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Wills, Trusts, Probate & Power of Attorney
Wills – Making a will
A carefully prepared will is essential to ensure tax efficient passing on of family wealth. Family structures are becoming increasingly complex and we are able to see potential pitfalls and advise accordingly. Making a will creates certainty, reduces worry and gives you the peace of mind knowing exactly how your money, property and possessions will be dealt with after your death. It also enables you to choose who you want to deal with your estate. You will also be able to specify guardians, if required, for any dependent children.
We are able to liaise with lawyers in foreign jurisdictions to ensure worldwide property is taken into consideration in the planning stages. We also advise on issues of residence and domicile.
All members of the Private Client department are knowledgeable in personal taxation and we are able to incorporate tax planning into will drafting with the inclusion of trusts where appropriate.
In administering estates, we act in a sensitive and professional manner. We advise Executors, Administrators on all aspects of estate administration and often act in this capacity ourselves. We obtain Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration depending on whether or not the deceased left a will. We deal with estates where assets are held in foreign jurisdictions and foreign estates with UK sited assets.
We can help with all tax aspects including the variation of Wills and other post death tax planning strategies. We prepare accounts, Inheritance Tax Returns and Estate Income Tax returns.
We can arrange the transfer or sale of any shares, and work with our Residential Property Team to handle the sale of any property or land owned by the deceased.
Inheritance disputes are becoming increasingly common. We can advise on the best steps to take to avoid a dispute arising. Our specialist contentious probate department can also deal with any claim under the Inheritance Act or any challenge of the validity to a will based on lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence or any other ground.
There are different types of Trusts, suited to different needs. If you are making a will and have young children, you will probably want to set up a Trust for them so that they can be taken care of it you die while they are still young. Trusts can also be useful tools when Inheritance Tax planning.
Powers of Attorney
It is prudent to create a Lasting Power of Attorney, as you never know when it may be needed. They are not restricted to the elderly and infirm as no one has a crystal ball as to what lies in the future, or when the Lasting Power of Attorney may be needed. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy if you lose capacity for any reason, suffering an accident, illness, stroke or any number of unforeseen events that may mean you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. The appointment of a deputy is a long and expensive process, which can lead to disputes between family members and the deputy appointed may not reflect your wishes or desires.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which gives someone (the attorney) authority to make certain decisions on someone else’s behalf. Lasting Powers of Attorney have replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney since 2007 and are a more versatile document.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s).
Property and Affairs – allows the attorney to deal with your property and finance as you specify, even before capacity is lost.
Health and Personal Welfare – allows the attorney to make decisions on your health and welfare only when you lack the mental capacity to do so yourself.
When choosing an attorney, it is vital that you chose a trustworthy person with the necessary skills to make the most appropriate and beneficial decisions on your behalf. You can appoint more than one attorney and instruct them to either work together or independently depending on specified circumstances.
We are experienced in dealing with the Court of Protection whether it is the simple registration of a Lasting Power of Attorney or making an application for Deputyship. The combination of our caring approach and specialist expertise in the provision of legal services for the elderly will give you peace of mind.