Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts
Our Will, Trust and Probate team provide expert advice, support and guidance when you need it most. This may be to execute a Will, create a Trust or take you through the difficult task of administrating an Estate during bereavement.
Our team is approachable and friendly. We understand that every situation is different. We make sure that each individual needs and wishes are considered and adequately provided for. We will guide you through the often complex legal processes giving sensitive, clear and straight forward advice so you understand every stage in the legal process.
Recent Probate/Will work includes but is not limited to:
• Administering and finalising a significant multi-million pound estate
• Successfully drafting and executing a Will for a client whose estate is protected from an errant close relative.
• Obtaining an emergency Grant of Probate to protect a house sale.
• Administering a substantial estate containing in excess of 80 properties.
There are many reasons why you should update your Wills. It may be there are changes to the Inheritance Tax rules. There may be changes to your personal circumstances, you may have got married or divorced or had children. We recommend that you review your Wills on a regular basis at least once every 5 years. You should think whether you should make a new Will or change your existing Will.
Remember if you make a Will, you are taking control and creating certainty for your beneficiaries. If you make a Will the following applies:
• You choose who is to act as your executors and therefore who will administer your Estate.
• You choose who will inherit your money and not leave it to chance.
• You would also have the opportunity in your Will to plan in a tax efficient way.
• You can appoint the right people to be guardians for your children should something happen to you while your children are under the age of 18 years.
• If you are a business owner you can make proper provisions for this business in the event of your death.
• You can provide someone with rights of occupation to a property as well as delaying any children’s inheritance until after the age of 18 years.
If you estate is worth more than £15,000 a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration from the Probate Court is normally required in order retrieve the assets due to the Estate. The Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration gives authority to the personal representative, that is the executor or the administrators, to administer the Estate of the deceased.
There are 3 types of Grant:
• Grant of Probate – which is required if you are named as an executor in the deceased’s Will.
• Grant of Letters of Administration – which is required if the person died without making a Will. This process is a little more complicated than the process for a Grant of Probate.
• Grant of Letters of Administration with the Will annexed – which is required when the deceased made a Will but there is no executor named or survived the deceased or are willing or able to act in the administration of the Estate.
If you die with a Will, your executors have immediate legal authority from the day you die. It is the executors named in the Will who apply for the Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry. The executors may also be able to deal with certain smaller assets without a Grant of Probate being required.
If you do not leave a Will, a close relative can apply to the Probate Registry to deal with the Estate. As discussed above, instead of the Grant being call a Grant of Probate, the grant is called Letters of Administration. Your close relatives can then become the administrators of the Estate. The administrators have no authority to deal with the Estate until they have obtained the grant of Letters of Administration. However, the Letter of Administration acts in exactly the same way as the Grant of Probate in that it is a legal document confirming the administrators are dealing with your assets.
The process of obtaining a Grant of Probate and acting in the administration of the Estate can be quite complicated and drawn out. Your executors will not be granted probate until some or perhaps all of any inheritance tax that is due on the Estate has been paid, so the administration of the Estate may require specialist knowledge of tax and inheritance tax law.
It is possible for the administrator or the executor to apply for the Grant of Probate directly to the Probate Registry but the Probate Registry take longer to issue a Grant in these instances than to a solicitor. The probate fee payable directly by the executor is higher than the probate fee for a solicitor’s application. Finally you have no guarantee or cover if things go wrong.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss how we might assist further with any probate issues.
Trusts are arrangements that allow a third party, the trustees, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary.
You can set up a Trust in your life time or in your Will.
We can advise on the details of setting up a Trust and provide a service helping Trustees with the daily administration of the Trust Fund.
We can assist Trustees with their requirements and their retirement and appointment of further Trustees.
Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further how we might assist you with any Trust issues.
Head of Private Client Department
Telephone: 01494 893 533