Wills, Trusts & Probate

Fact!

Of the 2000 or so people who die in the UK every day, approximately only one third had made a Will!

What is a Will?

A will is a legally binding document which sets out to whom you wish to leave your property and possessions when you die. In addition, it is an opportunity for you to make specific provision for the needs of your spouse/partner/civil partner/children with the minimum of trouble and expense.

Consequences of not having a Will

It is a common misconception that if you die without making a Will (Intestate) everything automatically passes to your surviving spouse, but that is not always the case. Under the Intestacy Rules it is the law, rather than you, which dictates who will inherit your property and possessions. This has far reaching effects in terms of how much your spouse and children etc will receive. Perhaps very significantly if you are not married, or registered under the Civil Partnerships Act your partner would NOT benefit at all under the Intestacy Rules as your property and possessions will automatically pass to your nearest blood relative. Failing this then the Government will get everything!

In addition, if you have young children, you will not have indicated who you wish to look after those children and bring them up. You could also end up paying unnecessary inheritance tax.

Why do you need a will?

We all die one day and at a time when your family will have more than enough to cope with, at least it will be some comfort that your affairs have been legally taken care of. The key considerations are-

  • Your property and possessions will be left to your family and friends you wish
  • You can provide for your spouse / partner and children
  • You decide who will look after your children
  • You can make provision to a friend, charity etc
  • You can state your wishes in relation to your funeral
  • Your Will is particularly important if your circumstances change, e.g. marriage, divorce
  • Reduce IHT and CGT payments

Although stationers sell do-it-yourself Will packs, we do not recommend using these as in doing so there are a number of potential pitfalls. We advise using an expert who will discuss all aspects of arranging your Will as well as focussing on other important issues that you may not have considered but that could have far reaching consequences if they were not included. Here the solicitor will ensure:- that there is no ambiguity; that the Will is correctly signed and witnessed; provide advice on other matters such as Inheritance Tax Planning etc. Periodic reviewing of your Will is also advised as your personal circumstances and wishes may change.

Inheritance Tax Planning

With ever increasing house values added to life insurance, death in service benefits, pensions etc, more and more people are now finding themselves to be above the tax threshold (currently fixed at £325,000) which means that their family would be liable to paying 40‰ tax on the value of the estate over that level.

Our experts will be able to help you on the most tax efficient way of avoiding or significantly reducing inheritance tax.

Lasting Power of Attorney

If through illness or an accident you are unable to manage your own affairs (paying bills, accessing your bank account and all the other things that you currently take for granted) then you will need to appoint someone to do this on your behalf. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a recently introduced document which the solicitor can prepare for you, which can ensure that your interests will be taken care of should you become incapable of dealing with these matters yourself.

How much will it cost?

Not as much as you may think. It all depends on your personal circumstances and the complexities of your needs, but a simple Will could cost as little as £150. Your solicitor will give you a complete breakdown of the likely costs at the beginning of your meeting

Remember this is one of the most important documents you will ever sign, so you need to get it right! Having a Will, planning for Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax, and possibly LPA arrangements, will save so much worry and heartache in the future. So for your peace of mind and your family's security please contact us on 01484 821300.

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I think I heard a comment from the vendors about 'provincial solicitors' once at the beginning of the matter. I never heard it again. I can sincerely and honestly say, having had some experience of big city solicitors in the past, that I could not conceive how any other firm would have dealt with this in the same expert, expedient and insanely short timescale that you did. This is not flannel – it is a fact and I am humbled by the way you guys responded and looked after my interests and those of my company"

If you need a solicitor, you want to be confident that your interests are properly looked after. Our teams of legal professionals have an extensive range of skills and experience to offer our clients, who also enjoy the added benefit of dealing with a firm that is large enough to provide specialists in the many areas of legal issues that we cover including; family matters, employment problems, house purchases and sales, wills, crime and road traffic offences, personal injury, medical negligence and dispute resolution.