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Estate Planning, Wills and Probate

Your will is one of the most important documents you will ever write.

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Not only does it ensure that after your death, your estate is dealt with according to your wishes and your family are protected and provided for, it also gives you the opportunity to pass on your wealth in the most tax-efficient manner possible.

Dying intestate will result in the law automatically determining who will inherit your estate and look after your children, and will also preclude you from benefitting friends or charity.

We can guide you through the entire process to give you peace of mind that your affairs will be managed properly and appropriately after your death.

We can advise on:

  • All available tax planning options
  • Choice of executors and guardians for your children
  • Dealing with assets in multiple jurisdictions
  • Distribution of your personal effects
  • Ongoing trust structures

It is likely that your personal circumstances will change over time, whether materially, or through marriage, divorce or the death of a family member. We therefore recommend a will review at regular intervals and in the wake of any significant events. This also enables you to make any necessary alterations in the light of changes to the law, and to ensure your will is kept up to date with your wishes.

  • 1 Probate
    The death of a loved one can bring overwhelming and unnecessary legal stress. During such difficult times our team are here to guide you and help relieve the burden.

    Winding up the estate can appear somewhat daunting, particularly if not encountered before. Problems can arise if the estate administration is not handled properly, and in a sensitive and timely way.

    We have significant expertise in dealing with both UK and international estates of all sizes and complexity, including those with business interests, family companies, valuable chattels, and agricultural and heritage property.

    We can advise on:

    • Acceptance of assets in lieu of inheritance tax
    • Claims for inheritance tax exemptions and reliefs for business, agricultural and heritage property
    • Inheritance tax including completion of the inheritance tax account and calculation of the inheritance tax liability
    • Insurance policy trusts that mature on death
    • International estates containing assets in multiple jurisdictions and involving cross-border tax issues
    • Interpretation of the will and devolution of the estate
    • Intestate estates
    • Jointly owned property
    • Management of the estate administration
    • Obtaining letters of administration or grants of probate
    • Post-death rearrangements and tax planning, Deeds of Variation and the transferable inheritance tax allowances
    • Preparation of estate income tax and capital gains tax returns and estate accounts
    • Re-sealing Colonial Grants and applications for an English grant of administration of foreign wills
    • Rights of the beneficiaries
    • Role of an executor and administrator and duties, powers and liabilities

    Our team members are frequently appointed as executors and trustees, thereby offering the family a professionally dispassionate view where appropriate.

    We can undertake the entire day-to-day administration of the estate as well as giving specialist advice, or limit our involvement to specific areas. We are happy to discuss with you on a no obligation basis how we may best assist you on your matter.

  • 2 Tax
    A key objective when estate planning is to minimise tax and maximise the assets left to those you intend to.

    A death in the family often requires quick work to protect and identify opportunities to safeguard assets. Our experienced team will work with you to avoid future unexpected tax liabilities by reviewing your finances and family wealth in advance.

    With current tax charges at 40% on estates worth more than £325,000, even the most modest of homes fall within the Inheritance Tax threshold. It is therefore important to plan ahead. We can ensure all the necessary reliefs and exemptions are in place whilst leaving flexibility to review the most appropriate and effective structure for you.

    We can advise on:

    • Avoiding the ‘gifts with reservation of benefit’ inheritance tax trap and the pre-owned assets tax (POAT) charge
    • Exemptions and reliefs including gifts to charity, business, agricultural and heritage assets
    • Giving gifts through a will
    • Legacy 10 – the reduced rate of inheritance tax for those who leave at least 10% of their estate to charities
    • Life assurance
    • Lifetime giving to individuals and through trusts
    • Reviewing and establishing trusts with tax advantages
    • Transferring unused nil-rate allowances from the deceased to the surviving civil partner or spouse

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