheritance Tax Planning
Whilst making or reviewing your Wills we can provide you with current Inheritance Tax planning information. The laws have changed in the last 10 years on this issue. We keep abreast of the latest legal changes and can, if required, point you in the direction of relevant financial specialists to assist you further.