Wills, Probate & Trusts
Our Private Client specialists can help you plan for the issues which arise in later life.
In particular, we strongly recommend you make a Will so that your estate is distributed, after death, according to your wishes, rather than left to the vagaries of the intestacy laws.
We also recommend setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney, a legal instrument allowing you to appoint an attorney (or attorneys) to handle your affairs in the event of mental or physical incapacity.
In addition, we can provide advice on Tax Planning, the establishment of Trusts and Settlements, Administration of Estates, and planning for the possibility of Long-Term Residential Care.
Making a Will allows you to decide how your assets are to be distributed after your death, and enables you to provide for your children and other dependants. In particular, it allows you to:
- Appoint someone you know and trust to act as your Executor
- Nominate guardians for any children who may be minors at the time of your death
- Make specific gifts to relatives, friends or charities
- Choose precisely how your property and assets are to be distributed after your death
- Minimise any tax liabilities your estate may incur
For a guide on the main matters to be considered before drawing up a Will, please click Here.
Reviewing your Will every few years is as important as making one in the first place. You may wish to distribute your assets differently, or your family circumstances may have changed.
Your Will may also require amendments to reflect changes in the law or taxation.
Lasting Power of Attorney
An LPA is a procedure whereby you may nominate someone to be your attorney (or you may nominate more than one person) should mental incapacity befall you in the future and prevent you acting on your own behalf. An attorney should be someone you can trust implicitly, usually a close family member.
With an LPA you can appoint attorneys to act for you in respect of your Financial & Property affairs or to act for you on Social & Welfare issues - or you can do both. If you choose to cover both aspects you can appoint different attorneys for each, if you so wish. In relation to financial and property affairs, your attorney may also act for you if you retain mental capacity but it is more convenient for them to act for you for different reasons, including physical incapacity.
Planning in advance in this way can avoid distress and cost for you and your family who will otherwise have to apply for Receivership through the Court of Protection to act on your behalf - a lengthy and potentially costly procedure.
It is in everyone's interest to minimise their own, and their estate's tax liability. We can provide specialist advice on:
- Will drafting to minimise Inheritance Tax
- Post-Death Variations of Wills
- Life-Time Gifts
- Trusts and Settlements
Administration of Estates
Our probate team will deal with the administration of an estate in a sympathetic and professional manner.
Matters dealt with include:
- Establishing the asset base
- Application for Grant of Probate
- Application for Letters of Administration
- Realisation of various assets
- Completion of Tax Returns
- Sale and Transfer of Probate Properties
- Distributions to Residuary Beneficiaries
- Completion of Estate Accounts
- Post Death Variations
Trusts & Settlements
Trusts and Settlements are created in order to provide for the on-going needs of spouses, children, grandchildren, and other dependent relatives. Additional benefits arise from the fact that Trusts and Settlements can be effective tax-saving devices.
Long Term Residential Care
It is a fact of life that many people may need to go into a nursing home, or have some other form of long term nursing care, when they get older.
It is also true that their capital and home can be used to pay for this care. Simply transferring ownership to one's children, however, is no guarantee that your assets will be protected and not taken to pay for fees.
We provide advice and practical help to deal with this type of situation.
If you have concerns regarding any of the points or issues included in this page, you may wish to call us to arrange an informal and confidential discussion.