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Wills, Trust & Probate
Here at Batchelors, we have helped hundreds of families make sure that their family wealth is preserved to the maximum extent possible and that their assets are passed on as they wished them to be.
If you do not make a will, your estate may not go to those you think it should. If you have assets over £325,000 (2014/2015 rates) - homeowners take note - your estate will pay Inheritance Tax, which is often avoidable by taking straightforward legal advice. It is not pennies either - an estate worth £600,000 will pay £110,000 in Inheritance Tax.
Worse still, if you become infirm and need to be looked after by the State, your estate can be virtually wiped out unless you make appropriate financial arrangements in advance.
It may not be pleasant to think about, but ignoring the problems will not make them go away, it will just make them worse and generally the earlier the issues are dealt with, the better.
Do not put it off. Making a will is not expensive. And, while setting up a power of attorney may be more expensive now due to recent changes to the process, it is a lot cheaper and less stressful to take care of your arrangements now, than the sometimes unavoidable alternative route through the court of protection.
Call our experts now. You will be glad you did.
The Batchelors Wills, Trust and Probate department is one of the largest locally. Our friendly and professional team has an impressive level of skill and experience with Lawyers and Consultants who are members and associate members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and student members of The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists. This ensures that our specialists are always up to date with new developments in the law.
Our dedicated team also provides seminars and talks to raise awareness of legal changes and also supports many elderly clients in the community.
In summary we advise on the following:
Single and joint wills
Many people assume their money will pass to loved ones on their death but this is often not the case. We will carry out an evaluation of your circumstances and prepare your Will to ensure it reflects your wishes.
Living wills/ Advance Decisions
If you want to avoid a situation where you are incurably ill or severely incapacitated and are not able to refuse treatment that is keeping you alive, then a living Will is the solution. We can prepare a living Will now commonly called an Advance Decision, which will express your wishes in this event.
Inheritance tax and Capital Gains Tax. Many people are unaware of the tax implications of their actions and on certain events. We carry out an evaluation of your financial and personal circumstances and advise on possible solutions to reduce or eliminate the payment of tax through lifetime planning and/or your Will.
Trust Creation and Administration
Trusts are set up for many reasons. A trust can be set up during your lifetime or incorporated into a Will to apply on death. A trust is a means of arranging for the succession of assets and/or as part of a tax saving exercise. It can be used to protect family wealth and control amounts passing to future generations. A trust is a mechanism whereby one or more persons, called Trustees, are obliged to look after and deal with assets (the trust property) for the benefit of chosen individuals(i.e a named individual or a group such as grandchildren). We can advise you on the best way to set up the trust, on trustees duties and how the trust should be run. We can also act as trustees.
When someone dies their estate must be dealt with by their personal representatives (PR's). This involves investigating the deceased's assets and liabilities and ensuring all debts are paid and then distributing the balance in accordance with the Will or if no Will has been made, under intestacy. We can act as PR's or take the strain from the PR's and carry out the work necessary on their behalf.
Deed of Variation
When someone dies their estate will be distributed to beneficiaries according to the terms of their Will, or intestacy. Sometimes beneficiaries wish to redirect their gifts i.e to children or charities. If the gift is made by the beneficiary directly it may have tax consequences. If however it is done by way of a formal variation to the Will it is treated as if the deceased had made the gift and these tax consequences are avoided. A deed of variation may also allow a spouse to redirect gifts to children as a tax planning exercise. To ensure that the variation gives rise to these tax benefits it must be executed correctly, satisfy all conditions and be made within a specified time period.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
This is a formal arrangement created by document whereby one person, usually called the donor, gives to the other, usually called the Attorney, power to act. LPAs can be created to deal with property and financial affairs, for example to help sell a home to pay for residential accomodation. A separate LPA can also be set up for Health and Personal Welfare, giving the attorney authority to make decisions about life sustaining medical treatment and other welfare issues.
Applications to the Office of the Public Guardian
When a person becomes mentally incapable of handling their affairs then, in the absence of an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney, it is often necessary to apply to the court of protection for the appointment of a Deputy to manage their affairs. We can make the application on behalf of the proposed Deputy and/or act as the Deputy.
Disputed Wills and Inheritance Claims
It is a sad fact that the death of a family member can trigger a dispute within the family. These can either be in the form of disputing the validity of the Will or disputes relating to the administration of the estate. Claims also arise when individuals believe that insufficient or no provision has been made for their needs. We can assist you in resolving these disputes either informally or through the courts if necessary.
Finally if it all goes wrong we can assist with disputed wills and inheritance claims.