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Wills & Probate Solicitors in London
Our team of specialist Wills and Probate solicitors in London can assist with all aspects of estate planning. The thought of planning what is to happen to your estate can be a daunting one as there are quite complex issues to consider.
We work with you to structure your estate and the necessary legal documents in the most effective way to put you in the best position possible. Our specialist Wills and Probate Solicitors are able to offer the highest quality service at cost effective rates.
It is usually when there is a significant life event that people think about a Will and decide to put plans in place. We always aim to make that process as stress free as possible. Request a Call Back from one of our team
What happens if you die without a Will?
If you die without a valid Will you are ‘intestate’. This means that your assets will be given to a list of persons, including your spouse/civil partner, but otherwise specific blood relatives depending on who survives you. So for example, an unmarried partner would be not be entitled to anything, despite living with you for many years.
In today’s world of less conventional family set ups there are occasions when children who may not be blood related are disinherited by accident. This illustrates why it is very important that you make a Will and ensure its updated when necessary
Our wills & probate solicitors can help you protect your assets
Speak to a specialist
We aim to make the process as stress free as possible. It is usually when there is a significant life event that people think about a Will and decide to put plans in place to maximise their estate.
Services we can offer
- Making / drafting a Will
- Challenging/contesting a Will
- Helping protect the value of your assets
- Setting up a trust to manage the amount of tax that you pay or to protect a vulnerable family member
- Administering and managing trusts
- When someone close to you dies we can help with probate and inheritance tax.
- If a loved one becomes unable to act independently due to illness or injury, our experts can advise on how best to protect assets through the Court of Protection and Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Tax advice on probate and estates
How to deal with the estate of someone who has died
- First meeting
We send out a questionnaire in advance of the meeting explaining what documents we will need. At the meeting, we explain the process, how long it will take and likely costs. We ask for all the information we will need for the probate application and advise on the terms of the will.
- Tax forms
We obtain the value of all assets and liabilities as at the date of death. We then complete the Inheritance Tax (IHT) forms and claim all available exemptions. We arrange for the first payment of tax to be made from the estate assets.
- Court application
We send you a statement of truth to sign. This is sent to the court with the original will and receipt for Inheritance Tax, so that the grant can be issued.
- Grant of probate
Once we have the grant, we can collect in all the assets of the estate and sell any property. We arrange for any balance of Inheritance Tax to be paid and pay any debts. We then pay the legacies. We ensure that final income tax returns are filed and deal with any adjustments to the Inheritance Tax calculations.
- Final Steps
Once all matters have been dealt with, we provide the executors and final beneficiaries with detailed estate accounts and pay out the amounts due.
When should you update your Will?
If we draft your Will, we can store this on your behalf. We would suggest that if there are any changes in your life or circumstances then this may be a trigger to look at your Will and ask us to make any necessary changes to reflect your new circumstances
Maximising your assets
Because this is what we do and have been doing for many years we are able to put you in the best possible position advising on tax and how to structure your estate to make the most of the assets that you have.
Our Wills and Probate team protect vulnerable people
There are times when through ill health or an injury people may not have the capacity to deal with their own matters. If so, our solicitors can help these people and their loved ones with applying to the court of protection to ensure the best interests of the individual are maintained. We can also draw up a Lasting Power of Attorney before this happens so an individual can nominate someone look after their legal interests should they not have the capacity to do so in the future.
Dealing with the estate of someone who has passed on your behalf
It is at the worst possible time that people are faced with dealing with a loved ones requests and having to deal with the probate process. We can take on this process for you and manage the affairs of the estate. We can deal with the administration from start to finish. This is something which we find some clients really benefit from, as they do not want to deal with all the paperwork and processes at such a stressful time.
How much does it cost to make a Will?
Will drafting can be done on a fixed fee and therefore depending on your circumstances may not be as much as you would think. Contact one of our experts to discuss your circumstances and they will be able to provide you with a free assessment and cost estimate.
Value for Money
We believe that the legal services we offer provide value for money and we insist on complete transparency throughout the legal process of what our charges will be.
This means that you are always in control of costs and fees, and you’ll experience no surprises. We can do as much or as little as you want. You can be certain that everyone we assist will have their case considered by a fully-qualified, experienced solicitor.
Please contact us on 0808 223 2891 if you would like our assistance with any Wills & Probate services.
Frequently asked questions
If the Will does not make reasonable financial provision for you, and you fall into any one or more of a number of fixed categories, you can make a claim against their estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The categories are: spouse, (in some cases) a former spouse (provided they have not subsequently remarried), a child of the deceased, a child of the deceased’s spouse, any person who immediately before the death of the deceased was being maintained, either wholly or partly, by the deceased and any person who was living in the same household as the deceased for a period of two years immediately before the deceased died, as their spouse. All references to a spouse also include a civil partner.
If you are within any of those categories, then up to six months from the date that probate is granted, you can bring a claim for financial provision. That is not to say that you would be successful, merely that you fall within the category of people who could bring a claim. The Court will consider a variety of factors, including your financial needs and resources, the financial needs and resources of any other applicant, the financial needs and resources of any existing beneficiary, the obligations and responsibilities which the deceased had towards everyone and the size and nature of the estate.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that while financially independent adult children have brought successful claims in the past, if there is no ongoing financial relationship between you, the fact that they were your parent does not necessarily mean the Court will make an award in your favour.
The expression “living Will” does not have a legal meaning as such, but could be used to refer to either an advanced statement or an advanced decision or directive. An advance statement, is a general statement of your wishes and views, generally relating to healthcare matters, to be taken into account at a time when you may be unable to decide or communicate your wishes. It is not legally binding, but must be considered by those looking after you, when they are making decision about what is in your best interests.
An advance directive, is a decision or direction made now, to refuse all or some forms of medical treatment at a time in the future when you have lost the ability to decide for yourself, even if this might lead to your death. It can only be a refusal of treatment, it cannot be used to request treatment. It does not deal with other matters relating to your health. An advance directive is legally binding, provided it meets the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act.
An ordinary Will would generally deal with the disposal of your property and finances on your death and does not deal with healthcare issues. It can also deal with the appointment of guardians for infant children and appoint executors, who deal with the administration of your estate.
Marriage automatically revokes a Will and so if you get married or remarried, that would be a time to make a new Will. If you separate from your partner, and had made provision for them in your Will, that would be a time to update your Will. If you get divorced, then that would be another time to consider your Will. Divorce does not revoke a Will, but all references to the spouse, whether as an executor or beneficiary would be treated as if they had died before you, and so at the very least, this could create an intestacy or partial intestacy.
Other times when you should review or update your Will could be when you buy a new property, have children, inherit money, acquire a business interest, when a beneficiary named in your Will dies or if the law has changed in such a will that would affect the terms of your Will. In any event, we recommend that you should review your Will at least every five years, even if none of the above events occur, just to make sure that it still reflects your wishes.
This is not a requirement, but can be useful, particularly if you are making unusual provisions, or perhaps provisions that might not be anticipated by your family. It may be just as well to explain it to them in advance, to try and avoid a situation where it could come as a big shock to them and cause a fall out between family members after your death.
If they understand why you are doing it in that way, it may help to iron out any difficulties now and avoid a possible fall out or worse still, litigation, after your death. This may be particularly relevant in situations where there is a second family and you are trying to make provision for a second spouse and children from a prior relationship or where you are dividing a family business unequally.
View all of our frequently asked questions in detail.