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Wills, Tax and Probate
Our Private Client Department offers advice on a wide range of services:
There are all sorts of advantages to making a will:
- You can control who inherits your assets when you die
- You have an opportunity to deal with Inheritance Tax issues and potentially plan for care fees
- You can appoint a legal guardian for any children you have who are under the age of 18
- You can ensure your estate does not pass to the government under the rules of Bona Vacantia
- You can set up specialised trusts for your loved-ones who might not be able to cope with an outright gift of cash (for example a disabled beneficiary or someone going through bankruptcy proceedings)
- If you are not married but are in a long-term relationship, making a will could be vital to ensure your partner is provided for
This is also often referred to as "Probate". When someone dies there can be a lot of work involved in dealing with the administration of their estate. It is often an emotional and difficult time to have to go through a complicated legal process. We are happy to help executors and administrators (when there is no will and the next of kin take responsibility) deal with all these issues.
Tax matters can arise in all sort of different situations. Our specialised legal team can advise you on Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax planning on a one-off basis. Often large amount of tax can be saved with some simple tax planning advice. Tax issues sometimes come up while we are advising on other matters and we are happy to help you plan for the future.
Powers of Attorney:
While you have mental capacity you can appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. We are able to help you set up Lasting Powers of Attorney where your attorneys can make decisions on your behalf for both:
- Your property and financial affairs and
- Your health and welfare
Your attorneys may be able to start helping you from the date the Lasting Power of Attorney comes back registered from the Office of the Public Guardian. Attorneys appointed under a financial LPA can help you deal with your assets both when you have mental capacity and (if the worst comes to the worst) when you lack mental capacity. As part of our service we are happy to sort out the registration for you.
When you set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, someone must provide a certificate to say you are able to sign the document. As solicitors we are qualified to give these certificates and do not charge any extra for doing so.
Court of Protection Applications:
Even if your loved-one has not set up a power of attorney but has lost mental capacity, we can still help. On your behalf we can make an application to the Court of Protection with the request that they appoint you as a Deputy. The role of a Deputy is similar to that of an attorney and entitles you to deal with the financial affairs of your relative or friend. In certain circumstances, if there is no-one appropriate to take on the role, we can apply for one of the partners in the firm to be appointed as Deputy.
The process of going to the Court of Protection can take at least six months and the court needs to see a lot of information about everyone involved in the application. Therefore, whenever possible, we suggest people set up Lasting Powers of Attorney while they have capacity.
Other Elderly Client Related Matters:
We often find our clients are concerned about the cost of going into care. We can help you arrange your finances in an efficient manner to ensure that you only have to pay care fees in the appropriate situations.