Whether it is time to put your affairs in order, or you need guidance following the death of a loved one, Freemans Solicitors provides a personalised service backed by a wealth of experience and expertise.
Our Wills, Estate Planning and Probate Services
Freemans’ wills and probate solicitors offer a range of professional services, all of them specifically tailored to clients’ individual requirements and circumstances.
Making a Will
A large proportion of people, even the most sensible, put off making a will. Some feel it is unnecessary, perhaps believing there is nothing to pass on. Others worry about the cost of a will. In reality, these are risky approaches, and often unfounded.
Without a will, things can become complicated for the people you leave behind. Your estate, that is your property, money and possessions, may not pass to the people you want to receive them, and disputes can arise. Without a will you cannot legally appoint guardians for your children. It is not possible to make charitable donations without a will, and you could miss out on valuable asset protection and tax minimisation benefits.
Providing you take the right advice from specialist wills and trusts solicitors, making a will can provide the opportunity to make strategic decisions that could lead to financial savings for those who inherit your estate.
At Freemans Solicitors, our wills solicitors regularly advise couples and individuals in a diverse variety of situations, helping them make the right decisions and ease any concerns about the future.
Making a will need not be challenging. With the help of the specialist wills solicitors at Freemans, you should find the whole process uncomplicated, even if your circumstances are not.
If you have children or step children; are divorced; live with a partner but are not married or in a civil partnership; are a property owner either in the UK or abroad; own a business or high net worth assets or are responsible for disabled or incapacitated dependants, our estate planning solicitors will ensure you receive the specialist advice you need so that your will is technically sound.
Why not talk to us today about making a will? Our team is always ready to answer any questions. Home and hospital visits are offered for added convenience.
Probate and Estate Administration
When someone dies, you may require help with the administration of their estate. Our experienced probate solicitors offer a flexible approach, so you are free to hand over as much or as little of the work as you wish.
We can manage the application for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration where required; deal with the gathering in and valuation of assets; calculate any inheritance tax liability and ensure the required returns are submitted to HMRC on time. We will administer the estate in line with the wishes set out in the will, or according to the intestacy rules if there was no will.
Our probate lawyers also have the expertise to deal with more complex matters including varying a will and redirecting gifts for tax purposes, as well as resolving the common issues associated with intestacy. In addition, if a situation arises where you need to defend or bring a claim over a will then you can depend upon our in-depth knowledge and skill in dealing with inheritance disputes to help you reach a favourable outcome.
If you are looking for assistance in administering an estate, why not get in touch with our probate solicitors today?
Whether you wish to protect your assets and maximise their value, or minimise the effects of inheritance tax, the Freemans wills and probate solicitors have the knowledge required to help you achieve financial security and peace of mind.
Our estate planning lawyers can guide you through everything from setting up a trust to making a Lasting Power of Attorney. Family trusts are a legal way to hold and protect assets such as the family home for the future, and we can advise you as to whether such a structure is right for you.
If you would like to learn more about how to safeguard your assets and work towards a more secure financial future, please get in touch today.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people you trust to make decisions on your behalf in the event of you being unable to do so yourself through mental incapacity.
An LPA must be drafted and signed whilst you possess mental capacity. There are two types: a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, and a Health and Welfare LPA.
The first can be used whilst you still possess mental capacity, but you can state that you only want it to apply once capacity is lost. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA deals with bill payments; mortgage and loan repayments; the management of savings and investments; property repairs or alterations and the sale and purchase of property. With this document you are able to set out restrictions on the extent of power your attorney is permitted to have over the various aspects of your affairs.
A Health and Welfare LPA can only be used in the event of mental capacity being lost. This document allows the attorney to make decisions about your living arrangements; medical care; dietary requirements and social activities.
It is important that you are professionally guided through the process of setting up either type of LPA. Freemans’ estate planning lawyers will ensure you are expertly advised.
Wills, Estate Planning and Probate Frequently Asked Questions
How often do I need to update my will?
The general recommendation is to review your will every five years, even. However, this is just a guide and in fact the best approach is to check whether a change is required to your will every time something significant occurs. If for example you get married or divorced, any existing will is automatically voided. If you become a parent then you will obviously want to include new provisions for your children. The same goes if you become a grandparent. If one of your beneficiaries dies then you may wish to leave your estate to someone else, and if you start a new relationship or your financial situation changes then again, this is a good time to review your will.
What is a Grant of Probate?
Probate is a general term used to describe the process of managing the affairs of someone who has died. A Grant of Probate on the other hand is a legal document that is often required by the executors of an estate as proof that they are allowed to deal with financial organisations, banks, insurers, local authorities and estate agents. Whether or not this document is required depends on the value of the estate. A Grant of Probate is obtained by making an application to the Probate Registry and probate solicitors can guide you through this process.
What is intestacy?
When someone dies without leaving will, or the will they did leave was not valid, this is classed as having died ‘intestate’. In such cases, the intestacy rules apply and, instead of being dealt with by executors, the estate is appointed an administrator. The intestacy rules determine who is appointed and this follows a set order starting with legal spouse or civil partner, followed by children; parents; full blood siblings; half-blood siblings; grandparents; full blood uncles and aunts then half-blood uncles and aunts. Whilst administrators and executors undertake the same role in dealing with an estate, the process differs in that instead of a Grant of Probate, the administrators will need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Can I leave making an LPA until such times as it is needed?
A common misconception is that a Lasting Power of Attorney can be drawn up in the event of someone losing mental capacity, allowing the next of kin to take over managing the affairs and making decisions. However, this is certainly not the case. Once mental capacity has been lost, there is no possibility at all of making an LPA. Someone who signs an LPA must be fully aware of what they are signing and who they are appointing to act on their behalf. If someone loses mental capacity and there is no LPA in place, the only option is for family or friends to apply to the Court of Protection to act as your Deputy and it will be the Court’s decision rather than yours as to who will act for you.
Freemans Solicitors: Personalised Advice, Strategic Planning
At Freemans Solicitors we offer personalised, strategic advice across all aspects of estate planning and administration. We welcome you to contact us at your convenience to discuss your requirements.