Wills, Trust and Estate Planning
Should you need a Will drafting or a Power of Attorney preparing our expert team of Solicitors will guide you through the process to ensure that yours and your loved ones’ interests are protected for the future. We would recommend everyone prepares a Will. Even if you think you don't need one, we would recommend you complete our questionnaire which will give an outline of what your Will would look like.
We can handle everything from;
- Wills – Drafting your Will to make sure your beneficiaries get the full benefit of their inheritance. We have experience in writing basic Wills to drafting instructions in more complex matters.
- Estate planning –Everything you own is part of your estate. That means property, cash in any accounts, cars and other valuables. We can help ensure that they are dealt with appropriately.
- Trusts – Setting up a trust to ensure your assets are protected.
- Business succession planning – Helping you to hand over control of your business interests.
- Powers of Attorney – Preparing Lasting Power of Attorneys to appoint someone to take care of your finances and or health if you lose capacity in the future.
Preparing a Will
A Will is a legal document that specifies how your assets will be distributed after your passing. If you don’t have a will in place your possessions are allocated in accordance with intestacy laws. This means that even if it goes against your declared preferences during your lifetime, the rules of Intestacy will apply, and only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit so the risk is your assets may not go to those you wanted.
What to consider before making a Will
You should give great consideration to your wishes, financial situation, and the ownership of your assets before drafting a will. You should ask yourself the following questions.
- Whom shall my Executors be? These are the ones who execute your instructions.
- Do I have to name guardians for my children under the age of 18 who outlive me?
- Would I prefer that my kids receive money when they turn 18 or later?
- What am I really worth in terms of money?
- Will my financial circumstance alter? Will I, for instance, inherit any money?
- Do I share ownership of property with someone else, such as a home or a bank account?
- Should I pay inheritance tax?
- What happens to my pension money if I pass away?
- Do I want to remove someone from my Will so they do not gain from it?
- Do I want to leave anything to a charity?
- Can my foreign assets be protected by an English Will? If not, a new Will may need to be created in the nation where the other asset is located.
- Who would I prefer to benefit if I died at the same time as my spouse, civil partner, or romantic partner?
Don't worry if you don't know the answers to some of these questions now, but they definitely need to be considered.
We can assist in determining whether Inheritance Tax is owed on your estate. We can also give you more information to assist you in making crucial choices, like choosing your executors and deciding whether to include a trust in your Will.
We can draft a Will that accurately reflects your wishes, is clear of ambiguities, and satisfies all legal requirements.
Leaving a Gift in your Will
Making a Will is crucial because it will provide you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are taken care of, special friends are recognised, and your favourite charities are honoured.
Your local hospice will be able to support current and upcoming generations of patients with life-limiting illnesses and give them the care and support they need to live well in their community if you remember them in your Will. Every gift, no matter how big or small, will make a difference. For instance, you can decide to ask for money rather than flowers. You may be confident that your donation will benefit the community.
Gifts to charities are tax-free.
Will-based charitable donations are a tax-free method of making a significant gift. You may also pay less inheritance tax if you leave a gift. This is due to the fact that your estate's taxable value is determined after any charitable contributions are made. Your solicitor will be able to offer advice in this regard.
We will give £20 of the fee for each Will created through the charity to your local hospice.
* Please be aware that in order to guarantee that their desires are honoured, supporters who wish to leave a donation in their Will must designate Smooth Commercial Law to keep the document.
Reviewing and updating an existing Will
Every five years, we advise you to get your Will reviewed. Since life's circumstances are constantly shifting, you might need to revise your Will to account for them. For instance, your existing Will's provisions may have changed as a result of a divorce, marriage, or child's birth. Your kids might be old enough to serve as executors by this point. The charity you mentioned might no longer be in operation. Perhaps a beneficiary passed away.
Additionally, it's crucial to keep in mind that a Will is a tax document and should be drafted in a way that is compatible with the existing Inheritance Tax system. You might not receive the full benefits of the present nil rate tax band if it is written wrongly.
It's possible that since you last updated your Will, the Inheritance Tax laws have changed. The administration of your inheritance might be made simpler by removing trusts from Wills that were drafted before the zero rate band became transferrable.
Wills that have not been updated to reflect all of these developments are to blame for many of the disputes we observe.
Contested wills and disagreements over the handling of the deceased’s estate are very common. This could apply to both intestacy and situations when a Will is present.
When someone passes away without leaving a Will, a complaint could be made that the intestacy legislation did not take care of someone who should have been taken care of, like a cohabitant. Another possibility is that the surviving husband or civil partner feels they should have received more and wishes to file a claim against the deceased's children.
If there is a Will, a complaint can be made that a child was overlooked or received less money than their siblings, or that a cohabitee, husband, or civil partner was disregarded in favour of the children. A DIY Will can be unclear about what constitutes "family" or whether nieces and nephews should inherit the portion that belonged to their deceased parent.
The cost of contesting a Will is high, and it is stressful for everyone involved. After paying for the case, there might not be much left over, and it might delay the distribution of assets for years.
We can provide advice on the viability of a claim if you want to contest a Will.
However, prevention is preferable, and much cheaper than cure. Because of this, we advise that you write your Will in a way that prevents the conflict from arising in the first place. For a fixed rate, one of our solicitors can write the Will for you. Wouldn’t that be preferable to time and money spent on an unregulated will write drafting a Will that doesn’t stand up to challenge once you are gone?
Our Wills process
Our goal is to make the procedure as easy and uncomplicated as possible. We will enquire about your family, property, finances, history of gifting, tax incidence, and the viability of your suggestions when you come in for a will-writing appointment. We will consider issues such as protection of assets from future care costs and the use of lifetime trusts on second marriages and we will offer advice if we believe there are alternatives that will better achieve your goals.