Services > Family, Home & Personal Law Services
Wills, Probate, Tax and Trusts
People are living longer than ever before and the need to protect accumulated wealth for your own use, or to pass on to your heirs, is vital. House price inflation means many homeowners fall into the Inheritance Tax net and with more and more people buying second homes, in the UK or abroad, there is increased need to use specialist advice to protect estates.
The process for drawing up a Will is generally far more straightforward than most people believe. It is an action that can provide you with the knowledge that, in the event of your death, your wishes can be acted on promptly and in a timely manner. It also ensures that the distribution of assets can be undertaken quickly and efficiently to provide security for your family.
We can advise on the drafting and updating of Wills to ensure that as your circumstances change, your Will continues to reflect your wishes. If you have already made a nil rate band Discretionary Trust Will, you may wish to review this in light of the Chancellor’s changes to the nil rate band regime.
Elderly client services (incl. Trusts, Power of Attorney and Lasting Power of Attorney *)
Trusts provide considerable scope to pass on assets or reduce tax liability by placing the asset outside of your estate. We can act as Trustees on your behalf or draft Trust documentation to place the Trusteeship with your nominated individuals.
Powers of Attorney and Lasting Powers of Attorney allow you to place the day-to-day administration of your finances with an Attorney, if your health is poor or your mental faculty prohibits you from attending to financial affairs. A Lasting Power of Attorney enables you to appoint a person you trust to deal with your finances and to ensure that your wishes with regard to your medical treatment are carried out.
Our specialist practitioners will explain how these documents can be best used to support your circumstances and will draft them in accordance with your wishes.
However, if mental capacity has already failed, our team, who are on the Court of Protection Deputy Panel, can advise you how to make an application to the Office of the Public Guardian to deal with an individual's affairs.
Inheritance Tax planning
Increasing house price inflation in the UK means that Inheritance Tax is no longer “a tax on the rich”. The threshold for Inheritance Tax is currently set at £325,000 for the tax year 2010/2011, but this is transferable between spouses and Civil Partners. Widows and widowers whose spouses did not use the whole of their allowance can now claim the balance on their own estates. You may also still wish to use a Discretionary Trust to ring-fence the allowance of the first to die to protect it for your children. Inheritance Tax is a flat rate tax at 40%, payable on the value of the estate that exceeds the threshold figure.
Our experts can advise you on the best options for your particular situation.
Probate and administration of estates on death
Our team of Probate specialists provide advice with understanding and sensitivity when winding up and administrating estates. They can establish whether it is necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration to allow assets to be collected and distributed in accordance with the wishes of the deceased.
Where appropriate, the service includes tax saving advice to ensure the estate is passed on, in as efficient a manner as possible, to the beneficiaries. They can also advise you whether or not your late spouse’s estate should be reinvestigated to assess whether or not additional Inheritance Tax allowances are available to you. It may also be possible to vary the Will to render it more tax effective for the family as a whole.
We also offer legal expertise in contentious probate disputes.
We offer advice, guidance and representation in the following areas:
- Challenges and defences concerning the validity of a Will or codicil on the grounds of incapacity, undue influence or a failure to observe normalities
- Claims pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
- Claims for or against executors and/or administrators
- Trust claims
If you believe you have a claim against an Estate or a claim pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 or are an executor, administrator or beneficiary facing such a claim or seek advice on any contentious probate issue please contact Noel McNicholas on 01332 344221 or email email@example.com