Wills, Trusts & Probate

There are times when you need to protect the assets you've built up for your family over years of hard work. Our team are here to advise you of the options available and the best ways to achieve your goals.

Wills and Trusts

Making a Will

Everyone should make a Will. If you die without one, then your loved ones may face difficulties, and the people you wish to inherit may end up receiving nothing at all. Our team can make the process of drafting a Will as easy as possible, guiding you through any technical or difficult issues and treating everything with sensitivity.

If you are getting married or divorced, or have recently received an inheritance, it's absolutely vital you make or update your Will - particularly if you have children under 18 as of course you will need to appoint guardians to be responsible for their care should you pass away. Whatever your circumstances we highly recommend reviewing your Will every few years to make sure it's up to date.

If you'd like to appoint us to make a Will for you, please get in touch or you can fill in this Will information form and we will be in touch.

Old Family Trusts

A trust is a legal arrangement where one or more trustees are made legally responsible for looking after certain assets for the benefit of someone else. They can include all manner of assets, ranging from property to cash and investments.

We can establish a trust and register it with HMRC, then manage it all for you, taking care of everything from tax returns to annual meetings. We can also act as trustees ourselves, dealing with every aspect of the trust administration to take the burden off you.

A trust can only be dissolved or amended with the consent of the Court, so if you have concerns about an old family trust, please get in touch and we'll do all we can to help.

Spousal Bypass Trusts

You do not pay inheritance tax on any assets passed to you upon the death of your spouse. However in the event of your death, it's likely that your combined assets could incur a potential inheritance tax charge of 40% for your family. This 40% charge can be avoided by directing your spouse's assets into a Spousal Bypass Trust which sits outside of your estate and so, not subject to inheritance tax on your death.

If you'd like to know more about Spousal Bypass Trusts or about inheritance tax planning in general, please get in touch.

Contested Will - advice to Executors

If you have recently lost someone close to you, the last thing you need is for someone to contest the deceased's Will. If you are the executor of the estate, you will be responsible for dealing with any challenges. It's important to try to settle the Will fairly but at the same time uphold the spirit of the Will.

We have a great deal of experience helping clients overcome contested Wills. We understand the sensitive nature of situations like this and are perfectly positioned to see the case from your side, as well as from the claimant's point of view.

Administering an Estate

If you have been appointed Executor of a Will, you can decide whether you want to take on the role, or take a back seat and let someone else step in. An Executor essentially has five key roles; to collect in and account for all the deceased's assets, to complete a tax return for HMRC, to apply to the Probate Registry for formal authority to administer the estate, to pay any debts or taxes due from estate funds and to distribute monies to beneficiaries.

If you need advice or support during any part of this process, we can help, or we can take care of things for you, obtaining a Grant of Probate and dealing with inheritance tax and liaising with HMRC directly.

You can ask us to interpret the Will and distribute the estate accordingly, perhaps minimising tax implications for you. We can also take control if your loved one died intestate.

Arrangements for your pets

If your family is unable to care for your animals, finding a new home can be difficult. With a little planning you can provide for your pets and make sure they'll always have a home. From making a simple, non-legal arrangement to a complex trust, we can talk you through all the options. 

Dealing with foreign assets

If you own a property abroad and die with an English Will but without a Will governed by the laws of the country where your property is located, your beneficiary could face a number of problems. In some countries inheritance laws override the wishes laid out in a Will, requiring an estate be left to certain relatives.

If you are in this position, we can help with international estate planning and ensure that any overseas property within your estate go to the people you wnat them to.

Dealing with property upon death

When you're coming to terms with the death of a loved one, sorting out their estate can seem like a daunting task. We can take care of things for you, obtaining a Grant of Probate and dealing with inheritance tax and liaising with HMRC directly.

You can ask us to interpret the Will and distribute the estate accordingly, perhaps minimising tax implications for you. We can also take control if your loved one died intestate. We can also support executors in the disposal of properties under probate legislation to beneficiaries or thrid party purchasers.

Vulnerable beneficiaries

If you are leaving wealth or assets to someone who is disabled or under the age of 18, the best option would be to set up a Trust. A Trust is a legal arrangement where one or more trustees are made legally responsible for looking after certain assets for the benefit of someone else. Trusts can include all manner of assets, ranging from property to cash and investments. If a Trust is set up specifically for a vulnerable beneficiary, the trustees can claim special treatment for Income and Capital Gains Tax, however, the vulnerable person must be entitled to all the income.

We can establish a Trust on your behalf and register it with HMRC, then manage it all for you, taking care of everything from tax returns to annual meetings. If you prefer, we can also act as trustees, dealing with every aspect of administration to take the burden off you.

Funeral arrangements

If someone close to you has died and you need help and support in sorting out the funeral arrangements, we can help. We understand the difficulties you are faceing and have a number of contacts with reputable funeral directors. We can talk you through the process step by step. 

Ensure your assets go to the right people

If you die without writing a Will, then the people you wish to inherit may end up receiving nothing at all. Our team can make the process of drafting a Will as easy as possible, guiding you through any technical or difficult issues and treating everything with sensitivity.

If you are getting married or divorced, or have recently received an inheritance, it's absolutely vital you make or update your Will - particularly if you have children under 18 as of course you will need to appoint guardians to be responsible for their care should you pass away. Whatever your circumstances we highly recommend reviewing your Will every few years to make sure it's up to date.

Giving money to charity when you die

If you'd like to make a gift to charity when you die, you can do so in your Will by leaving a fixed sum of money or a specific item in your Will, or leaving a proportion of your entire estate. Whoever writes your Will would need to know the full name of the Charity, its registered address and charity number, as well as any specific branch details, if relevant.

Normally gifts made to charities are exempt from Inheritance Tax. For the exemption to apply, the charity must be a qualifying charity (a body of persons or trust established in the UK for charitable purposes only). The definition as to what amounts to charitable purposes is complex and if in doubt you should obtain legal advice.

If you leave a gift to a qualifying charity in your will, the value of the gift will be deducted from your estate before Inheritance Tax is worked out which may minimise the amount of Inheritance Tax payable.

Concerns about the care of an elderly relative

If you are concened about the medical treatment being received by an elderly relative, as long as they have full capacity you can take out a Lasting Power of Attorney deals which with personal issues, such as the medical care they receive in the future. 

Application for grant of probate

If you have been named as an executor of a Will, you may need to apply for a grant of probate. This is the official document executors need to administer the estate and is issued by a section of the Court known as probate registry. If you need assistance with this application or any part of administering a Will, we can help. It can be a fairly complex procedure, depending upon the size of the estate, and if you need some guidance, please get in touch. 

What happens if someone dies without making a Will?

If someone close to you has died without making a Will, dealing with their estate can be very complicated. It's a good idea to consult a solicitor as soon as possible and show them all the documentation you have the deceased's belongings, property and financial affairs.

Usually a close relative such as a spouse, child or parent would have the legal right to administer the estate. You would need to apply to the Probate Registry for a 'Grant of Letters of Administration'. Your solicitor can help you with this or you can apply yourself. If inheritance Tax is due on the Estate this must be paid before the grant will be issued. If you are facing this type of situation, please get in touch and we can talk you through the whole process.

Setting up a Trust

There are times when you need to protect the assets you've built up for your family over years of hard work. Our team is here to advise you of all the options available and the best way to achieve your goals. A Trust is a legal arrangement where one or more trustees are made legally responsible for looking after certain assets for someone else. If you are leaving any assets to someone under the age of 18 or with certain types of disability, you may well want to consider setting up a Trust. 

We can advise Trustees on how to implement the Trust and ensure that the scheme is legally managed as well as advising on any transactions or investment strategy. 

Trust admin and maintenance

A Trust is a legal arrangement where one or more Trustees are made legally responsible for looking after certain assets for the benefit of someonen else. We can establish a Trust and reigster it with the HMRC then, if you wish, manage it all for you, taking care of everything from tax returns to annual meetings. We can also act as trustees ourselves dealing with every aspect of trust administration. 

Creditors of an estate of an incapacitated person

If you are owed money by someone who no longer has sufficient mental capacity to manage their financial affairs, this can lead to a delay in payment, which impacts on your vital cash flow. For example, you may be a care home owner with outstanding fees. We can asist by liaising with the family to put the necessary authority in place to get things moving so you will receive the sum due to you.