Wills, Probate & Powers of Attorney

Wills, Probate & Powers of Attorney

If you’ve been putting off making a will, then you’re not alone. A recent survey conducted by YouGov revealed that nearly two thirds of the British adult population do not have a will in place. It’s a situation which can cause significant stress for those you leave behind. If you die without a will, then rigid intestacy rules dictate how your assets are allocated – and it won’t necessarily be the way you want it.

As part of our fixed-fee wills service, our lawyers will advise you on all aspects of drafting a will and will help you prepare something which is finely tuned to your particular needs. Issues which will be taken into consideration include:

  • Who you’d like to administer your estate (your money, property and other assets)
  • Who to appoint as your children’s legal guardians
  • How your money, property and possessions will be distributed after you die
  • How to minimise the impact of death duties (inheritance tax) with effective tax planning
  • The funeral arrangements you’d like to put in place
Probate

Probate is the legal term we use to describe the process of sorting out somebody’s estate after they’ve died. Our lawyers can offer guidance and reassurance on the many practical and legal issues which will need to be addressed at this time. We’ll happily provide you with as much or as little assistance as you feel you need and can advise you on issues such as:

  • Helping you understand the terms of the will or explaining the legal position in cases where there is no will in place
  • Working out the value of the estate based on all assets, debts and liabilities
  • Organising official valuations where necessary
  • Applying for a Grant of Representation – this is the legal document needed to deal with the estate and access things like bank accounts
  • Preparing a detailed account of the property, money, possessions and debts in the estate
  • Organising payment of any taxes due as well as any outstanding debts such as utilities bills
  • Preparing any documents required by HMRC and dealing with inheritance tax issues
  • Distributing what’s left to the beneficiaries who’ve inherited it

At the outset, our lawyers will give you a clear indication of the likely timescale for the estate to be administrated. We’ll also advise on potential ways of minimising any tax liabilities and help you work within your budget with our competitively-priced range of flexible payment options.

Powers of Attorney

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney you can apply for: Health and Welfare, and Property and Financial Affairs. Both of them are legal documents where someone chooses a friend or relative to look after their affairs if they lose capacity i.e. the ability to make their own decisions.

A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs gives your chosen person the legal authority to take care of your home and investments when you can no longer do it yourself. This is usually when you lose your mental or physical capacity due to illness, old age or an accident. It also means they can take care of the practical day-to-day issues such as operating bank accounts and claiming benefits and pensions.

A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare allows you to choose someone  to make decisions about how you are cared for and what medical treatment you receive – including life-sustaining treatment – if you lose capacity. Without these arrangements in place, although your family might be consulted, decisions over social care will rest with the care homes and doctors. Your family would also have to apply to the Court of Protection to access insurance payments or pensions and benefits. In short, things can get very complicated. There are many important decisions to be made when creating a Lasting Powers of Attorney. We’ll discuss these with you thoroughly, making sure you’re aware of all the options available to you and that you get the Lasting Powers of Attorney which are right for you.

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