Why Make a Will?
If you do not make a Will the law decides what happens to your estate and this may not be what you expect or intend. You may also fail to take advantage of possible tax planning opportunities and your estate could incur more tax as a result.
Will drafting is a highly specialised area of law that should only be undertaken by qualified, experienced professionals who are properly insured. There are often hidden complexities not appreciated by an individual or catered for in a 'ready-made' will which only come to light on a proper review and consideration of personal circumstances. Attempting to save the relatively modest cost of a professionally drafted will could subsequently cause distress and financial loss to your loved ones.
Though Wills are normally drafted to take account of likely future circumstances, it is wise to review your Will every few years to reflect changes in your life and taxation.
We prefer to meet with all our clients before drafting their Will. This enables us to ensure that we have an understanding of their circumstances and have talked through and fully discussed all their wishes. Everybody is different and our job is to tailor your Will to your requirements within the legal framework.
Before meeting, we ask clients to complete and return a questionnaire. This highlights the issues that may need particular attention or further discussion. In some cases it draws attention to factors that clients may not previously have considered which can then be explored further.
Our charges for preparing Wills are based on a scale of fixed fees. The rate is dependent on the nature of the Will. For an indication of our fees in connection with taking instructions and preparing your Will please refer to our fee scale or call a member of our team for more information.
If you would like us to prepare your Will, you can access our questionnaire here.
When the completed questionnaire has been submitted we will contact you to arrange an appointment. If you would prefer to complete a paper copy of the questionnaire please email or telephone one of our team, who will be happy to forward this to you and respond to any questions or concerns you may have.
The purpose of estate planning is to preserve, protect and pass on family wealth. By organising your financial affairs you are able to reduce the inheritance tax payable on your estate. Estate planning has to be tailored to take account of your specific wishes, expectations and your wider family needs. It is a bespoke service and not a retail product. Estate plans evolve and should be continually revised. Remember, it's never too late to start.
Why Create a Trust?
Despite recent changes in the law a trust is still an efficient way of protecting assets from the harsher tax regime levied on individuals. Whether the trust is created whilst you are still alive or as part of a tax- efficient will, it can provide control, security and flexibility. We can advise you in the establishment and administration of all kinds of private trusts as well as the preparation of associated tax returns.
Administration of Estates
When a close family member or friend dies it is important that the winding up of affairs is handled with sensitivity and experience. Efficiency is of prime importance. We offer a comprehensive service covering all probate matters including preparation of papers to apply for the grant and the subsequent administration of the estate, the preparation of accounts and tax returns.
In the unlikely event that the probate is contested we can offer advice on resolving any disputes.
It is possible to vary the terms of a Will from which you benefit by drawing up what is called a 'Deed of Variation'. This can be a highly effective way of saving inheritance tax. Deeds of Variation cannot be used to reduce gifts unless the person who received the gift agrees. Therefore you cannot reduce gifts given to minors or those suffering from mental disabilities.
Please contact a member of our Private Client team listed below if you would like more information regarding any of the above issues or have any queries: