Making a will is vitally important and yet so many people don't get round to it or keep it up to date. It is often assumed that if you do not make a will your possessions are automatically left to your loved ones in their entirety. This is incorrect.
By making a will, you ensure your wishes are followed, avoid paying too much tax and avoid complications in relation to your estate. Our wills, trust & succession planning team will make the process as easy as possible.
Making a will is the ideal time to review your personal affairs to ensure you have arranged them correctly for the future. For example, to minimise inheritance tax, cater for unusual family circumstances and make sure you have considered pension death benefits.
We can offer you specialist expertise and experience in a full range of areas:
Contesting a Will
Succession & Capital Taxes Planning
If you die without a valid will you will almost certainly cause problems and even financial difficulties for those you leave behind. Making a will clarifies a lot of issues most of us would not wish to burden our family and friends with when we die. Too many people fail to make a will because they believe their estate will simply pass to their spouse or children if they die. This is not the case, and our team will advise you on the best options. If your financial or personal circumstances have changed substantially, or any of your beneficiaries have predeceased you, or you have become separated from their spouse, then you should review your Will.
Your estate is everything that you own at the time of your death, including property, cars, cash, life insurance, pensions, personal possessions etc. Most people are worth far more than they realise as they often fail to take into account life insurance and benefits from employers.
A properly drawn up will enable you to:
Choose who inherits your estate
Avoid the Laws of Intestacy
Help reduce Inheritance Tax
Reduce problems for those left behind
Choose legal guardians for your children
Choose your own executors
Set up trusts - either simple or more flexible trusts to cater for how and when someone benefits
Make charitable donations
We also advise on wills & trusts for people who have children or family members with learning difficulties and disabilities
This is a document by which you can declare what medical treatment you want or do not want if you cannot communicate those wishes to those providing your medical care.
The living will can include:
Treatment you would be happy to have, and in what circumstances
Treatment you would want, no matter how ill you are
Treatment you would prefer not to have, and in what circumstances
Someone you would like to be consulted about your treatment at the time a decision needs to be made
The living will can also include a specific refusal of treatment, which has a different legal status.
Succession & Capital Taxes Planning
Our team helps successful families and entrepreneurs structure their assets in a way that will help preserve their wealth now and for future generations. For many people, the shares they hold in their family business are often their largest and most valuable asset.
Many families and entrepreneurs do not sufficiently recognise the benefits of early and effective succession planning. Often relatively minor adjustments to the legal framework of a family business can achieve major long term benefits.
Areas to consider include:
The wish of management to pass on wealth but keep control
The need for orderly succession and motivation of younger family members
Complications when non-trading assets are included in the business
Threats to family assets from third party claims, and matrimonial problems
Other family tensions and the need to provide for non-participators in the business
When it comes to planning for the future, we take the time to listen to your wishes and put forward the best course of action to ensure you make the most of your assets for future generations.
In our experience, many people avoid trusts, in the mistaken belief that they are the exclusive preserve of the seriously wealthy.
However, trusts can be a very effective way to control your assets, either during your lifetime or after your death. They should also play a key part in your tax planning strategy. Trusts can also be very simple, for example, money can be held for someone until they reach the age of 18, 21 or 25 or they can be more flexible to allow the trustees to make the decision and allow them to take a beneficiary's circumstances into account before releasing assets to them.
They are, however, one of the more difficult areas of law and our knowledge and years of experience simplify the process for you.
Trusts are a highly effective way to shelter and control assets in many different situations:
Personal Injury Trusts - where someone has received compensation and they receive means tested benefits
Disabled Person's Trust - where someone with reduced mental capacity has assets but needs their affairs managing
Family Asset Protection Trusts - family assets for future generations
Discretionary Trusts - establishing a flexible vehicle to determine who inherits family or other wealth and at what age and under what conditions
Death in Service and Pensions Planning Trusts - to help protect assets from inheritance tax
The Ten Things You Should Do:
Make a will
Keep it up to date - review your Will at least every 5 years
Keep it secure and tell others how to find it
Take advice before you live with a partner
Protect your interests if you buy property with a partner
Minimise Inheritance Tax through careful planning
Reduce Capital Gains taxes by planning well ahead
Set up Powers of Attorney for you and other family members
Make gifts to children or grandchildren tax effectively
Plan well ahead for your care needs
Family matters can be enormously complex. Whether happy or sad, from the earliest days to the latter years, we offer robust advice on all aspects of family life.
Buying or selling your property, making the most of your assets, or leaving something to future generations ... we will discuss the options open to you in a relaxed, friendly and straight forward manner.
We would welcome the opportunity to meet you and offer you a free 30 minute consultation with absolutely no obligation.