Wills and Probate
The death of a family member can be a stressful and upsetting time so it’s important that you have a law firm in your corner who can look after both your estate and the interests of your family. Our experts at The Law Practice (UK) Ltd will ensure that both are handled in a professional, caring and cost effective manner.
Most people are not familiar with what happens upon death when there is no active Will. We are here to provide you with an informative, jargonfree approach to creating a Will and the handling and administration of an estate in the absence of a valid Will.
Services that we offer:
- Will Writing. Single & Joint.
- Estate Planning including Lasting Powers of Attorney.
- Trusts & Asset Distribution and Inheritance Tax Planning.
We offer a flexible pricing plan, and fixed fee options for Will writing and are happy to provide quotes for the handling and administration of an estate in the event of a death.
Why you should make a Will
A will is a legal declaration of your wishes on death and is only valid if it complies with certain requirements set by Law. A Will is the only way you can help ensure your wishes are carried out after your death.
If you have not made a Will, your Will fails or is invalid, then the Government Rules of Intestacy will apply to give structure to the distribution. These rules will be unlikely to reflect the real wishes of your estate.
Without a Will, the distribution of your estate may take much longer and could cause unnecessary distress to those who need timely access to money or property. Disputes can be avoided if a valid Will is made and your loved ones will be more likely to receive what you wish to leave them.
A Will can also be used to appoint legal guardians for your children as well as to express your funeral wishes and specify gifts to individuals and charities. None of these would be reflected in the Rules of Intestacy
Here are some of the benefits of making a Will:
- Helps ensure your estate passes to those you intend it to via your chosen Executors.
- Makes use of Estate Protection strategies helping avoid unnecessary tax.
- Avoids lengthy delays in the distribution of your estate.
- Ensuring guardians are appointed for your dependent children.
- Reducing the likelihood of unintended beneficiaries claiming part of your estate.
- Reducing the stress to those you leave behind.
- Making your funeral wishes known.
- Helps ringfence sections of your estate or property from Tax and Local Authorities.
- Avoids the Government Rules of Intestacy and saves time and money.
- Gives you piece of mind knowing you have done the best you can
Did you know?
If you are living with a partner but not married (or in a civil partnership) the Inheritance Tax spouse relief which passes property to your spouse tax free DOES NOT apply, however long you have been living together.
On marriage, all former Wills are automatically revoked. Beware; if you have made a Will in favour of your partner and then marry him/her, you MUST make a new Will, as the previous Will, will become invalid on marriage.
If you get divorced, any gift to your former spouse takes effect as if your spouse had died on the date of your decree absolute. If you are merely separated, your spouse will still have the same rights as if you were still living together.
There is a new nil rate band called main residence nil rate band which started in 2017, by which, individuals with direct descendants who have a main residence can pass a residence to a direct descendent on death and obtain a further £100,000 relief from inheritance tax.
If you die without having made a Will, your whole estate WILL NOT pass to your spouse. The laws of Intestacy will apply and your spouse will only receive £250,000 plus half of the remainder of your estate.
Your debts do not die with you! Your executors will be liable to discharge your debts.
If all beneficiaries agree, the provisions in a Will can be varied after death by way of a Deed of Variation, also known as a Deed of Family Arrangement.
If you have given away your main residence to one or more of your children, or anyone else but continue to live at the property, on your death, for Inheritance Tax purposes it will be treated as if you never made the gift.
Rules of Intestacy
If you are a resident of England and Wales and die without having made a legally valid Will or a Will that has partially failed in some way, your estate becomes subject to the Rules of Intestacy.
The Rules of Intestacy determine how your estate is to be distributed after the payment of all your debts and liabilities, testamentary expenses and funeral costs.
This diagram shows how your estate would be distributed in this instance.
- The issue (any child/children) of a pre-deceased member of a class (relation group) will inherit that share.
- Step relations have no entitlement unless legally adopted by the deceased.
- These rules are effective for deaths on or after 1 October 2014
- Property held as joint tenants passes to the other joint tenant, irrespective of the Rules of Intestacy.
The Rules of Intestacy do not recognise ‘unmarried partners’ and therefore no provision is made for them.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows you to choose one or more people to act and make decisions on your behalf if you do not have the mental capacity to make decisions. If you do not make and register an LPA then your children and anyone else looking after you would have to go through a lengthy procedure at the Court of Protection to get authority to act on your behalf.
You can choose whoever you like to be your attorney (the person who will make decisions on your behalf) It can be family members, friends or a professional.
There are two types of LPA. The first allows your Attorney to make decisions on your property and financial affairs. The other form of LPA allows your Attorney to make decisions on your health and welfare.
The Attorney’s power to deal with your estate ends on your death.
Our Practitioners will be pleased to discuss LPAs with you and help to complete and register them.
When a person dies, it is necessary to administer the deceased’s estate. If the deceased has made a Will and appointed Executors, the Executors are the people who must administer the estate. This includes ascertaining the value of all assets and liabilities of the deceased, preparing the Inheritance Tax form to be sent to HM Revenue and Customs, preparing an Oath for Executors, paying the correct amount of Inheritance Tax and probate fees and replying to any queries raised by the probate registry (part of the High Court) and HMRC. Once probate has been granted by the court, the Executor must then collect in all assets and pay of all debts and distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will.
If a person does not leave a Will, then the closest relatives must obtain a grant of letters of administration. The person or persons who do this are called the Administrators not Executors, However, they must act in the same way as Executors, dealing with all the matters which an Executor would deal with. However, the Administrators must deal with the Estate in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy.
Dealing with an estate can be complex and very distressing at a difficult time for relatives. Our experienced Probate team can relieve some of the strain and pressure by dealing with the necessary work in the administration of the Estate.
Trusts may be created to protect funds of an individual and can be effective and efficient way of mitigating tax. They may be set up in a person’s lifetime or in a Will to take effect on death.
There are many types of Trusts, including:
- Bare Trust
- Discretionary or Accumulation Trust
- Interest in Possession Trust
- Heritage or Charitable Trust
- Non-resident Trust
- Parental Trust for minors
- Vulnerable Beneficiary Trust
- Business Property Relief Trust
- Revocable Life Insurance Trust
- Asset Protection Trust
- Special Needs Trust
- Spendthrift Trust
- Tax By-pass Trust
Properly drafted, Trusts can fulfil your lifetime wishes, whilst having a considerable amount of tax. Our experienced Practitioners at TLP can help you draw up a Trust in accordance with your wishes.
Probate and Estate Administration Fees
Click here to download our probate fees PDF.
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Our Services: Whether Personal or Business
The Law Practice (UK) Ltd provides an extensive range of legal services to private clients and businesses nationwide. From the individual to the blue-chip company we have the experience to deliver an expert range of legal services at very reasonable prices.